News Archives - 2005

Thayer Recommends Scott County Resident Charles Dedman to Kentucky Board of Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning Licensing

Frankfort - Senator Damon Thayer (R-Georgetown) announced that, upon his recommendation, Charles Dedman has been appointed by Governor Ernie Fletcher to the Kentucky Board of Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning Licensing. Dedman will be joining the commission immediately. He will serve a term of four years.

"I appreciate the confidence from the Governor and thank him for his consideration and I also appreciate Sen. Thayer's help," said Dedman. "I hope that I can do what I can to help the Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning Industry flourish during my time on the board."

"Charles Dedman is highly suited for this appointment, and is the type of person Governor Fletcher needs to count on to fill these important positions," Thayer said. "I congratulate Charles on this appointment and was happy to recommend him to the Governor."

The Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning Licensing Board is comprised of 8 members representing HVAC Contractors and/or HVAC Business Owners; private citizens; state and local governments. The Board examines and licenses all eligible candidates for entry into those fields.

OR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

August 30, 2005

Senator Damon Thayer To Chair Task Force on Local Taxation

Frankfort - State Senator Damon Thayer (R-Georgetown) has been named Senate chairman of the Task Force on Local Taxation which was authorized by the 2005 General Assembly. The Task Force is the result of Governor Ernie Fletcher's tax modernization bill which made historic changes to Kentucky's tax code. Senator Thayer was appointed by Senate President David L. Williams.

Thayer said, "Cities, counties, and local taxing districts have long complained of an antiquated local tax code that does not allow them the flexibility they believe they need to meet their constituents' infrastructure and service needs. While sympathetic to their needs, I think everyone understands that government revenue at any level comes from only one source: the taxpayers. I have long maintained that Kentucky's personal income tax rate is too high, and believe we should consider this when reviewing any potential changes in the local tax code."

The Task Force is charged with reviewing the current structure of local taxation, including:

  • The constitutional requirements regarding local taxation;
  • Current taxes imposed by local governments including the rates and tax base;
  • The local tax burden in various Kentucky cities and counties;
  • Revenues generated by type of tax, including all permissible local taxes; and
  • Existing economic development incentives available to local governments and how effectively those incentives are used by local governments.

After reviewing the current structure of local taxation, the task force will prepare a report and recommendations that address at least the following areas:

  • The identification of any constitutional impediments to the development of a modern local tax system, and proposed constitutional amendments to address any identified issues related to existing constitutional language;
  • An analysis of the existing tax structure, including identification of the taxes that are effective and those that are ineffective;
  • The identification and recommendation of alternative methods for generating a comparable amount of local revenue, including the imposition of a local sales tax; and
  • An analysis of the existing economic development incentive programs available to local governments, and recommendation of alternative methods for promoting capital investment and job creation on the local level.

Other members of the task force include,

Representative Charlie Hoffman (D-Georgetown, Co-Chair)

Senator Ernie Harris (R-Crestwood)

Senator Denise Harper Angel (D-Louisville)

Representative Steve Riggs (D-Louisville)

Representative Arnold Simpson (D-Covington)

Mayor Glenn Caldwell (Mayor, Williamstown, representing the League of Cities)

Tom Guidugli (Mayor, Newport, representing League of Cities)

Bert May (Representing League of Cities)

Bill Thielen (General Counsel, representing League of Cities)

Larry B. Whitaker (McLean County Judge Executive, representing KaCO)

R.T. "Tucker" Daniel (Johnson County Judge Executive, representing KaCO)

Vince Lange, Executive Director, Kentucky County Judge Executive Association (Representing KaCO)

Richard Tanner (Executive Director Kentucky Magistrates and Commissioners Association, representing KaCO)

Gary Larimore (Kentucky Rural Water Association, representing a local taxing district)

Kevin Leonard (Mayfield Water and Electric representing a local tax district)

Steve Hoskins (Superintendent, representing school districts)

Willie McElroy (Finance Director, Warren County Schools)

Also the Secretary of the Economic Development Cabinet and Commissioner of the Governor's Office of Local Development (or their designees) will serve by virtue of their positions.

Senator Thayer represents the 17th District which includes Scott, Grant, Owen, and southern Kenton counties. Along with being chairman of the State and Local Government Committee, Senator Thayer sits on the Transportation Committee, Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee, and Licensing and Occupations Committee. He is Senate Chairman of the Horse Farming Subcommittee and the Task Force on Elections, Constitutional Amendments and Intergovernmental Programs.

