Kentucky state Rep. Wilson Stone, D-Scottsville, has announced his retirement from politics after more than a decade in the state House of Representatives.
In October 2018, Stone discovered he had a brain tumor after having a “spell” while teaching an adult Sunday school class. Following surgery, more than a month of radiation treatment and a successful reelection campaign, he’s now feeling himself again.
But with the latest filing deadline approaching, he realized this was the time to prioritize his health and family.
“The hardest part of being a legislator is that every day you wake up as a legislator,” Stone said. “At some point you need to send those (work-related worries) to somebody else.
“I thought it was a good time to put a bow on it to be finished. ... Some people get wed to the job, but you always got to be yourself.”
Stone was elected to the District 22 seat in 2008 and will finish a 12-year career in the House when his term expires at the end of 2020.
Before joining the state legislature, Stone was a longtime public education advocate, serving on the Allen County Schools Board of Education for about 24 years. He found that answers to many public education questions came from the state – “especially from the legislature and especially from the budget,” he said – so he saw an opportunity.
“I wanted to have a positive influence on public education,” he said.
He said he’s proud of his work on public education funding, allowing nurse practitioners a greater range of practice and all the “small” transportation projects to improve road safety.
But he would like to see a greater percentage of the state’s budget go into public education with a greater commitment to childhood preparation, Stone said.
“I’m disappointed that we’re still struggling with that,” said Stone, who plans to continue his advocacy. “I hope to be a strong advocate for people at the end of 2021 as much as I was at the start of 2009.”
Stone has served on the agriculture standing committee, an equine issues interim joint committee and several caucuses, including the Tennessee Valley Authority, Pro-Life, Kentucky Sportsmen’s and Western Kentucky caucuses.
He found that the Western Kentucky Caucus received bipartisan support while emphasizing the need for transportation infrastructure improvements. “It had the most positive effect,” he said.
The other caucuses were “a little less bipartisan” and proved more challenging for folks to agree upon common goals – but he was “pleased to be a part of them.”
Allen County Judge-Executive Dennis Harper suggested that Stone’s work in expanding industry and improving transportation infrastructure has been critical in the region.
“Wilson has been really good to Allen County,” Harper said. “Plus, he’s a true friend. He’s a guy that I can pick up the phone and call anytime, and he’ll try to help.”
Former longtime Rep. Jody Richards, a Bowling Green Democrat, described Stone as a dedicated public servant that will be sorely missed.
“Wilson is one of the truly finest men you’ll ever know, in or outside of government,” Richards said. “His morals and standards are above reproach.”
State Rep. Patti Minter, D-Bowling Green, has known Stone since he first took office and worked with the Western Kentucky University Board of Regents.
“Representative Stone is a first-rate legislator and a first-rate human being,” Minter said. “It’s a great loss. I wish him the very best as he moves on. He will be difficult to replace.”
After officially wrapping up in 2021, Stone hopes to continue farming and planning more trips to Florida with his wife.
The official filing deadline for the Kentucky House of Representatives is Jan. 10.