Keep Rollins in House 56

Rep. Carl Rollins has earned a fourth term in the state House.

Rollins holds the coveted chairmanship of the House Education Committee. As chairman, he's done a good job of allowing diverse ideas to be aired, while looking out for Kentucky's public schools and college students, including those in for-profit schools.

As critical as that chairmanship is in the Frankfort hierarchy, we respect Rollins just as much for his willingness to go to bat for nursing-home residents.

Rollins has challenged the powerful long-term care industry by sponsoring minimum staffing standards and more comprehensive background checks for nursing home employees.

So far, legislative leaders of both parties have resisted, but the need for nursing-home reform will only increase as baby-boomers age. It's good to have Rollins in the legislature standing up for this vulnerable population; his championship of better care for our elders speaks well for his values.

Rollins' challenger, Doug Jones of Lexington, has our respect for stepping up when Republicans needed a candidate at the last minute.

An Air Force veteran and retired businessman with management experience, Jones describes himself as "passionate and focused." He does a good job articulating a Republican agenda of school choice, right to work, ending the state income tax and reforming state pensions, especially the retirement nests lawmakers have feathered for themselves. He accuses Rollins of being captive to the Kentucky Education Association which represents teachers.

On balance, though, Rollins' experience and record give him the advantage.

Rollins served as Midway mayor, on the Midway city council and Woodford County Fiscal Court before being elected in 2006 to the House where he has been one of its most productive members.

Voters in District 56 would do themselves a favor by allowing Rollins to continue in public service.

The unendorsed candidate may submit a 250-word response by noon Monday.