Senator Thayer can be contacted by calling 800/372-7181 or emailing [email protected]

Governor Ernie Fletcher and the Governor’s Office for Local Development announce funding for the city of Dry Ridge

City of Dry Ridge receives Land and Water Conservation Funds

Frankfort, KY: Governor Ernie Fletcher announced today a $75,000 Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) grant for the city of Dry Ridge. The grant will be used for the construction of a skate park.

Funds will be used to construct a 10,000 square foot skate park. The skate park will be a part of Piddle Park.

“Good communities have recreational activities to fit the needs of all age groups,” said GOLD Commissioner Ellen Williams. “Giving our young people a place where they can have fun and enjoy their community, like the city of Dry Ridge, is important.”

Senator Damon Thayer, who represents Dry Ridge and Grant County stated, “"I want to thank Governor Fletcher for providing these funds for the Skate Park at Piddle Park, It demonstrates the Governor's concern for the citizens of Dry Ridge and his dedication to improving the quality of life for the citizens of this state."

The Land and Water Conservation Fund provides grant funds to protect important natural areas, to acquire land for outdoor recreation and to develop or renovate public outdoor recreation facilities such as camp grounds, picnic areas, sports and playfields, swimming facilities, boating facilities, fishing facilities, trails, natural area and passive parks. The LWCF is funded by the National Park Service and administered by GOLD.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 12, 2005

Thayer Recommends Georgetown Native Ryan Quarles to Kentucky Council on Post-Secondary Education

Frankfort - Senator Damon Thayer (R-Georgetown) announced that, upon his recommendation, Ryan Quarles has been appointed by Governor Ernie Fletcher to the Kentucky Council on Post-Secondary Education.  Quarles, a graduate student at the University of Kentucky, will be joining the council immediately. Quarles, a graduate of Scott County High School, is the son of Roger and Bonnie Quarles.

"I am honored that Gov. Fletcher has given me the opportunity to serve the Commonwealth," said Quarles.  "I look forward to representing the students of Kentucky on the Council of Post Secondary Education."

"Ryan is a very accomplished young man, just the kind of person Governor Fletcher looks for when making an important appointment like this," Thayer said.  "He has served as a legislative intern and campaign manager for me, and I have found him to be extremely intelligent and hard-working with tremendous "people" skills. I know he will go a great job on the CPE."

The Council on Postsecondary Education coordinates many of the changes and improvements in Kentucky's postsecondary education system.  The Council is a statewide coordinating agency comprised of fifteen members with thirteen citizens, one faculty member, and one student appointed by the Governor.  The Commissioner of Education is an ex-officio member.

The council typically meets once every two months.

Senator Thayer represents the 17th District which includes Owen, Scott, Grant, and Southern Kenton County.  Along with being chairman of the State and Local Government Committee, Senator Thayer sits on the Transportation Committee, Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee, and Licensing and Occupations Committee.  He is Senate Chairman of the Horse Farming Subcommittee and the Task Force on Elections and Constitutional Amendments.

Senator Thayer welcomes comments or questions toll free at 800-372-7181

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 1, 2005

Senator Damon Thayer Receives Perfect Rating From Kentucky Chamber of Commerce

Chamber supported Thayer's vote on 10 out of 10 high priority initiatives 

Frankfort - State Senator Damon Thayer (R-Georgetown) has earned a perfect rating from the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce for his voting record in the 2005 General Assembly Regular session.  The ratings are based upon 10 bills that the Senate voted on during the session that the Chamber supported as pro-business bills.  All 10 times, Thayer supported the pro-business, pro-jobs legislation.

"I am happy to have earned this rating from the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce.  I have always worked to make Kentucky a state that is friendly to business," Thayer said.  "I have a great deal of respect for small business owners, and I support their efforts to provide jobs and services to our communities.  I will continue to work in the Senate towards creating more economic development and job growth for all Kentuckians.

One of the bills included in this session's ratings was Senate Bill 19, a bill Thayer co-sponsored, known as the "Read to Achieve Act," which will give young students struggling to master reading skills the extra help they need before they fall further behind in school.  The legislation will help educators identify and intervene with children who are having trouble learning to read so that specially-trained teachers can work one-on-one with the students.  Strong reading skills at this age are critical towards future education for our children and eventually a stronger work force in the years to come.

Another bill Senator Thayer worked on that was also on the list was House Bill 278, which  creates a state "mandate-light" health insurance option for small groups, making health insurance more affordable to small businesses. It allows insurance companies to sell basic health insurance plans that don't cover certain treatments that normally must be included in Kentucky health insurance plans.

