Politics & Government

Former state Rep. Raymond Overstreet of Liberty dies at 68

Former state Rep. Raymond D. Overstreet of Liberty
Former state Rep. Raymond D. Overstreet of Liberty

FRANKFORT — Former state Rep. Raymond D. Overstreet of Liberty, known for his wit as well as his support for a concealed-weapons law, died Sunday at Casey County Hospital, apparently of a heart attack. He was 68.

Mr. Overstreet, a Republican elected to the state House in 1971 shortly before he graduated from University of Kentucky's law school, served until 1992.

Mr. Overstreet used humor in the state legislature to fight for his sometimes controversial agenda.

From 1978 until he retired, Mr. Overstreet and former Rep. Herbie Deskins, D-Pikeville, tried to sneak through a measure dubbed the "gunslinger bill" to allow state residents to carry concealed guns.

They knew it couldn't win approval if they did it openly, so they began trying to conceal the bill, tacking it on to unrelated measures on such topics as economic development and solid waste. They once tried to define grasshoppers as humans and give them the right to carry concealed guns.

In 1996, the General Assembly passed a law authorizing people to get a license to carry concealed deadly weapons in Kentucky.

House Speaker Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, said Wednesday night that Mr. Overstreet "was one of those people who came to the General Assembly with the right attitude and left with the right attitude."

"He was serious when the situation required him to be serious and lighthearted enough when he knew we should understand that laughter and wit have its place in the legislative process," Stumbo said. "Raymond Overstreet was an outstanding, positive character in the General Assembly."

During his legislative tenure, Mr. Overstreet also fought against tougher DUI laws. He parted company with many of his GOP colleagues when he opposed attempts to restrict access to abortion, which he said would hurt poor, rural women.

Mr. Overstreet, a criminal defense attorney, was a Marine Corps veteran and served on the board of directors of Monticello Bank.

Survivors include his wife, Mary Ashby Overstreet of Liberty, and daughter, Shawnna Wilkins of Liberty.

Visitation will be 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday at McKinney Brown Funeral Home in Liberty and 8 a.m. until funeral services at 2 p.m. Friday at Liberty First Baptist Church. Burial will be in Casey County Memorial Gardens. Donations may be made to Shriners Hospitals for Children in Lexington.

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