Leeper explains why GOP should elect an independent Senate president; Says ballot will be 1st test

11/13/2012 08:09 PM

In their first chance to elect a leader not named David Williams, Senate Republicans get the choice between an independent and their current floor leader.

So Sen. Bob Leeper, the Paducah chiropractor who is the only independent in the General Assembly, is playing up the change angle. Leeper, who has served as Senate Appropriations and Revenue Committee chairman, said he wants to de-centralize the decision making among the majority caucus to give more power to committee chairmen.

Leeper also said the first test for the Republican caucus sans Williams will be to see whether the group will elect its leaders by secret ballot or a more public show of hands. For the first time, Leeper said publicly that the Republican leaders’ refusal to go with a secret ballot in the 2005 leadership elections denied him a chance to compete for the Republican caucus chairman at the time. That, he said, contributed to his decision to switch to become an independent later in that legislative session. (2:30 of the interview)

In an extended interview with Pure Politics on Tuesday, Leeper explained the pitch he’ll give to Republicans (0:10), the top issues he wants to see the legislature tackle in 2013 (4:00) and how an independent can lead the Republicans and raise money (6:30).

“I think someone in the front of the chamber who has that slight bit of independence will bode well for them,” he said.

Leeper also is running on his record. For instance, Leeper was among three senators who didn’t vote for House Bill 299 in 2005 that provided a lucrative pension perk for lawmakers who switched to higher-paying government jobs in the executive or judicial branches.

“The willingness to do what’s right, I’ve done it my whole career. If that gives me a leg up, I hope so,” he said (1:30).

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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