Adkins says he'll offer red meat to party faithful at Fancy Farm after encouraging signs recruiting candidates and for a possible gubernatorial bid

08/04/2017 09:08 PM

GILBERTSVILLE — House Minority Floor Leader Rocky Adkins will be one of two Democrats to take the stage at this year’s Fancy Farm, and he says to expect some policy points mixed with a healthy dose of politics in his picnic speech as head of the House Democratic caucus.

Adkins, D-Sandy Hook, told Pure Politics before the Mike Miller Bean Supper on Friday that he will offer “a little history lesson” of his party and touch on issues like health care, public education, economic growth, protecting public pensions and infrastructure investment while criticizing certain legislative items passed by the GOP-controlled General Assembly in this year’s legislative session.

But he’s also ready to toss some red meat to the partisan crowd that gathers on the grounds of St. Jerome’s Catholic Church on the first Saturday in August.

“There’s always politics at Fancy Farm, there’s no question about that,” Adkins said. “… I think we try to show the difference in the direction that House Democrats would like to go and where we’ve been.”

Democrats lost control of the state House of Representatives for the first time in nearly a century in last year’s election cycle as Republicans gained 17 seats en route to a 64-36 supermajority.

As Adkins crisscrosses the state recruiting candidates for House races, he says he’s been encouraged by the energy he’s seen from those wanting to jump into the political arena.

He says actions at the state and federal levels have bolstered Democrats as they prepare for the 2018 midterms.

“I don’t think there’s any question that Senator McConnell’s proposal that would have taken 22 to 32 million Americans off of health care and, you know, as many as a half million here in Kentucky, I think that’s created a lot of concern, and the (Medicaid) waiver that the governor of Kentucky has offered, another 90,000 could be impacted, so yes, I think there’s a lot of concern out there,” Adkins said.

“I think there’s a lot of people who are disappointed, who are mad, and they’re looking to their future and how can they get involved to be a part of making a difference.”

The House Democratic leader also has his eyes on 2019 and possibly mounting a gubernatorial bid against Gov. Matt Bevin, who said in a radio interview this week that he isn’t concerned with any in the current crop of potential candidates.

He said his focus is on helping his fellow Democrats reclaim control of the state House, but he’s also getting encouraged to run for governor from some of his supporters. It’s a race he’s giving “serious consideration,” adding that “there’s no question that I have an interest.”

“I have, really, a lot of responsibilities, and my first one is to make sure that I keep my eye on the ball and my priority being recruiting quality candidates, excellent candidates that can win and take back the majority in the House,” Adkins said, “and then while I travel the state, I don’t care to tell you tonight there’s a lot of people that come up to me that are giving me encouragement and showing a lot of interest in wanting me to look at the governor’s race.”

Kevin Wheatley

Kevin Wheatley is a Video Journalist for Spectrum News and covers Kentucky politics and all the goings-on at the State Capitol. Kevin was born and raised in Frankfort so he grew up around politics and has always had the drive to follow the political process and hold lawmakers accountable. Before joining Spectrum News Kevin covered government and politics for The State Journal in Frankfort. You can watch Kevin’s work weeknights at 7:00 and 11:30 on Pure Politics, available exclusively on Spectrum News, HD Channels 403 and 715. You can reach him at kevin.wheatley@charter.com or 502-792-1135.

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