56th Dist. candidate Crews carves out casino position; Is leaving Midway College job

05/10/2013 11:35 AM

The entrance of an anti-casino independent candidate into an open Central Kentucky House race shouldn’t cut into the conservative base of voters in the June 25 special election, said Republican candidate Lyen Crews.

Crews, speaking to Pure Politics after a meet-and-greet in Frankfort on Thursday, said John-Mark Hack, a former Democrat running as an independent, might draw more support away from Democratic candidate James L. Kay II.

“I guess it takes two Democrats to beat a Republican,” Crews said.

Crews also confirmed that he is leaving his post as Midway College’s vice president for business affairs on May 31. He said he has accepted a position with the financial team of the online textbook company eCampus in Lexington. He said that opportunity came up independent of the 56th District race.

The winner in the special election in the 56th House District will replace Democrat Carl Rollins, who resigned when he was promoted to run the Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority. The district covers eastern Franklin County, Woodford County and western Lexington. It includes much of the heart of Central Kentucky’s horse country with some of the biggest thoroughbred stables and Keeneland Racetrack, which is why expanded gambling is a key issue.

Hack, the independent candidate, formerly served as the public voice for the group Say No to Casinos and opposes expanded gambling.

Kay told Pure Politics he wants to work with horse owners to determine what kind of expanded gambling proposal they want.

Crews said he would favor a constitutional amendment to allow gambling, which would require approval of three-fifths of each legislative chamber and ratification by voters. Here’s what he said:

Crews spoke with Pure Politics hours after Gov. Steve Beshear announced Kentucky would expand Medicaid to cover more than 300,000 more low-income Kentuckians who earn between the federal poverty rate and 138 percent of that rate. The federal government will cover the full cost of the expansion for the first three years, then the state government will have to kick in 5 percent the first year and 10 percent by 2020.

While Crews said he understood the reasoning behind Beshear’s decision, he disagreed with the process. He said he would have preferred the legislature to sign off on such a big policy move with budget implications.

About Ryan Alessi

Ryan Alessi joined cn|2 in May 2010 as senior managing editor and host of Pure Politics. He is now pursuing an advanced degree in non-fiction writing from Murray State University and is a regular contributor to Pure Politics. Ryan has covered politics for more than 14 years, including seven years as a reporter for the Lexington Herald-Leader. Ryan can be reached at purepolitics@twcable.com or @mycn2 on Twitter.

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