Tuesday, voters in the 13th Senate District in Lexington will go to the polls in a special election to fill the post vacated when Kathy Stein was appointed to a judgeship last summer.
Voters have two strong choices who represent the long-held beliefs of this traditionally Democratic and liberal district in Reggie Thomas, a Democrat and Richard Moloney, who is running as an Independent.
We give the edge to Moloney.
There is virtually no difference between the two in their stands on the issues raised at public forums. Each supports automatic restoration of voting rights to non-violent felons after they have served their time, each supports putting a constitutional amendment for expanded gambling on the ballot, each endorsed a statewide fairness ordinance and limits on payday lenders.
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Both have reputations as hard workers and people of strong character.
Moloney gets our endorsement based on his long experience in government, both state and local. He represented a city council district for 14 years that is largely included in this Senate district, most recently served as chief administrative officer and later as environmental quality and public works commissioner in the administration of Mayor Jim Gray, and before that as commissioner of housing in Gov. Steve Beshear's administration.
Moloney has been endorsed by people who served with him on the council and who are familiar with his work in the Gray administration.
Thomas has a long and distinguished record as a community activist and volunteer, having served on the boards of Commerce Lexington, Bluegrass Community and Technical College, Actors Guild of Lexington and the Kentucky Conference for Community and Justice as well as committees of the Fayette County Public Schools and city government.
Thomas, a lawyer and professor, was our choice during his unsuccessful bid for a state House seat in 2012 and we have little doubt that he would serve ably in the Senate, if elected.
But Moloney's skills at the often-tedious details of making government actually work for people would be a strong asset in a Republican-led Senate.
Michael Johnson, the Republican candidate, does not have the experience or breadth of knowledge about the issues facing the district and the state and is not a viable alternative in this race. The GOP has offered little financial or other support for Johnson, despite choosing him as its nominee.
Candidates not endorsed in this race may submit a 250-word response by noon Friday.