Richards wins easily
Nov 07, 2012 (Daily News - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
Rep. Jody Richards, D-Bowling Green, said there are tough issues to tackle in the General Assembly session he will head back to in January.
Richards toppled his Republican opponent, Regina Webb, for the 20th District House seat Tuesday by nearly 4,000 votes -- 10,782-6,908 -- according to unofficial vote totals.
Two of those tough issues are tax reform and pension reform, with reports from task forces expected soon. "I want to see what those say and ... (possibly) see them used as models for legislation," he said.
As to whether Richards will propose legislation on the topics, he said it depends on the findings in the reports.
"We do need to constantly look at our tax code," he said.
Richards said state officials believed they had a fix for the pension system in 2008, but the economy tanked and returns on invested funds were less than 2 percent, well below what had been expected.
Richards said he wants to see the state improve education and continue to create an environment fruitful for jobs.
As for government spending in general, Richards told more than 100 supporters at Democratic headquarters Tuesday that the state has a finite pile of money, so spending will have to be prioritized.
As for the race itself, Richards said he feels vindicated by the overwhelming win.
"I haven't ever had a campaign like this that was so negative," Richards said. "This community deserves a candidate who talks about the issues, and that's what I did."
Richards worked hard, raised and spent quite a bit of money and walked door-to-door for three months, and he thanked supporters for all of their efforts, he said.
Democratic Party Chairman Shannon Morgan said volunteers made thousands of calls for candidates.
As for how many more terms Richards will run, he can't say.
"I've got a good start," he said. "But I love this community ... and working with everyone here."
Rep. Wilson Stone, D-Scottsville, who ran unopposed in the 22nd District, said the outcome of the race in the 20th District was a testament to the work Richards has done for the region since 1976.
"It was an exciting race," Stone said. "And I think he was subject to a lot of negative campaigning that the public resented."
Stone said he was particularly proud of Richards given that Republicans appeared to be dominating many races across the state.
And while the results in this race were disappointing to Republicans, Warren County GOP chairman Scott Lashley said he looks at the big picture.
"I'm proud of her for stepping up and taking the challenge," Lashley said of Webb. "Hopefully this sends a message that we are serious contenders for as many races as possible. I think it's important that we give people a choice."
Webb called Richards and offered her congratulations, she said. "It was short and sweet," Webb said.
Despite the wide margin between the two, Webb said, she probably will run again. "But this was probably the hardest race I could have chosen," she said.
Webb initially filed to run in the 21st District when it appeared that Republican Rep. Jim DeCesare had been redistricted out the district. However, a court ruling later voided that redistricting plan.
"At that point I had a decision to make," Webb said. "I don't know that I would have chosen to run against Jody, but that's what I did."
Webb said she knows what to do in her next election.
"I probably need to knock on some more doors," she said.
State Sen. Mike Wilson, R-Bowling Green, said it was a valiant effort on Webb's part to take on a long-time incumbent.
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