The Chamber has posted the entire voting record on its website at www.kychamber.com <http://www.kychamber.com>"

Senator Thayer represents the 17th District which includes Grant, Owen, Scott, and southern Kenton Counties.  Along with being chairman of the State and Local Government Committee, Senator Thayer sits on the Transportation Committee, Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee, and Licensing and Occupations Committee.

Senator Thayer welcomes any questions or concerns on the toll-free message line at 1-800-372-7181 or on the toll-free TTY message line, 1-800-896-0305.  He can also be reached via e-mail at [email protected].

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Thayer Recommends Monterey Local Pastor Rev. Tony Watkins to Kentucky Board of Licensure of Marriage and Family Therapists

Frankfort - Senator Damon Thayer (R-Georgetown) announced that, upon his recommendation, Rev.Tony Watkins has been appointed by Governor Ernie Fletcher to the Kentucky Board of Licensure of Marriage and Family Therapists.  Rev. Watkins, a pastor at Monterey Baptist Church, will be joining the commission immediately.  He will serve a term of four years.

"I'm licensed as a marriage and family therapist and I wanted to serve in some capacity to further the profession of family and marriage therapy here in Kentucky, "said Watkins.  "I'm really grateful to Sen. Thayer for making this appointment happen, and Gov. Fletcher for his leadership.  It really is an honor to be appointed."

"Rev. Watkins is well qualified for this appointment, and is the type of person Governor Fletcher looks for when making these important decisions," Thayer said. "I congratulate Tony on his appointment and was proud to recommend him to the Governor."

The Board of Marriage and Family Therapy is responsible for administering and enforcing statutory authority and monitoring the needs of the consuming public. The Board examines and licenses all eligible candidates for entry into the profession of Marriage and Family Therapy.  It recommends appropriate changes in the law to assure fairness and equality.  The board typically meets monthly.

Senator Thayer represents the 17th District which includes Owen, Scott, Grant, and Southern Kenton County.  Along with being chairman of the State and Local Government Committee, Senator Thayer sits on the Transportation Committee, Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee, and Licensing and Occupations Committee.  He is Senate Chairman of the Horse Farming Subcommittee and the Task Force on Elections and Constitutional Amendments.

Senator Thayer welcomes comments or questions toll free at 800-372-7181

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Racing Ahead of the Party

By Michael Jennings
The Sunday Challenger
[email protected]

Damon Thayer Goes the Distance In Politics

LEXINGTON - It's a chill early-spring afternoon at Keeneland Race Course. Beneath the ivy-draped limestone walls, Damon Thayer, a compact, ruddy-faced man in a pinstriped suit, moves about the grounds with the cheerful self-assurance of a man who has spent a long time getting here and likes it now that he's arrived.

Thayer, a state senator whose district includes southern Kenton County, has spent most of his 37 years working his way toward the heartland of horseracing in North America, the Kentucky Bluegrass. He discovered his twin lodestars - racing and Republican politics - in childhood, and his workdays are a testimonial to their combined influence.

At Keeneland, Thayer takes in the first race while talking on his cell phone about a possible television contract for the Breeders' Cup. Then he crisscrosses the paddock area, chatting with horse owners, the general manager of HorsePlayer magazine, an assistant paddock judge, the jockey Eddie Martin Jr., the executive director of Keeneland's charitable foundation and a painter composing a paddock scene.

Approaching Jim Squires, breeder of Monarchos, the 2001 Derby winner, Thayer asks, "What are you hearing?" The two men talk for several minutes about a breeder incentive program that Thayer got written into the tax plan enacted by this year's General Assembly.

With Keeneland's spring meet winding down (it ended Friday) and the Derby a week away, Kentucky in this season figures as center stage for the world of horseracing.

But for Thayer, vice president for Breeders' Cup and Event Management with the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, this visit to Keeneland is just part of business - a chance to refresh contacts that can prove useful to him both in promoting the Breeders' Cup and in his role as the legislature's go-to guy on the horse industry. It isn't even part of his peak season, since the Breeders' Cup, set for next Oct. 29 at New York's Belmont Park, is always a fall event.

"The Pony Kept On"

Thayer, who resides in Georgetown, has followed an undeviating though somewhat unlikely path from a childhood in rural northern Michigan to the paddock at Keeneland. An early lesson in the contrast between spirited horseflesh and soulless machinery started him down that path.

"My parents promised my sister a pony and me a go-cart," he said. "And they came through on their promise, but after about three months, the go-cart broke down, and the pony kept on."

After that, he said, he got his own horse and, together with his sister, took part in 4-H horse shows. He read the "Black Stallion" series of children's books by Walter Farley and "got hooked on horseracing."

