Edelen hopes for ideas based, 'raucous' Democratic gubernatorial primary; talks solar venture, platform

05/08/2018 04:57 PM

LEXINGTON — Potential Democratic gubernatorial candidates have been shadowboxing ahead of the 2019 primary election season, with former state Auditor Adam Edelen the latest to acknowledge his interest in a run, and the hopes for a raucous Democratic primary.

Edelen allowed Pure Politics to come to his farm on the edge of Lexington on Monday, for a walk around the property and a conversation in his study on his life after leaving public office, and interest in a potential gubernatorial bid in 2019.

The former Auditor launched Edelen Ventures after leaving public office amid an upset defeat for re-election in 2015. One of those business ventures involves bringing a solar energy farm to the site of a reclaimed strip mine in eastern Kentucky.

“The point we’re trying to make, and frankly we have got to do a better job making, is that in order to be relevant to 21st century economic development you have to have a friendly approach to renewable energy,” he said speaking to Pure Politics from his study, adding that apporach doesn’t mean traditional industries, like coal, are not still supported.

Edelen split his time growing up between his father’s tobacco farm in rural Meade County and Louisville, with his mother. His ventures, and life split the two disparate upbringings.

He has plenty ideas about the future of Kentucky.

“What Kentucky needs isn’t a restoration, what Kentucky needs is a revolution,” he said. “We need leadership that is confident and embraces those elements that are key to the future — renewable energy, having a tax system that rewards work rather than wealth, having a real environmental agenda, upgrading our aged infrastructure, and understanding that education has to be reformed in a way that rewards teachers and those they teach.”

Edelen’s work in the private sector and belief system amounts to a candidate platform, and he’s not shy about his wish to occupy the people’s mansion in Frankfort.

“Everybody who pays attention to politics in Kentucky knows I would love to be governor, I will be candid rather than coy, but I have business obligations; we’re doing very big things making what I believe will be tens of millions of dollars of investments in our businesses, so for the next couple of months I’m not in a place where I can actively pursue that,” Edelen said, adding he’s not sure if a race will be there for him after that time frame.

“I think, what’s more important than who will run, is why will they run, and who can represent the future — who can do more than just remind people of the past, what is the plan,” he continued (16:00 in the interview below).

Edelen said he hopes that Democrats have a “raucous primary focused on ideas,” where in the end the electorate decides who has the best ideas, and who becomes the party’s nominee to take on Bevin, or whoever the GOP nominates.

Watch the full interview with Edelen, including a walk around his property and talk about other issues, including marijuana in the video below.

Potential Democratic candidates include Attorney General Andy Beshear, House Minority Floor Leader Rocky Adkins, Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, former House Speaker Greg Stumbo, and former Auditor Adam Edelen.


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