By Carl Keith Greene / Staff Writer
The 89th District primary election for the State House of Representatives will see either Republican incumbent Marie L. Rader, or hopeful, Carlos Cameron go to the House next year.
The district includes Owsley, Jackson and the northeast part of Laurel counties.
Both live in Jackson County — Cameron, 40, in Annville, and Rader, 70, in McKee.
With no Democrats on the ballot in November, the primary will place one or the other in the legislature.
The two have different first-level concerns about their plans for next year’s session.
Hers is education, and his is drugs.
Cameron said his most important plan is drug problems.
“We keep passing legislation that I’m just not satisfied with. I don’t think it’s enough. We’re losing three Kentuckians a day to prescription drug abuse overdoses. That’s more than car accidents. Meth labs continue to be an epidemic. I know some small steps have been taken to try to fix the problem, but I think it’s time we take bigger and longer strides to more directed steps,” he added. “All three counties in the 89th District have massive drug problems.”
He said he’s not happy with the recent changes in the drug laws with the passing of new legislation, a couple of years ago.
“I think we should make it better,” he said.
Her main concern first is education. “Education is a moving target that we constantly have to revise and revisit in order to keep children in the loop in the future.”
Making education better is necessary, and to do that, she said, “We can’t afford to lose one child through the cracks, to drop out or whatever.”
She added, “In my opinion we’re never going to solve the social issues, and the drug problems, until we have confident children.”
Rader and Cameron met on the second issue, jobs.
He said, “We just have no jobs available. We don’t have a friendly environment for industry or businesses that come into this region.”
Jobs are big issues, Rader said.
“I think that jobs go back to education. It is the secret of how we build this economy. Low skills or no skills are costing us every day.”
“Show me an area that has the skilled worker and I’ll show you where jobs are going to go,” she said.
The third issue, also from both, is roads.
One of the sections of KY 30 in Jackson County is to be completed and two starting in Owsley County, Rader explained.
“We’re never going to bring those people into the world for jobs and for education and for medical issues without good roads,” she said.
“We’re no longer trying to move industrial parks or whatever in. I tell the governor all the time ‘I’m trying to pull these people with access that I can convince them to stay in school and get an education.’ Because, you can get a job with a way to get there.”
Cameron said roads in Jackson and Owsley counties have become a big issue, and for Laurel County the issue is redistricting.
They need better roads, he said. “We have roads that need to be fixed. They are constantly being put on the back burner and doing without it.”
He said also that funds have been appropriated to continue KY 30, that now ends at Tyner.
Laurel redistricting he said, is “a sore subject in Laurel County, having four representatives, and I can say I agree” with most of Laurel County people. He explained that it would seem to be that four representatives would be better.
But the county doesn’t have only one representative who can do justice for Laurel, he added.
Rader, who is retired, said “The legislature is full time.”
She studied at Berea College and graduated from McKee High School.
She is a member of McKee Baptist Church, Kiwanis Club, Jackson County Development Association and was a member of the McKee city council, among other things.
She has two married daughters and four grandsons.
Cameron works for Operation UNITE in the education department.
He graduated from Jackson County High School. “I went straight into work as a young poor boy. I worked my way up through pretty much every job I’ve had.”
And he’s a member of Letterbox Baptist Church.
His wife is Judy and they have two boys and a girl.
The primary election is a week from today — Tuesday, May 22.