FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - Gov. Ernie Fletcher is about to begin airing the second in a series of political ads aimed at what he contends are the evils of casino gambling.
The latest ad, to air across the state beginning on Tuesday, features a woman who was sentenced to two years in prison in 2003 after pleading guilty to embezzling $241,300 from the Commercial State Bank of Waterloo, Ill., to feed a gambling addiction.
Fletcher, who opposes a move to legalize casino gambling in Kentucky, gave a preview of the ad on Monday afternoon during a visit to Owensboro where he was campaigning for re-election. His Democratic opponent in the race for governor, Steve Beshear, supports a constitutional amendment that would put a referendum on the ballot so that voters could decide whether to allow casinos in the state.
The woman in the ad, Norma F. Brandt of Waterloo, was fired after working for the Illinois bank for 30 years. She said in the ad that if she hadn't been caught, "I know I'd be dead."
Along with the prison term, Brandt was ordered to undergo mental health counseling and to attend Gamblers Anonymous meetings.
"Steve Beshear promises casino gambling," Fletcher said in the ad. "Not in my Kentucky home."
Beshear spokeswoman Vicki Glass said the ad was a diversionary tactic.
"What happened to Norma Brandt is tragic but Ernie Fletcher has chosen to exploit her tragedy because he needs to keep the spotlight on other people's illegal activities to keep it off his own," Glass said Monday night. "That's not what this election is about, however. It's about improving health care, jobs, economic development and education in Kentucky. It's also about leadership. That's what Steve Beshear is talking about.
"After four years, it's becoming increasingly clear that Ernie Fletcher has nothing to say on any of these issues," Glass said.
(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)