Kentucky has a lot of problems, and the General Assembly must address some of them.
Our public pension system is dangerously underfunded, as are our public schools. We have a tax system that is long past the expiration date, structured to capture revenue in an economy where most people made a living with their muscles rather than their minds.
Although we've made huge strides in giving people access to health care we still rank among the least healthy states in the nation. Drug abuse continues to fill our prisons and our cemeteries.
Ambitious politicians eager to advance their careers should have plenty to talk about, issues they can make their own, use to engage constituents, offer solutions for, build coalitions to address.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to the Lexington Herald-Leader
So, it was disappointing, if not terribly surprising, to read the comments of Rep. Adam Koenig, R-Erlanger, when he announced his candidacy to unseat Jeff Hoover as Republican House Minority Leader.
Koenig pointed out what every Republican already knows: that despite a landslide in federal races, the party did not gain any ground last month in its efforts to gain a majority in the state House.
"We have to have a change in direction if we're going to take over the House, tell a new story to donors and do what it takes to change the state," Koenig said. He also said his style in challenging Democrats would likely be "more confrontational," than Hoover's.
Here's a suggestion for Koenig and other Republicans: Confront Kentucky's problems and tell the story of how you did it to all voters, not just donors.
We're not taking sides in the race for House Republican leadership. Hoover, frankly, didn't offer much more in a recent essay in which he blamed Kentucky's ills on House Democrats "more interested in partisan political gamesmanship than allowing the legislature to take bold initiative in addressing these issues."
Sadly, the bold initiatives are often things like pushing right-to-work laws that will only lower wages, offering more and bigger tax breaks for the donors who must be sold a story, and claiming a corner on righteousness.
We're also not taking sides between Democrats and Republicans. It just seems that with a legislative session a few weeks away, leaders and would-be leaders could try getting down to the real work of solving our real problems. That would be a good story to tell voters; and if voters listen, so will donors.