A bipartisan ticket of Ben Chandler for Gov. and Jeff Hoover for Lt. Gov. advanced by Mark Nickolas on bluegrassreport.org.

Ben Chandler is currently a Democratic member of Congress from Lexington, Ky.  Jeff Hoover is the Republican Minority Leader in the Ky. House of Representives.

Hoover has been credited as being a progressive Republican who was able to get bills passed with a minimum of partisanship.

The Bold Idea advanced by Nickolas goes like this:

(Caveat: Let me say at the beginning of this post that this is my personal opinion and I am in no way speaking for Ben Chandler. I wanted to offer my out-of-the-box assessment of the state’s political environment and propose an idea that would rock the political establishment but excite the public and move our state forward.)

Regardless of your political affiliations and philosophy, I think you’d agree that politics and government in Kentucky is broken. It’s not working. The partisanship has hardened. The Judiciary has sadly joined the fray. The pursuit of wedge issues for political gain has eclipsed bipartisan solutions that benefit the greatest number of citizens.

Governor Fletcher’s (R) legal problems have ensured that we will again be forced to address a theme of “cleaning-up the mess? and “change.? And the public has had to endure two consecutive administrations – from each political party – immersed in legal and political scandal, and at war with an attorney general elected by the public to enforce the law regardless of the occupant of that office.

The general consensus among political insiders and the media is that the 2007 race is Rep. Ben Chandler’s (D) to lose, if he seeks it. One recent Republican poll showed Chandler defeating Fletcher by a 55-28 margin and even Republicans seem resigned to the inevitability of a strong Chandler victory if he runs.

But Chandler is non-committal about another run. Aside from being very satisfied with his current job in Congress, Ben has mentioned on more than one occasion the politically toxic environment in Frankfort and one wonders how the next governor will be able to effectively govern with such division, not to mention each political party holding on to a legislative chamber.

Once Chandler is removed from the equation, the race becomes a free-for-all for Democrats, and probably for Republicans as well, with an outcome driven more by personalities and war chests than ideas and philosophy. We’re more likely to see a war of attrition than an enlightened debate.

Kentucky needs a new direction and the public deserves better than it has received. Government must be about moving the entire state forward, not just trying to navigate the shallow waters of wedge issues that play to small groups. Our leaders need to be accountable and work together in a responsible way. Both parties have let us down, and led us down the wrong path.

So, let me offer a bold idea.

Putting aside legal hurdles for the time being, I believe the time is right for a unity ticket for governor, specifically a ticket of Democratic Congressman Ben Chandler and Republican House Minority Leader Jeff Hoover (R-Jamestown). 

I’ve never met Hoover, but many progressive Democrats that I know hold him in very high regard. Rep. Kathy Stein (D) has sung his praises to me on a number of occasions, describing him as a statesman, and someone who cares a great deal about the well-being of the Commonwealth. Ben, too, has said very positive things about Hoover in the past.

A Chandler-Hoover ticket would be so appealing because it’s impossible to suggest that the union is anything but sincere, since most believe that Chandler would win regardless of running mate. A Chandler-Hoover ticket would be aimed squarely at governing, not simply winning.


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