Sunday, May 21, 2000

Dems vie for shot at Roeding

By Patrick Crowley
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        FORT MITCHELL — There may not be a tougher statehouse seat for a Democrat to win than the 11th District Senate seat in Boone and Kenton counties.

        It takes in all of Boone County, the largest Republican county in Kentucky, and a group of heavily GOP Kenton County suburbs that include Villa Hills, Fort Mitchell, Park Hills and Fort Wright.

        On top of that, the district has been represented for a decade by Dick Roeding, a popular Lakeside Park Republican and Senate leader who has nearly $80,000 in campaign funds in the bank.

        But that hasn't stopped two Democrats from vying for the chance in Tuesday's primary to run against Mr. Roeding in the fall. The Democratic candidates are:

        „John Stephenson of Fort Mitchell, a former state superintendent of education who has worked as a teacher and real estate broker.

        „Ed Kagin of Union, a lawyer who is using his candidacy to campaign against the fusion of religion and politics in Kentucky.

        “I'm running to assure that the Bill of Rights our ancestors fought, bled and died to give us is protected and followed,” said Mr. Kagin, who admits that his election is a long shot.

        “We have our General Assembly voting to post the Ten Commandments in schools and government properties,” he said. “That's wrong, and I'm the only candidate willing to stand up and say these things.”

        Mr. Kagin said he does not believe in a supernatural being and is “troubled” by the influence of anti-abortion groups in politics.

        Mr. Stephenson has stumped throughout Boone and Kenton counties, appeared at senior citizens centers and held political rallies and events.

        He is strongly opposed to abortion and says he thinks there is a place for the Ten Commandments in schools.

        Mr. Stephenson said he would also work to reduce taxes, increase health-care coverage for Kentucky residents and involve teachers in drafting and passing legislation in Frankfort.

        He questioned a vote by the legislature to increase Northern Kentucky's hotel tax and use the money to help bring convention business to Cincinnati. Mr. Roeding voted for that increase.


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