Horne meets with Democratic women

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By Randy Patrick

Stephanie Horne, candidate for lieutenant governor, told members of the Democratic Woman’s Club of Nelson County at the Public Library Monday that she and her running mate, House Minority Floor Leader Rocky Adkins, are the only ones in next month’s primary ballot who can go on to win the general election.

“I think there’s only one candidate who can beat Matt Bevin in the fall,” Horne said, and that is Adkins.

That’s because the Elliott County native is a moderate like herself, and appeals to rural voters, although she is from suburban Louisville.

Horne, who lives in Prospect with her husband, retired Marine Lt. Col. Andrew Horne, and their two sons, Nick and Tyler, is a real estate lawyer and businesswoman who owns a title and escrow services firm.

In her first political race, for Jefferson County Board of Education, her opponents spent $350,000 against her, and she still won. She led the board’s finance committee and helped shape the school district’s equity policy.

She said she was “passionate” about supporting Adkins for governor.

“I think there are a lot of people like me who really want Rocky Adkins,” she said.

One reason she connects with him may be that they have so much in common.

“We share so many things,” she said.

Both are cancer survivors and both their parents were schoolteachers.

And in this race, making sure health care is affordable and that children and adults have educational opportunities are central to why they’re running.

“Health care right now is under attack,” Horne said. Insurance companies must be required to cover people like Adkins and her who have pre-existing conditions, she said. “That’s real. It’s the difference between life and death.”

It’s “a moral issue,” she said.

Horne also talked about Adkins’ plan to make community and vocational education tuition free, as Tennessee and 16 other states have done. The state would provide the “last dollar in,” meaning it would cover only what isn’t covered by scholarships and grants.

Linda Sonne was skeptical. “I’m concerned about the free education. Where is that money coming from?” she asked.

“There are multiple ways of paying for it in other states,” Horne said, but one thing she would like to see is tax reform, including changes to tax credits and closing loopholes.

Margie Bradford, a longtime school board member, said the private sector could be involved.

And Mary Drake, who was involved in vocational education in Nelson and Marion counties, described to Horne an apprenticeship program that was started here.

Those are the kinds of innovations that will result in needed change, Horne said. If there’s one thing she wants to emphasize, she said, it is that an Adkins administration would not have a top-down approach to solving solutions but will look at what communities are already doing well and learn from them.

Several of the women agreed with Horne on the need for tax reform.

“I think one place we could get money is if he had true tax reform and got rid of the flat tax,” Drake said, referencing action taken by Republicans to reduce income taxes for those who earn more while leaving rates for lower-income earners the same and imposing sales taxes on services.

Martha Nest also criticized the legislature’s decision in this last session to give banks a $100 million tax break, supposedly to keep them from leaving the state. Banks don’t make those kinds of decisions based on taxes, she said.

Horne said that where she lives is divided between Republicans and Democrats.

“It’s all kinds of people, so I’ve always been moderate. I go to church on Sundays,” she said, mentioning that she attends Christ United Methodist Church, where her mother was the choir director, and that hers is a “military family.”

Adkins, too, calls himself a moderate and a centrist.

She was asked what that means to her in the context of this governor’s race.

“I’m not sure. I just know who I am,” she said. “We’re focused on education, health care, and we’re focused on our veterans. We’re focused on jobs and improving the economy … and that’s our message.”

One issue she said later that she differs from Adkins on is abortion. Adkins calls himself “pro-life,” although he makes exceptions for rape, incest and the life and health of the mother. Horne said she would not have an abortion herself, but thinks it’s a decision that has to be left to the woman in consultation with her doctor, pastor and husband.