Those chosen Tuesday to represent the citizens of Northern Kentucky, both in Frankfort and Washington, have a clear mandate: balance the budget, keep more tax revenue produced by Northern Kentuckians in Northern Kentucky, improve education and health care, and help the economy grow.
Most candidates promised voters they would meet those goals in some form or another. They identified many of the state's flaws; now let's see how effective they are in finding solutions.
Sen. Jim Bunning, sent back to Washington for a second term, listed among his top priorities working getting money to replace the Brent Spence Bridge. There is arguably no more important project for the long-term future of Kentucky and Ohio. The aging bridge links the two along Interstates 71 and 75, but it has become a dangerous chokepoint for tens of thousands of travelers daily.
Republican Geoff Davis, replacing retiring Ken Lucas in Congress, talked a lot about health care and national security. Along with winning state legislators from this area, he lamented that there are not enough insurance companies in Kentucky to provide competition, that doctors are leaving the state and that skyrocketing health care costs are hurting businesses and families.
These winners promised to address those issues. We will hold them to their promises.
Two issues need attention right away. Northern Kentucky lawmakers must find money for Gateway Community and Technical College and the special events center at Northern Kentucky University. More than $50 million had been earmarked for the NKU arena and $14 million for construction at Gateway's Boone County campus. The two-year college is nimble and responsive to business, and is an economic asset to the region. But because lawmakers couldn't pass a budget in April, spending projects were placed on hold.
Democrats have long dominated Kentucky politics, but with Republican Gov. Ernie Fletcher, GOP control of the Senate and a majority Republican delegation from Northern Kentucky, Frankfort now has a two-party system that should serve the constituents, not result in gridlock.
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