Rarely does a political challenger come along who is as impressive as Republican Chris Tyler, in knowledge, work ethic or experience.
Like most challengers, Tyler can't begin to outspend the incumbent, Rep. Stan Lee, who is pulling in money from the coal industry, the Corbin-based conglomerate the Forcht Group, his fellow House Republicans and his law partners here and in West Virginia.
Tyler does offer something Lee can't match: a history of bipartisan accomplishment. Believe it or not, Tyler has achieved more in the Kentucky House of Representatives as a volunteer than Lee has in 12 years as a member.
Tyler is helping governments, schools and businesses save money through energy efficiency. As advocacy chairman of the Kentucky chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council, he has pulled together people from all over the state and both sides of the political aisle. His efforts yielded the legislature's bipartisan Green Schools Caucus in 2010.
Tyler helped develop and gather support for a bill this year that cleared the House 96 to 1. It would have increased access to financing for small or mid-sized manufacturers to undertake energy efficiency projects designed to pay for themselves in seven years.
It also would have created a Kentucky Green Schools Authority to provide technical assistance and financing for energy saving projects in schools.
Unfortunately, the bill was gutted and used as a vehicle for something else in the Senate.
Even good ideas usually need a few sessions to make it into law. The point is Tyler has good ideas that people can unite behind — and he already knows the ropes in Frankfort.
A fiscal and social conservative, Tyler is the father of three, a Sunday school teacher, T-ball coach and member of a PTA committee that developed a plan that is saving $52,000 a year in utility bills at Rosa Parks Elementary School.
An engineer and MBA with degrees from the University of Kentucky, Tyler espouses accountability in government and education. He has called for legislation that would withhold pay from lawmakers for special sessions required because they didn't finish their regular session work on time, as happened last month.
Lexington would get far more value from Tyler, with his push to create construction and technology jobs and save money for public education, than from Lee, whose prime causes have been charter schools, states rights and guns.
Lee is a good speech-maker, but his speeches are so frequent and predictable that even some Republicans roll their eyes when he rises. In 12 years in the legislature he has served just two years in Republican leadership, the group that has a say in budget negotiations, and he has no legislative accomplishments to speak of.
Take Lee out of the legislature and it would still have plenty of lawyers, ideologues and orators.
Tyler is a problem solver who has already shown he can find common ground in pursuit of common sense solutions.
There is no Democratic candidate. Republicans in District 45 should send Chris Tyler to the legislature.
The unendorsed candidate may submit a 250-word response by noon Friday.