LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - Former Lt. Gov. Steve Henry on Tuesday
joined a flock of Democrats running for governor, offering broad
policy goals to improve Kentucky's schools, economy and health
Henry, a Louisville orthopedic surgeon who served as the state's
second in command from 1995 to 2003 under former Gov. Paul Patton,
selected Fayette County Property Valuation Administrator Renee True
as his running mate. His choice forms a ticket with a base in the
state's two largest cities. Henry also can draw on star appeal in
his own family - he's married to former Miss America Heather French
"We're in this race to make sure that our children have a
better life, a better opportunity than we had growing up," Henry
said in announcing his candidacy at a union hall in south
Henry said he welcomed a review of the Patton administration's
record and took a jab at Patton's successor, Gov. Ernie Fletcher, a
Republican who is seeking a second term.
"We fundamentally changed Kentucky," Henry said. "And what we
have seen occur since that time is backsliding on almost every
Henry mentioned the rising cost of health care and college
tuition as examples of the backsliding.
Fletcher's term has been marred by an investigation into whether
his administration illegally rewarded political supporters with
state jobs after he took office.
The governor maintained the investigation was politically
motivated and gave a blanket pardon in 2005 to anyone except
himself who could be charged in the probe.
A Franklin County special grand jury indicted Fletcher on
misdemeanor charges that were eventually dropped last year in a
deal with prosecutors. The grand jury's report found that Fletcher
had approved a "widespread and coordinated plan" to skirt state
Fletcher, who was the first Republican governor elected in more
than 30 years, faces a GOP primary against former U.S. Rep. Anne
Northup and Paducah businessman Billy Harper.
Henry encountered some troubles at the end of his term as
lieutenant governor. In 2003, he reached an agreement with the U.S.
attorney's office after he was investigated for charging for
surgeries he did not attend. Henry maintained he did nothing wrong
but paid the government $162,000 in a settlement. The state's
medical licensing board found no violations of medical practice
When asked Tuesday if he worried that his opponents might bring
up his medical misbilling settlement, Henry said "everybody's got
an Achilles heel."
"There are no secrets about Steve Henry, or Heather for that
matter," he said. "Everything that could be written has been
Patton left office tainted by an extramarital affair.
Other Democrats who have announced their candidacies in the May
22 gubernatorial primary are State Treasurer Jonathan Miller,
former Lt. Gov. Steve Beshear, Gatewood Galbraith and Otis Hensley
Jr. of Harlan.
House Speaker Jody Richards said he will announce his entry into
the race on Wednesday in his hometown of Bowling Green. Richards
said John Y. Brown III, a former secretary of state, will be his
running mate. Candidates have until Jan. 30 to officially enter the
Kentucky is one of three states that will elect a governor in
At his campaign kickoff, Henry offered broad proposals on an
array of issues.
If elected, he said, he would push to raise teachers' pay,
guarantee health coverage for children and promote alternative
fuels using Kentucky coal and grain. Henry stressed improving care
for veterans - an issue also dear to his wife. Henry said he would
elevate the Department of Veterans Affairs to a cabinet, which his
wife would lead. Henry also said he supported allowing voters to
decide whether to expand gambling.
True, a Lexington native, has been the Fayette County PVA since
1992. True, the only woman so far on a Democratic ticket, said
women's issues would be a focus for her if she becomes lieutenant
True said Kentucky ranks near the bottom nationally in
women-owned businesses, women executives and women holding elective
office. "It is time for us to stand up and to actually make some
progress," she said.
The announcement kicked off a two-day statewide tour that will
end Wednesday night in Owensboro, Henry's boyhood home.
On the Republican side, U.S. Sen. Jim Bunning on Tuesday
explained his reasons for breaking with Fletcher and endorsing
Northup the day before.
Bunning said the former congresswoman from Louisville is "a
passionate pro" on policy and "an unbelievably tenacious
worker." He said Northup can appeal to a broader cross-section of
voters in the general election.
Associated Press writer Roger Alford in Frankfort contributed to
(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)