Adam Edelen begins his Kentucky governor campaign in Lexington


Adam Edelen (right) introduces Gill Holland, his running mate on his campaign for governor of Kentucky on Jan. 7, 2019, at the Old Fayette County Courthouse in downtown Lexington, Kentucky.

Sydney Momeyer

Adam Edelen, a former Kentucky auditor, has announced that he will be running for governor in 2019. 

On Monday, Edelen made his announcement in the Old Fayette County Courthouse and introduced his running mate for lieutenant governor, Gill Holland. 

Edelen has experience in various government positions in Kentucky. From 2012 to 2016 he served as auditor of the Public Accounts for the Commonwealth after spending two years as a business consultant. 

From 2008 to 2010 he served as former Governor Steve Beshear’s Chief of Staff, and will now run against his son, Attorney General Andy Beshear, in the 2019 race. Beshear announced in the fall of 2018 that he would be running for Kentucky governor. 

“It’s a new campaign season,” Angela Evans, Lexington’s Sixth District Council Member, said. “We know we have been efficient, we know what we need to do. Now we must resolve to do better and be better. I believe that it starts with the Edelen and Holland campaign.” 

Edelen announced that he would be focusing on things such as health care for all Kentuckians, expanding broadband internet to rural areas of Kentucky, and pushing for the legalization of medical marijuana as a response to the opioid crisis. He also told the crowd that he would be making protecting teacher’s pensions a main priority in this state. 

This announcement comes as a response to current Gov. Matt Bevin’s teacher pension bill back in April of 2018. Bevin signed this bill into action which would take traditional pensions from teachers hired after Jan. 1, 2019, and take Social Security benefits from retired Kentucky teachers. 

This decision received a great deal of backlash from citizens of Kentucky, especially teachers, who spent many days in Frankfort protesting the bill. In December of 2018, Kentucky’s Supreme Court struck it down. 

If elected, Edelen said he’d focus on gender gaps and would make 50 percent of his staff female. During his speech on Monday, he also announced that his staff would be working on restoring the status and funding of the Kentucky Commission on Women. His wife, Melissa Edelen, would be the chairwoman of the Restorative Commission on Women. 

Similar to Democrat Amy McGrath, who ran to represent Kentucky’s Sixth Congressional District in the fall of 2018 but lost to Republican Andy Barr, Edelen has stated that he is tired of the same voices in Congress, from both parties, and wants to change the way government does things. 

“Our government ought to look like our people,” Edelen said. “If we want to truly be a representative government, we have got to go about the business of making sure we look like the good people we serve.” 

A hand full of candidates have declared for the Democratic primary. Rocky Adkins, the minority leader of the Kentucky house and Beshear, the state attorney general, have both also announced their campaign bids. 

It is still unclear if Bevin will run again, however, has stated in the past that he plans on running for re-election. Campaigning is set to begin soon for candidates, while the election will take place in November of 2019.