Two women who weren't even on the ballot four months ago are vying for the 75th House district seat being vacated by Democratic state Rep. Kathy Stein.
Democratic nominee Kelly Flood, 49, has always had political aspirations, but the timing never seemed right, she said.
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When Stein chose to seek an open state Senate seat this summer, Flood decided she had waited long enough to represent a district that has "served as the conscience of the House."
She hopes to continue Stein's tradition of "standing up for issues of fairness for gays and lesbians when nobody else was speaking out. Standing up for immigrants who are human beings, whether here legally or not."
Republican nominee Kimberly Ward, 43, has always stayed up-to-date on the issues, but she had never considered running for office until she was approached a few months ago.
Ward was unsure whether she should run, but her 18-year-old daughter, B.J. Courtney, convinced her she should. Ward's name will be on the ballot when her daughter goes to the polls for the very first time.
"How many children get that opportunity?" Ward said. "That was the first thing out of her mouth, how cool would it to be to see your mom's name on the ballot."
Education is Flood's focus
Flood was born in California, but raised in Florida. Both of her parents were in the Air Force.
Flood has been active in politics since college. She is a former minister of the Unitarian Universalist Church on Clays Mill Road.
Currently, she is a professional fund-raiser for her church's seminary, Starr King for the Ministry in Berkeley, Calif.
Top issues for Flood include education, health care and fairness for all people.
Flood wants to improve the quality and accessibility of public education in Kentucky by making pre-school available to every child and ensuring that tuitions to the state's colleges and universities remain affordable.
Education is critical because it opens the door to other issues such as health, economy, well-being and the environment, Flood said.
"If you're taking care of people's abilities to think critically, giving them opportunities, then they are going to bring that to bear on the well-being of the state," she said.
On the issue of health care, Flood supports expanding health coverage to more Kentucky children through KCHIP (Kentucky Children's Health Insurance Program). She also wants to change the health insurance eligibility age so that adults up to 25 can receive coverage through their parents' health insurance plans.
Flood has raised $45,493 as of Oct. 20, the most recent campaign finance information available. She has spent $19,651.
Health care key for Ward
Ward is a native of Madison County, but she grew up as an only child on a farm in Garrard County. She was adopted when she was 2.
After graduating from high school, Ward was a corrections officer at the Fayette County Detention Center for about 10 years before she got into dentistry. For the last 15 years, she has worked as a dental assistant.
A lot of people can relate to her because she's not a typical politician, Ward said. "I'm a single mother with no health insurance. I deal with the same day-to-day issues like every single parent."
Ward's top issues include affordable health care, dental care education, financial literacy and transparency in government.
Dental education should be part of the routine curriculum in schools, Ward said.
"It's something they don't understand that if your teeth aren't healthy, your heart isn't healthy," Ward said.
Teaching students financial literacy and life skills education is critical so that high school graduates will know how to manage their money, write a check, balance a checkbook and invest in the stock market, Ward said.
Ward has raised $4,825 as of Oct. 20. She has spent $4,086.