1st Democrat to beat GOP Senator in 20 years says priorities are pension, special education reforms

11/12/2010 07:29 PM

Dennis Parrett of Elizabethtown last week became the first Democrat since 1990 to unseat an incumbent Republican state Senator when he defeated Elizabeth Tori of Radcliff.

The last time that happened was 20 years ago when Susan B. Johns ousted Republican Sen. Eugene Stuart in the 36th District in Louisville.

Parrett will be sworn in to represent the 10th District covering Hardin and part of southern Jefferson counties when the General Assembly convenes in January.

He explained on Pure Politics Friday how he won the seat. You might remember he ran a TV ad in the final week that criticized Tori on the issue legislators’ pensions and benefits — which included a clip of Tori saying, “Holy Jesus, I’m going to get paid.”

Parrett said the General Assembly should “take a look at” reforming the public pension system and legislators’ pensions, specifically. But he stopped short of calling for the elimination of lawmakers’ pensions.

And Parrett said he’s been contacted by “five or six” of the other 14 Senate Democrats who are interested in being caucus leaders in the 2011 and 2012 General Assembly. Senate Democratic Floor Leader Ed Worley opted not to seek re-election this year, which opens up the spot of minority leader.

(Programming note: This is the third in Pure Politics series of interviews with incoming freshmen lawmakers. You also can view interviews with Republican Senator-elect Paul Hornback of Shelbyville and Representative-elect Michael Meredith, a Republican from Brownsville.)

- Ryan Alessi


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