Heiner and Crosbie say they're on the same page with values, issues; Crosbie answers Comer

03/04/2014 06:45 PM

Republican candidate for governor Hal Heiner and his running mate K.C. Crosbie spent Day 1 of their campaign sticking closely to their initial message of championing the need for a business sense in Frankfort and more education reforms.

But Crosbie also answered questions raised Monday by Agriculture Commissioner James Comer, a prospective GOP opponent in next year’s primary, about how her opinions on issues like expanded gambling are independent of her husband’s business interests.

Before making their official announcement Tuesday, Heiner, a Louisville developer, and Crosbie, a former Lexington city councilwoman, sat down with Pure Politics.

“I have always been impressed with K.C.‘s time on the Lexington council,” Heiner said of his reason for choosing her. “She was a fighter for the taxpayers and how they went about purchasing in Lexington and many other areas.”

Crosbie echoed Heiner’s sentiments, praising his experience and adding that she believes they share similar values and see eye-to-eye on what they would like to see for the future of Kentucky.

When it comes to the positions the two candidates currently hold, Crosbie said her jobs as both national committeewoman for the Republican Party of Kentucky and finance chairman for the Republican Party aren’t a conflict as she runs for lieutenant governor. The party bylaws don’t require her to step down. She said she doesn’t plan to resign as committeewoman but left open the possibility of stepping down as finance chair.

Heiner, who launched a super PAC in January to help Republican House candidates, said he plans to stay on as the head of that group while he makes his 2015 bid. He said he wants to continue to raise money for the New Direction Kentucky group in an effort to switch control of the state House.

“For the last three years, I’ve been involved in education advocacy and a number of other issues and each time, this House leadership has stiff-armed those attempts,” Heiner said (at 5:43 in the interview). “The House leadership has to change, I am absolutely committed to that and will continue to work to that end.”

Heiner intends to focus much of his campaign on those education issues, mainly the advocacy of charter schools which is something Heiner has been involved in for many years.

But one issue that both members of the ticket are already getting questions about is the issue of casino gambling. Back when Heiner ran for mayor of Louisville, he said in a debate with Greg Fischer that he wants to see the people of Kentucky vote on expanded gaming and stop the debate.

Heiner said that’s still what he believes because the discussion over the issue takes up too much of legislators’ time (8:00).

The ticket has also received criticism on the issue from another potential 2015 GOP candidate, Agriculture Commissioner James Comer, who told the Lexington Herald-Leader’s Sam Youngman the ticket has inconsistencies on the issue of gaming.

Comer’s remarks referred to Crosbie’s husband, Scott, a lobbyist and co-founder of HCM Governmental Relations, which has among its clients the Tropicana Casinos and Resorts. Crosbie hit back at Comer, saying his comments were “unconscionable.”

“For Commissioner Comer to suggest that a woman can not have independent thoughts from her husband, there are a lot of women who are successful in their careers and who are politically successful and to even suggest that I can not think independently of my husband is really quite a sad state,” Crosbie said (at 9:30).


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