FRANKFORT, Ky. - Kentucky candidates have been following the lead of Gov. Steve Beshear who promised last year to try to rid Frankfort of the divisive politics that he insists have been holding the state back.
Lexington businessman Breck Withers raised that familiar refrain Wednesday when he filed campaign papers to run as an independent against Republican state Rep. Stan Lee, an ardent social conservative who never shies away from floor fights with lawmakers on hot-button issues like abortion and casino gambling.
"It's time to end the divisiveness and get people working together," Withers said. "Both sides are pointing fingers at each other and good things are not happening because people can't get along. And my opponent is one of the most divisive politicians around."
The rhetoric mirrors that of last year's gubernatorial election in which Beshear charged that his Republican opponent, Senate President David Williams, engaged in partisan politics that had stymied progress in the state. Beshear went on to win the race despite a first term marked by an ailing economy, widespread job losses and dwindling state revenue that forced sharp cuts to most government services, all of which Williams repeatedly mentioned on the campaign trail.
Lee said he's always been willing to work with others in the Legislature on worthwhile initiatives, regardless of party affiliation. But he said he's also not afraid to oppose "my friends across the aisle" when necessary.
"When you can work together, you work together," he said. "When there are philosophical differences, then each side should be willing to defend their positions. For the people of this district and the citizens of the commonwealth at large, I'm going to fight for the things that they believe in and I believe in."
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