Three Democrats run in hopes of capturing open 88th District House seat

05/08/2018 02:00 PM

LEXINGTON – When 88th District State Rep. Robert Benvenuti, R-Lexington, decided not to seek re-election, three Republicans and three Democrats filed to run for the open seat.

On the Democratic side, the candidates include Lexington Fairness chair and small business owner Josh Mers, Cherlynn Stephenson, who has worked in the health and wellness industry, and Gail Swanson, a state retiree, community activist and psychology professor at Bluegrass Community and Technical College in Lexington.

Mers, who entered the race even before Benvenuti announced that he would not seek re-election, says that it was his concern of where the state was headed that prompted him to file.

“We’re seeing assaults on our working families, we’re seeing assaults on public education and we’re seeing assaults on the future of our commonwealth, and we need leadership that will bring new ideas and new energy over to Frankfort,” Mers said.

Stevenson believes that her business background puts her in the best position to be an effective legislator.

“I have worked for Fortune 500 companies, I have owned my own small business, and I have done extensive work with non-profits, so I believe that that community service can parlay into a different kind of community service now by being a public servant,” Stevenson said.

One of Swanson’s biggest concerns is the state education system.

“Concerns about teachers and the position that they’re in right now, having strong feelings about their need for a good pension fund, having very strong feelings about teachers needs to be respected in the community,” Swanson said. “People are also talking about their concerns about their own children in the public school system.”

Mers has a significant lead as far as fundraising is concerned.

According to the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance, Mers has raised $31,482 and has spent $18,326. Stevenson has raised $11,243 while spending $4,409 and
Swanson has raised $2,590 with $1,236 in disbursements.


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