TheTimesTribune.com, Corbin, KY

December 10, 2010

Justice Venters donates money to six colleges


The Times-Tribune

CORBIN — By Ronnie Ellis/CNHI News Service

Saying he wants to help young people from his Supreme Court District, Justice Daniel Venters of Somerset has donated $10,643 to six colleges and the Louisville Library Foundation.

Venters was elected to an 8-year term from the Third Supreme Court District in the recent election after first being appointed to the court in 2008 by Gov. Steve Beshear and then winning a special election. Venters was unopposed in the election.

“Last year, when it appeared Justice Venters re-election would be contested, we accepted campaign contributions and we had funds left over from the 2008 special election,” said campaign treasurer William C. Wesley, a Somerset accountant. But when Venters ultimately was unopposed, the campaign stopped accepting contributions and was then left with a balance of more than $10,000.

“Rather than hold the funds for re-election in the distant future, we wanted to let the money be used now when it can benefit someone,” Venters said Wednesday. The money could not be refunded to contributors, according to an opinion Venters received from the Registry of election Finance.

“Most of the money was contributed from within the Third District, so we wanted it to be used here,” Venters said. “Helping some young folks of this district to get an education seemed like a worthwhile goal, so we decided to give a portion to each of the six colleges in the district.”

Venters gave $1,690 each to Somerset Community College Campbellsville University, Lindsey Wilson college, St. Catharine College, Union College and the University of the Cumberlands. The remaining $500 was donated to the Louisville Library Foundation “to honor the support shown by friends in the Louisville area,” Venters said.

“These contributions are very modest amounts,” Venters continued, “but these are hard times for a lot of people, so we hope it will do some good. It’s certainly better than leaving in a campaign account for eight years.”

He said his decision to donate the money shouldn’t be interpreted as a signal he has decided not to seek another term in eight years.

Venters previously served as District Judge in Pulaski and Rockcastle counties and Circuit Judge for Pulaski, Lincoln and Rockcastle counties. Before that, Venters served for four years as assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney with then Commonwealth Attorney Hal Rogers, now the U.S. Congressman from Kentucky’s Fifth Congressional District. The Charleston, W. Va. Native is a graduate of Ohio State University and the University of Kentucky College of Law.

He lives in Somerset with his wife, Jane Adams Venters who is also an attorney.

Ronnie Ellis writes for CNHI News Service and is based in Frankfort, Ky. He may be contacted by email at rellis@cnhi.com. Follow CNHI News Service stories on Twitter at www.twitter.com/cnhifrankfort.