Vote 2006 (Part One) - Ed Whitfield vs. Tom Barlow

By: Fida Georges
By: Fida Georges

Kentucky's 1st Congressional District is the largest in the state. The district encompasses more than 34 counties. Most counties are west of Bowling Green with a stretch of area extending to include Simpson, Allen, Monroe, Metcalfe, Adair, Cumberland and Adair.

The 1st District also houses the only uranium enrichment facility left in the United States, and is also home to the Army's Fort Campbell, which houses the 101st Airborne Division, the 5th Special Forces Group and the 160th Special Operations Air Regiment.

But what is also interesting about the largest district in the state is this year's election concerning the 1st District seat. This is not the first election where the candidates, Republican incumbent Ed Whitfield and Democrat Tom Barlow, have run against each other.

Rep. Whitfield who is currently serving his sixth term as U.S. Representative for Kentucky's 1st Congressional District is also the first Republican to represent Kentucky's 1st District since the Civil War.

Barlow who wants to regain the 1st Congressional seat in this election, a seat he once held from 1993 to 1995, ran for re-election but was defeated by Whitfield in 1994, but winning 77 percent of the vote during the Democratic primary on May 16, 2006, means that Barlow will once again get to face Whitfield for the 1st District seat.

Here is some further information on each candidate:

Ed Whitfield

Up for re-election is incumbent Republican Ed Whitfield.

Whitfield, who is a Hopkinsville, Ky., native, was elected to congress in 1994 and is currently serving his sixth term as US Representative for Kentucky's 1st Congressional District. He earned a bachelor's degree in business and then pursued a law degree from the University of Kentucky.

Whitfield, who served as a 1st lieutenant in the 100th division of the U.S. Army reserves, also served in the Kentucky House of Representatives in 1974-1975 and operated an oil distributorship in the West Kentucky coal fields. He was also named vice president of state relations for CSX Corporation and was promoted to vice president for Federal Railroad Affairs in 1988 before returning to Kentucky in 1993.

Whitfield currently serves on the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, and he is also the chairman of the Oversight and Investigation Subcommittee. He also serves on the Telecommunications and the Internet Subcommittee and the Energy and Air Quality Subcommittee.

Whitfield has a daughter and two grandchildren.

Tom Barlow

This is Kentucky Democrat Tom Barlow's 11th time running for an office seat.

Barlow graduated with a bachelor's degree in history from Haverford College in Pennsylvania. There he worked as a banker and business executive.

Barlow later worked as a conservation consultant on Capitol Hill for the Natural Resources Defense Council from 1971 to 1982. In 1985 Barlow returned to Western Kentucky to help farmers with conservation and forestry issues.

In 1992 Barlow upset incumbent Democratic Rep. Carroll Hubbard in the primary and won the seat to represent Kentucky's 1st District. He held the 1st Congressional District seat from 1993 to 1995.

In 1994 Barlow ran for re-election but was defeated by Whitfield, but on May 16, 2006, Barlow won the Democratic primary with 77 percent of the vote.

Barlow has five children and nine grandchildren.

Whitfield and Barlow

According to both Whitfield and Barlow they want reform in government.

Whitfield is calling for reform in Congress. He said Congress is currently consumed by an unpractical appropriations. In addition to a shorter budget cycle, Whitfield said more equitable distribution of earmarks and more transparency in the legislation are needed for an effective future Congress.

Barlow is also calling for reform - for a clean up of Washington. He said there is too much corruption resulting from Katrina and the war in Iraq.

For further information on Ed Whitfield visit http://whitfield.house.gov/.

For further information on Tom Barlow visit http://www.barlowforcongress.com/


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