LOUISVILLE – When longtime Democratic state Rep. Jim Wayne, D-Louisville, decided not to seek re-election after serving in the House chamber since 1991, three Democrat candidates from distinct backgrounds decided run for the seat.
The candidates include Lisa Willner, executive director of the Kentucky Psychological Association and vice chair of the Jefferson County Board of Education, Richard Becker, a union organizer with Service employees International and Jack Walker, a woodworker and political advisor.
Willner says that her work experience will give her a leg up on her opponents in dealing with specific areas like education.
“I understand the social and emotional needs of our kids, I understand the effects of trauma that many kids bring with them into the classroom which presents all kinds of new challenges for our teachers,” Willner said.
Becker says that is experience as a union organizer gives him the skills needed to navigate the General Assembly.
“The work I’ve done as a union organizer as well as my work with Kentucky Jobs with Justice has involved making actual change in our community,” Becker said. “I’m the only candidate in the race with the experience to take on corporate power and win and I think that’s exactly what we need in Frankfort.”
Walker says that his lifetime of experience related to politics including being an intern with the Legislative Research Commission makes him the best choice.
“I’ve been involved with the political community here for almost two decades,” Walker said. “I have served as president of the Kentucky Young Democrats and currently a member of the Democratic Party’s State Central Executive Committee.”
Willner has the endorsement of Rep. Mary Lou Marzian, D-Louisville, while Becker is endorsed by Rep. Attica Scott, D-Louisville, Rep. Al Gentry, D-Louisville, and Rep. Jeff Donohue, D-Louisville, as well as former Rep. Larry Clark.
Walker has endorsements from Sen. Denise Harper Angel, D-Louisville, Sen. Perry Clark, D-Louisville, Sen. Dorsey Ridley, D-Louisville, Sen. Gerald Neal, D-Louisville, along with Metro Louisville Councilwomen Vicki Aubrey Welch and Marianne Butler.