Talk of who will actually run for governor in 2007 is starting to become a reality.
A Paducah, Ky., businessman has announced his plans to run for governor next year. In Paducah, Billy Harper told a small crowd on Nov. 29, 2006, that he planned to run for the state’s top position.
Harper is the founder of Harper Industries, a construction company with offices in Kentucky, Tennessee and Texas.
At this morning’s press conference, Harper stressed the importance of education as the way to move Kentucky forward.
“The only way for us to compete is by setting higher standards for education, which leads to a better skilled work force,” Harper said.
Harper’s running mate is Dick Wilson, a long time business associate.
“Today I’m proud to announce my candidacy for governor of Kentucky in 2007,” Harper said as the crowd applauded his decision.
It hasn’t even been a month since the Democrats took back the U.S. House and Senate in the midterm elections. Now that Kentuckians are catching their breath. It’s time to start the process all over again.
Many Kentucky citizens say they lost confidence in the state’s first Republican governor in over 30 years, after indictments were issued to Governor Fletcher and members of his staff. Those charges were later dropped, but Republicans are working to ensure that a Democratic take over, like the one that happened in Washington doesn’t come to Frankfort,Ky.
“We don’t think he’s electable in the general election, we think we are. We don’t not need another Democrat in Frankfort for the next 30 years,” Wilson explained.
Billy Harper, who’s running against Governor Fletcher for the Republican nomination, said Fletcher does not have a chance of being re-elected.
“My chief objection to Governor Ernie Fletcher is that he cannot win in the general election. Nominating him would be handing the state house to the Democrats,” Harper said.
Harper and his running mate, Dick Wilson’s run for governor has been one of Kentucky’s worst kept secrets as the candidates have already started running political advertisements.
"Obviously at this end of the state, a lot of people know Billy, but through Central, Eastern and Northern Kentucky we had to get the name out their first," Wilson explained.
Other Republican names such as Rep. Anne Northup and Secretary of State Trey Grayson, have been mentioned as possible candidates for the seat.
Northup lost her third congressional district seat earlier this month in the midterm elections, while Grayson has already said he does not plan to run for governor in 2007.
Harper also said he decided to run to give Kentucky Republicans another choice.
“I’m a business guy, people don’t know us, we started early to get name recognition, let people know they do have an option,” Harper explained.
Harper was chairman of Kentucky’s Chamber of Commerce from 1989 to 1990 when the Kentucky Education Reform Act passed.
For more on Harper’s campaign message, log onto harperforgovernor.com.