Rep. Sannie Overly's rapid rise into House leadership is just one of the reasons voters in the 72nd District should return her to the legislature.
Overly, D-Paris, has become one of the legislature's most effective voices since winning a special election almost seven years ago.
A civil engineer and lawyer, Overly chaired the transportation budget subcommittee, leading the arduous task of putting together a statewide road-building budget.
Her signature legislative accomplishment was enacting a law in 2013 that strengthened Kentucky's protections against human trafficking.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to the Lexington Herald-Leader
Also in 2013, Democratic colleagues elected her their caucus chairwoman. Overly's successful challenge of a male incumbent made her the first woman elected to the Kentucky House's leadership, a milestone that was many years overdue.
In this year's session, she supported giving voters in Lexington and other cities the right to approve local sales taxes to support local projects as cities in other states can do. The local tax option failed but will come up again.
Her opponent, Dwaine Curran, a Republican from Carlisle who farms in Bath County and works at the J.M. Smucker plant in Lexington, is a Marine veteran of Desert Storm in 1991 and the more recent war in Iraq, and a graduate of Morehead State University.
The likable Curran makes a compelling case for the need for more jobs in the rural district, but he can't begin to match Overly on knowledge or experience.
In one measure of Overly's appeal as a leader, Attorney General Jack Conway recruited her as his running mate in next year's gubernatorial race.
While that might spark some internal House rivalries as other lawmakers run or align themselves with competing tickets, her campaign for lieutenant governor should not interfere with her ability to represent District 72.
In fact, having someone on a gubernatorial ticket probably can help the district.
The unendorsed candidate may submit a 250-word response by noon Thursday