His political allegiance also came to him in an early moment of revelation. He was just 9 when he watched a televised campaign debate in 1976 between then-President Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter, the Democratic presidential candidate, and realized he was a Republican.

He immersed himself in books about the presidency and in high school he took part in student government.

Aside from a grandfather who was a small-town mayor, there was little in Thayer's family background that foreshadowed his two guiding passions. His parents ran a machine-shop business, and he was the first in his family to graduate from college.

But his father always told him he would go to college. Thayer attended Michigan State University, where he met his future wife, Carrie, and during summer vacations he worked at the Detroit Race Course.

After earning a degree in communications, he became media relations director at Thistledown Racing Club in Cleveland. After two years there, he married and, at age 24, took the head media relations job at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, home of the Preakness Stakes.

But he was unhappy at Pimlico. The work environment alone was enough to prompt a move, he said, but he also felt out of step politically in Maryland, which was predominantly Democratic.

Moving to Politics

When Bill Clinton won the presidency in 1992, Thayer said, "my latent interest in politics rose to the top again." That year, when he landed the media relations job at Turfway Park in Florence, he and his wife made a pact: In Kentucky, they would get involved in politics.

His first significant political moves came in 1995, when he signed on with Larry Forgy's campaign for governor and was elected treasurer of the Grant County Republican Party. He became 4th Congressional District Republican chairman in 1997 and vice chairman of the state Republican Party in 1999.

That year Thayer took a job with the racing association, and he asked his boss, D.G. Van Clief Jr., if it was all right for him to remain politically active. Van Clief, whose father had held the Virginia General Assembly seat once occupied by Thomas Jefferson, told him he could even run for office if he wished.

"I kind of chuckled at the time, because I really had no ambition of running for office in the near future," Thayer said. But he said party heavyweights, including Sens. Jim Bunning and Mitch McConnell, persuaded him to run for the 17th District Senate seat. He won a special election in 2003 and was reelected to a full four-year term last fall.

Using Horse Sense

He brings to the legislature inside knowledge of an industry vital to the state's economy. Thayer chairs the Senate's horse farming subcommittee, and Gov. Ernie Fletcher named him to an equine drug council, which studies racehorse medication issues.

The state benefits from the varied expertise of its citizen legislators, but "the problem in Kentucky is there really was no legislator really pushing horse industry issues," he said.

Thayer takes pride in passage of the breeders' incentive plan, which assigns the sales tax paid on stud fees - amounting to about $15 million annually - to funds for breed development.

But Thayer wants to be more than just the horse industry's senator. He has "a lot of other philosophical issues that I'd like to continue to advance," such as ending public funding for gubernatorial campaigns, a desire fulfilled by passage this year of a bill he sponsored.

The horse industry and Republican conservatism are a natural fit, Thayer said. As risk-taking businessmen who often operate on a small profit margin, he said, horse farmers appreciate policies that promote free enterprise and minimize government interference.

As a legislator, he said, he has yet to feel torn between the horse industry's wishes and the public's needs. "I believe the success we've had for the horse industry is success for the public at large," he said.

Governor Fletcher signs Senator Thayer's Senate Bill 112:

State Senator Damon Thayer (R-Georgetown) joined Secretary of State Trey Grayson at a ceremony in the capitol last week as Governor Ernie Fletcher signed Senate Bill 112 into law. The bill ends public financing of gubernatorial campaigns. As primary sponsor of SB 112, Senator Thayer lead the effort to pass the bill in the Senate.

"I am thankful that we are finally seeing the end of taxpayer-funded political campaigns," Senator Thayer said. "I want to thank Secretary of State Grayson for his support of SB 112 and Governor Fletcher for signing the bill into law."

Senator Thayer's End of Session Report from Frankfort

Frankfort - The 2005 Session of the General Assembly is now complete. While I have reported to you in previous columns how various counties benefited from the budget, I also want to report to you on the overall accomplishments of the legislature and some specific bills of interest that became law this Session.

I am pleased to report that the issues of greatest importance, a balanced budget, a tax modernization plan, educational progress, increased funding for roads and infrastructure, and improved health care funding, were addressed in a bipartisan manner. Although tax modernization and the budget were among the biggest issues taken up in the 2005 General Assembly, there were a number of other important bills that became law.

" SB 112, a bill I sponsored, ends Kentucky's public financing law which allowed for taxpayer funding of gubernatorial campaigns. Your hard-earned tax dollars will never again be used to purchase bumper stickers or TV commercials.

