Politics & Government

Gatewood Galbraith files for governor's race

FRANKFORT - Gatewood Galbraith, a Lexington lawyer who has run for various state offices without success since 1983, filed his Democratic candidacy for governor yesterday.

Galbraith, marking his 60th birthday, also introduced his running mate, Mark Wireman, 48, of Jackson, at a news conference in the Capitol Rotunda.

Wireman retired yesterday as a state transportation engineer branch manager. Galbraith said Wireman is an avid sportsman and accomplished gospel mandolin artist who would help him run "a highly intelligent and uplifting campaign."

Wireman said the campaign's priorities will be "education and clean government."

Galbraith received about 110,000 votes as an independent candidate for attorney general in 2003 on a campaign budget of $20,000. He ran for agriculture commissioner in 1983, governor in 1991, 1995 and 1999 and Congress in 2000 and 2002.

Asked about being a perennial candidate, Galbraith said Kentucky has "perennial" problems.

As governor, Galbraith said, he would create a program to provide $5,000 to each high school student who enters an institution of higher learning for tuition and fees. He said the money would go directly to the institution, and that it would cost the state $250 million.

"This is not for pizza, rent and beer," Galbraith said of his proposal, expressing concern that some high school graduates "can't make change for a $10 bill."

Dollars to pay for the voucher program would come from eliminating waste in state government, he said.

"If we quit spending money on the plasma TVs and opulent offices, we might have more money," he said to cheers from a small but vocal crowd in a reference to recent expenses to refurbish Senate Republican offices.

"Both parties are guilty of that. That's not a slam particularly against Republicans," the candidate said. "Both parties have been architects of decline in Kentucky."

On expansion of gambling in Kentucky, Galbraith said voters should decide the issue.

Galbraith once supported legalizing marijuana but said yesterday he opposes that but doctors should be allowed to prescribe marijuana for medical reasons.

Leadership in both the Democratic and Republican parties has failed the state and he could offer the state "vision and hope," Galbraith said. "We need new blood."

Galbraith, author of The Last Free Man in America, said he will use the book to raise campaign funds and will not be contacting special interests for money. He asked each of the 15,000 people who have read his book to contribute $100 to his campaign.

He said he also will try to distribute another 10,000 to 30,000 copies of the book during the campaign. "If you're a Democrat, you get it for free. If you're a Republican, it costs you $10."

Other Democrats who have announced their campaigns for governor are former Lt. Gov. Steve Henry, state Treasurer Jonathan Miller, former Lt. Gov. Steve Beshear and Harlan demolition contractor Otis Hensley. House Speaker Jody Richards is to announce today.