Friday, November 10, 2000

Early examples set for sons in politics

By Cindy Schroeder
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        INDEPENDENCE — George W. Bush and Al Gore weren't the only sons of politicians seeking to advance the “family business” on Tuesday. Third-generation politician Chris Moriconi says the desire to hold public office was instilled in him at an early age.

        Mr. Moriconi, grandson of the late Crescent Springs Mayor Marcella Fieger, was among at least five politi cians' sons who sought public office Tuesday in Northern Kentucky. “I look at it as volunteer work,” said the 34-year-old son of Crescent Springs Mayor Claire Moriconi. “Some people build houses for Habitat for Humanity. Others run for City Council.”

[photo] Crescent Springs Mayor Claire Moriconi saw son Chris (right) win the most votes for Independence City Council.
(Patrick Reddy photo)
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        For the political newcomer, the years of going door-to-door for his mother's campaigns paid off Tuesday, when Independence residents made Mr. Moriconi the top vote-getter among 13 candidates for City Council.

        “Mom always taught us to get involved in our community wherever we lived,” the newly elected council member said. “I guess this is our family's way of getting involved.”

        Others keeping it in the family at the polls were:

        • Kevin Black, the son of Kenton County Commissioner Barb Black, a 21-year-old University of Kentucky student was elected to Taylor Mill City Commission.

        • Alex Edmondson, 25, a Covington lawyer and rehabber who's the son of Kenton County Attorney Garry Edmondson, 53, was the second-highest vote-getter in Tuesday's race for four Covington City Commission seats.

        • Charlie Kenner, 46, a dentist and son of the late Boone County Sheriff Ron Kenner, defeated Lance Lucas, 38, a lawyer and son of Fourth District Congressman Ken Lucas, 67, in the race for an unexpired term on Boone County Fiscal Court.

        “I'm sure name recognition helped us in getting the nominations, but name recognition will only get you so far,” Mr. Kenner said of his race with Mr. Lucas. “You've got to prove yourself.”

        Mr. Kenner of Union credited “the natural political instincts” of his late father and his Uncle Jim Kimble, the former long-time Pendleton County property valuation administrator, as helping him in his own political campaign.

        “This was my first run for political office,” Mr. Kenner said. “For this race, the timing was right, because both of my kids are in college.”

        Being the child of a politician offers first-hand knowledge of how to handle a campaign, but it also can have its disadvantages.

        “In addition to your father's friends, you also inherit his enemies,” Mr. Lucas said.

        While he has not decided what his political future holds, Mr. Lucas said he is proud of the example his father has set.

        Mr. Edmondson, Mr. Moriconi and Mr. Black said their political pedigrees taught them the value of hard work.

        Each walked most, or all, of their cities with family members, put up hundreds of political signs, and relied on everything from mailings to debates to newspaper ads to get their messages out.

        When Alex Edmondson took part in last month's political forum for Covington City Commission candidates, the elder Mr. Edmondson proudly sat in the front row. He also helped his son raise campaign funds.

        “Dad ran for state representative when I was 4 months old,” Alex said. “I'm confident I went to some campaign functions with him then.”

        As a child, Alex walked the streets of Fort Wright with his father, when he ran for City Council. And when Garry Edmondson first ran for county attorney in 1993, 18-year-old Alex spent many a night and weekend going door-to-door for him.

        When Alex decided to mount his own campaign this year, he remembers his father asking, “Are you sure that you really want to do this?” But for the younger Edmondson, there was only one answer.

        “When you're involved in the political process, and you see how it affects people's lives, it's hard not to get involved,” he said.

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