Democratic gubernatorial candidate Rocky Adkins hopes that, under his leadership, Kentucky can invest in infrastructure and diversify its industries to create a state with a “21st-century economy with a 21st-century workforce.”
Adkins, D-Sandy Hook, has been a member of the General Assembly since 1987 and leads House Democrats. He said he decided to run for governor based partly on a belief that he has the experience necessary to make wise decisions and lead the state.
“As I traveled, people ... said, ‘Rocky, you know, you seem to be (a) very moderate, middle of the road, common-sense guy and we need more common sense in government, people that can make sound decisions,’ ” he said.
Adkins is running on the motto, “It’s time to bring common sense back to this great commonwealth of Kentucky.”
Adkins said his opposition to Republican Gov. Matt Bevin’s agenda was a strong motivator that encouraged him to seek the governor’s seat.
“I got in this race because I don’t agree with the agenda of Matt Bevin, his attempt to hurt public education, his attempt to hurt working families, his attempt to hurt those who would seek quality health care, affordable health care,” he said.
As House minority leader, Adkins said he has already fought against attempts to bring charter schools to Kentucky and against cutting funding for public education.
Adkins also said he considers Bevin’s approach to workforce development is decreasing the quality of jobs for working families.
“I think this governor is also supporting an agenda that’s not been good for working families, his policies of supporting initiatives that I believe have driven down wages of hardworking people across Kentucky,” he said.
A crucial part of improving the state’s workforce and education system will be improving access to broadband.
“Investment in world-class broadband is going to be key for Kentucky to be able to compete in this 21st-century economy with a 21st-century workforce,” he said.
Additionally, Adkins said he thinks industries like aerospace, an $11.7 billion industry in 2017, can grow more beneficial to the state’s economy.
“It’s industries like those, like that, where we diversify our economy throughout Kentucky, where we lift up all regions of Kentucky and we bring new hope and opportunity for the quality of job that people need and deserve,” he said.
Adkins also said he believes bipartisan reforms made in 2013 will heal the state’s underfunded public pension system.
“The governor’s agenda to privatize public pensions, I thought, was wrong and was not the right approach for Kentucky, that our state employees and our teachers across the commonwealth have paid their money into the pension system and they deserve to have the right of a promise made is a promise that must be kept,” he said.
Adkins and his running mate, Stephanie Horne of Prospect, will face current Attorney General Andy Beshear, former state Auditor Adam Edelen and former state employee Geoff Young in the Democratic primary.
Meanwhile, State Rep. Robert Goforth of London and William E. Woods are Gov. Matt Bevin’s opponents in the Republican primary.