Independent candidate John-Mark Hack's entrance into 56th Dist. special election adds to intrigue

05/07/2013 03:47 PM

The race to fill the vacant House seat of Rep. Carl Rollins, D-Midway, became more unpredictable with the entrance of independent candidate John-Mark Hack on the filing deadline Tuesday.

Hack is a Woodford County resident who is partner with Marksbury Farm Market. He also works with local food associations on best practices and policy in the local food and agriculture movement. And Hack has been a part of the agricultural scene since serving as director of agriculture policy for Democratic Gov. Paul Patton’s administration starting in 1998.

Hack’s emergence as a candidate less than an hour before the 4 p.m. candidate filing deadline for the June 25 special election, adds a wildcard to the race. He joins Democratic nominee James Kay, a 30-year old attorney, and Republican Lyen Crews, a 51-year-old Midway College administrator.

Hack told Pure Politics in a telephone interview he was motivated to jump in the race to break up the two-party system.

“The key issue is the broken dysfunctional two party system which has proved incapable at solving problems,” Hack said.

Hack said he wanted to enter the race as a “problem solving” candidate that is “free of the party machinery.” Being free of the two-party system Hack says will allow him to be transparent in his views and honest on where he stands.

Hack is advocating for comprehensive reform on the state’s tax code, saying the “antiquated tax system has been kicked down the road by both political parties.” His views on taxes fit with the majority of the House members who wanted to see tax reforms taken up as a whole rather than a piece mail approach.

As a spokesperson for ‘Say No to Casinos’ and now a member of the ‘Stop Predatory Gambling,’ Hack said he is not concerned with how his views of gambling will play in the central Kentucky race.

“That’s up to the people of the district,” Hack said.

Outgoing lawmaker Rep. Carl Rollins weighed in on Monday about the possibility of Hack running in the race, and said his position on gambling “could hurt him.”

While Democrat James Kay kicked off his campaign with a $20,000 boost at an event hosted by the Kentucky Democratic Party Headquarters, Hack said he knows he will be out raised.

His fundraising goal for the special election is $60,000, but he said he knows other parties will pour much more than that behind their candidates.

Crews, meanwhile, has not responded to four messages over the last several days, including two messages left on his cell phone and two left Tuesday with his secretary at Midway College.

Nick Storm

Nick Storm is the Anchor and Managing Editor of Pure Politics available exclusively on Spectrum News. Pure Politics is the only nightly program dedicated to Kentucky politics. Nick covers all of the political heavyweights and his investigative work brings to light issues that might otherwise go unnoticed, like his coverage of the backlog of DNA rape kits waiting to be tested in Kentucky. Nick is also working on a feature length bio documentary Outlaw Poet: A documentary on Ron Whitehead. Pure Politics airs weeknight at 7 and 11:30 on Spectrum News. Follow Nick on Twitter @NStorm_Politics. Nick can be reached at 502-792-1107 or


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