Tuesday, January 21, 2003

N.Ky. caucus picks leaders for new session

Rep. Charlie Walton, R-Florence, has been named chairman of the Northern Kentucky Legislative Caucus. Rep. Arnold Simpson, D-Covington, has been named vice-chairman. Both were selected through a vote of the caucus' 15 members.

The caucus plans to hold two public meetings during the 2003 legislative session, Feb. 1 and Feb. 22 at Northern Kentucky University. Both sessions will run from 10 a.m. to noon.

Park Hills Republican Trey Grayson, a lawyer running for secretary of state, has begun stumping and raising money for his campaign.

Mr. Grayson, who so far is the only GOP candidate in the race, has campaigned in Lexington, Frankfort, Louisville, Oldham County and Laurel County since announcing his candidacy Dec. 17th. He had raised $13,000 as of Dec. 31.

Mr. Grayson said he would hold a Northern Kentucky fund-raiser in late February.

Kenton County Commissioner Adam Koenig, a Villa Hills Republican, is also considering seeking the GOP nomination.

Three Democrats have filed for the race: Russ Maple of Louisville; Joe B. Lanter of Lexington; and H. "Gippy" Graham of Frankfort.

The filing deadline is Jan. 28.

Gubernatorial candidate Sonny Landham and his lieutenant governor running mate, Roger Thoney of Highland Heights, have left the Republican Party and are now running as independents.

"The reason behind the change is we want to give our constituents a voice to address their concerns which have not been heard in the past," Mr. Landham said in a statement announcing the switch.

Republican Damon Thayer, a candidate in Kenton County's Jan. 28 special state Senate election, has picked up endorsements from groups representing homebuilders and abortion opponents.

Kentucky Right to Life and the Family First Political Action Committee, socially conservative groups that oppose abortion, have endorsed Mr. Thayer. The Political Housing Club of the Home Builders Association of Northern Kentucky has also endorsed him.

Mr. Thayer is running against Democrat Charles Wells in the 17th Senate District, a new district created through legislative redistricting. Both candidates are from Georgetown in Scott County.

The district includes 25 precincts in southern Kenton County and all of Grant, Owen and Scott counties.

Ohio U.S. Rep. Steve Chabot, a Republican from Cincinnati, will be the featured speaker at Friday's Government Forum Luncheon sponsored by the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce.

The forum will be at the Metropolitan Club, 50 W. RiverCenter Blvd., Covington. The event begins at 11:30 a.m. with lunch served at noon. Cost is $30 for chamber members and $40 for others. Reservations can be made by calling the chamber at (859) 578-6395 or by registering online at www.nkychamber.com.

State Rep. Jon Draud, R-Crestview Hills, has received the Home Builders Association of Northern Kentucky's 2002 Community Service Award.

According to a statement from the home builders, Mr. Draud was recognized "for his efforts in the wake of the Erpenbeck scandal to address issues related to the home closing process," said Dan Dressman, executive vice president of the association.

"(Mr. Draud) met with home builders, Realtors, title agents and lenders throughout the summer months to gather input on ways to prevent future Erpenbeck situations from occurring."

Mr. Draud filed House Bill 44, which will be considered in the 2003 General Assembly legislative session that begins in February. It calls for licensing of title agents and adds legal safeguards to the home buying process, Mr. Dressman said.

The Kenton County Republican Women's Club will meet at 11:30 a.m. Monday at the Five Seasons Sports Club, 345 Thomas More Parkway in Crestview Hills. All registered Republicans are invited to attend.

Reservations must be made by Friday by calling (859) 342-7620.

The Boone County Democratic Women's Club will meet at 7 p.m. Monday at the home of June Rouse, 6526 Balcomie Ct., Florence. For more information call (859) 371-8592 or (859) 586-4744.

The Campbell County Republican Party will meet Jan. 28 at 7:30 p.m. at the Highland Heights City Building, 175 John's Hill Road. For more information, call (859) 441-9100 or log on to the party's Web site, www.campbellgop.org.

To submit an item to Political Notes contact Patrick Crowley at (859)578-5581; E-mail, pcrowley@enquirer.com; fax, (859) 578-5565; or mail 226 Grandview Drive, Fort Mitchell, Ky., 41017.

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CROWLEY: N.Ky. caucus picks leaders for new session