With cancer in remission Rep. Jim Wayne announces run for re-election in 2016

12/10/2015 10:04 PM

LOUISVILLE — After receiving a clean bill of health over the Thanksgiving holiday Rep. Jim Wayne, D-Louisville, says he will running for re-election for a 14th term in office.

Wayne, who was diagnosed with cancer of the larynx and lymph nodes in May, endured 35 rounds of radiation and chemotherapy treatments in an effort to eradicate the cancer.

Speaking to supporters and gathered media at All Wool & A Yard Wide Democratic Club in Louisville on Thursday, Wayne announced his recovery and declared his candidacy for the seat he’s held since 1991.

“Debbie and I then had to sit down after this ordeal and say ‘what is our duty to our family, to each other, and to the community in terms of re-election?” Wayne said. “And we determined that yes, I would run for re-election.”

For Wayne the diagnosis and on-going rounds of treatment hardened his resolve to make sure his constituents, and fellow Kentuckians, have the same access to health insurance that saved his life.

“Ladies and gentlemen, a poor person with the diagnosis that I received on May 7th would be faced with two alternatives, and maybe a combination of both — death or bankruptcy,” he said. “The cost of treatment that I had was certainly something that a poor person without health insurance could have never of afforded.”

Wayne said Democrats need to convince Governor Matt Bevin to not transition away from the state’s health exchange, kynect, to the federal health exchange. During Tuesday’s inaugural address Bevin again promised to shift Medicaid enrollees to a new plan.

“All of us need to get behind Kentucky kynect, and make sure that Governor Bevin is enlightened and has a change of heart — a conversion of heart, so that he recognizes that poor people already have skin in the game,” Wayne said. “They’re working at minimum wage jobs and still can’t get health insurance. And they cannot afford co-payments, and they cannot afford major deductibles.”

House Speaker Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, said Wayne should be celebrated for the message he brings forward through his own ordeal.

“We come here today not really to celebrate the re-election announcement of Jim Wayne, but to celebrate the health of Jim Wayne and the powerful message Jim Wayne brings for 500,000 people that he just spoke about,” Stumbo said.

“There are things left in America that are worth fighting for — middle class values, public education — the right to pull yourself up through the public education system. The right to healthcare,” Stumbo said.

Wayne had not had a challenge for the seat in 24 years until his 2014 re-election race. Wayne won that contest by more than 2,000 votes in the strongly Democratic district.


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