GOP's Jackson to run for state House seat

Kevin Jackson

Career educator Kevin Jackson is looking to start a new line of work.

Jackson, 63, who spent 32 years as a teacher, coach, guidance counselor and administrator in three southcentral Kentucky school systems, announced Monday that he plans to run as a Republican for the 20th District seat in the Kentucky House of Representatives now held by Democrat Patti Minter.

“I think it’s going to be a positive experience,” Jackson said. “My life has been about service to others. My wife and I see this as another opportunity to serve.”

Although this is his first run at a seat in the Kentucky General Assembly, Jackson already holds public office as a member of the Warren County Board of Education since 2018.

“The last couple of years on the school board have been about as difficult as anything anybody has experienced in education,” Jackson said, referring to the disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic. “I’ve tried to be thoughtful, fair and just as a school board member.”

Jackson said his experience making decisions for a school system with a $220 million annual budget will translate well to serving in a state legislature that routinely wrestles with how best to fund public education.

“I hope, if elected, I can bring a different perspective to Frankfort,” he said.

That perspective includes stints as an educator and coach in Warren, Edmonson and Barren counties. Jackson spent 28 years as a head coach for either girls’ softball or basketball and retired after leading the Edmonson County girls’ basketball team to a 29-5 record in the 2017-18 season.

Jackson will need to compete to earn a seat in Frankfort.

He is the second Republican to file for the 20th District job, joining former independent candidate Leanette Lopez.

Jackson expects at least one more GOP candidate to file for the office, but the possibility of a crowded May primary election doesn’t deter him.

“I can’t worry about who else is running,” he said. “I’m just going to let the people know where I stand on the issues.”

Where he stands, Jackson stressed, is far to the right of the incumbent 20th District representative.

Hanging her hat on progressive stances and strong support of Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear, Minter garnered 70% of the vote to defeat Lopez in 2020 to win her second term in the office.

She had a 7% margin of victory over Republican Benjamin Lawson in 2018 to keep the 20th District seat in Democratic control after former House Speaker Jody Richards ended his 42-year run in the office.

“It has been primarily a Democratic district,” Jackson said. “But the old Democratic Party was a little different from what it is now. It seems to be leaning left more than it did in Jody’s time.”

Jackson pointed to another conservative state representative, Republican Steve Sheldon, as his motivation for running.

Sheldon, currently 17th District representative, moved out of that district into the 20th but opted not to run in his new district.

“When I found out that he wasn’t going to run, I decided to,” Jackson said. “I believe in the same family values and come from the same Christian perspective as Steve.

“We need somebody like Steve representing Warren County. I want to be that person.”

Jackson said he will have to resign from the school board if elected, but he sees the state representative job as a way to make a greater impact on the community.

“I have the time now, and I still have a lot of energy,” he said. “I want to do what I can to help this community.”

– Follow business reporter Don Sergent on Twitter @BGDNbusiness or visit bgdailynews.com.

​– Follow business reporter Don Sergent on Twitter @BGDNbusiness or visit bgdailynews.com.