Congressional candidate Reggie Thomas hopes to make a difference for students


State senator Reggie Thomas speaks to the crowd about sexual assault on April 28, 2017 in Lexington, Kentucky.

Sarah Ladd

With primary elections looming, state Sen. Reggie Thomas, wants to promote his policies.

Thomas hopes to replace incumbent Repbulican Andy Barr for Kentucky’s Sixth Congressional District Senate seat, but to do that he has to capture the Democratic nomination in May.

Thomas said that what makes him stand out from his opponents are his policies. He said he is an advocate for teacher’s rights, education, more jobs through better infrastructure, raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour, women’s rights, LGBTQ rights and health care.

On Gov. Bevin’s recent controversial statements regarding STEM fields and the humanities, Thomas reflected on the famous stance Winston Churchill took during WWII when he continued funding the arts “to remind us what we are fighting for.”

Thomas said that while he fully supports STEM, he wants to appreciate a proper balance and not ignore art programs.

“I have nothing against an engineering major. I have nothing against a biology major. Those are fine majors,” he said.

But he stressed that he feels that STEM graduates are not more worthy than someone who graduates with a degree in Spanish or theater. He said he is a big supporter of the liberal arts and will fight for them.

Thomas also feels strongly about the importance of higher education and proper funding.

“Our state legislature now has refused to increase funding for education for the last dozen years,” he said. “We haven’t seen an increase in higher education since 2006 to 2008. By the time this next budget rolls around, it’ll be 12 years of constant decline in higher education.”

This year, incoming college freshmen will have been born in the 21st century, “and yet, we’ll be funding them as if it was 1994,” Thomas said. If elected, he said he will work to make higher education more accessible.

If elected, Thomas hopes to work on making health care affordable and accessible for everyone. Though many college students are on their parents’ plan and may not consider this an issue that concerns them, Thomas warned that major illnesses can happen to anybody.

“Major illnesses like diabetes, blood disorders and cancer aren’t limited to people over 50,” Thomas said. “A lot of people in their 20s can get those diseases as well.”

Thomas said his health care plan would allow those young people access to proper healthcare and doctors.

Thomas graduated from Harvard Law School and is an assistant professor at Kentucky State University. He has been a Kentucky state senator for the 13th district since 2013.

The primary election for the Sixth District will be held on May 22, 2018. The General election will be Nov. 6, 2018. For registration, polling and absentee information, visit