" HB 278 creates a state "mandate-light" health insurance option for small groups, making health insurance more affordable to small businesses. It allows insurance companies to sell basic health insurance plans that don't cover certain treatments that normally must be included in Kentucky health insurance plans. Small business groups say the lower-cost plans will allow more small business to offer health insurance to their employees and keep some small businesses from dropping employee coverage altogether because of rising premiums.

" SB 19, a bill I co-sponsored, known as the "Read to Achieve Act," will give young students struggling to master reading skills the extra help they need before they fall further behind in school. The legislation will help educators identify and intervene with children who are having trouble learning to read so that specially-trained teachers can work one-on-one with the students.

" SB 23 will help uninsured and low-income Kentuckians receive the prescription medicines they need. The legislation will allow people to donate unopened prescription medicines to a program that would provide the drugs to Kentuckians who can't afford to buy it on their own. A pharmacist would inspect any medicine donated to the program to ensure that it is unopened and not contaminated.

" SB 24 will give newborns better protection from life-threatening diseases by expanding health screenings for genetic diseases. Under the old law, Kentucky required newborn testing for four diseases. SB 24 expands that number to 29, bringing the state in line with American College of Medical Genetics recommendations.

" HB 62 will ensure that the 22,000 women veterans in Kentucky have proper access to veterans programs and services. The legislation will create the Kentucky Women Veterans Program within the Department of Veterans Affairs so that the state will have an organization dedicated to assessing the needs of women veterans, reviewing programs to see if they meet the needs of women veterans and offering recommendations for improvements.

" SB 63 will make it more difficult for criminals to obtain a key ingredient needed to make methamphetamine, a highly addictive stimulant. The legislation will require that medicines containing pseudoephedrine, which can be used to make meth, be sold only in pharmacies. The medicine must be kept behind the counter and customers will need to show identification and sign a log when purchasing it. The legislation also makes it a felony to possess at least two chemicals or two pieces of equipment necessary for meth production, along with the intent to make the drug. The bill will also make it a felony to expose a child to the toxic fumes and wastes created by the meth "cooking" process.

" HB 298 will help prevent the mistreatment of Kentucky's seniors by creating a seamless system in which state and local agencies could work closer together to ensure that elder abuse and vulnerable adult mistreatment cases don't fall through the cracks. The bill will also require better training for law enforcement officers, victims advocates and others who deal with the mistreatment of elders.

" HB 230 will allow high school diplomas to be awarded to Vietnam veterans who joined the service before finishing high school. Similar legislation has been approved in recent years to award diplomas to World War II and Korean War veterans who left school early to serve their country. I sponsored the Senate version of this bill and ushered HB 230 through the Senate.

This was a legislative session of great accomplishment, and I am proud of our efforts. As we prepare for the 2006 General Assembly, please feel free to contact me with your concerns at [email protected] or by mail to Suite 225, Capitol Annex, Frankfort, Kentucky 40601.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 11, 2005

Budget Brings Good News for Grant, Kenton, Ohio and Scott counties

Frankfort - According to State Senator Damon Thayer, there is plenty of good news for Grant, Kenton, Ohio and Scott counties in the budget that just passed the General Assembly.

Thayer said: "This budget is a long-term investment in Kentucky's education and infrastructure. The budget, together with the tax modernization bill, is the first step to a stronger economy for Kentucky. This plan will make our state friendlier to business and improve job growth in the Commonwealth."

Grant County

The 2004-2006 Biennial Highway Construction Plan provides over $31 million for bridge and road repairs for Grant. A large portion of those funds will be spent widening I-75 between Williamstown and Dry Ridge. The entire widening project of I-75 that runs from Covington to Lexington is scheduled to be completed in 2008, according to the Transportation Cabinet. A reliable state road system not only offers safety for the citizens, but also becomes an advantage in attracting businesses to the state.

One of Senator Thayer's top priorities was allocating $750,000 for the improvement of Barnes Road between I-75 and US 25, a project that will increase economic development in the area.

Other important priorities were achieving an allocation of $750,000 on KY Route 36 to construct an acess to the proposed veteran's cemetery, as well as $5,000,000 in additional funds to replace the US 25 bridge south of Williamstown. The budget also contains $2.25 million for new water lines and sewer lines for Grant County. The House budget did not include any money for water and sewer, but Senator Thayer was able to insert it in the Senate, and final, version of the budget.

Over $360,000 is provided from the County Road Aid fund for Grant County roads. In addition, the Municipal Road Aid Fund will also provide the following cities funds for improvements to city streets and sidewalks: Crittenden-$31,755.38, Dry Ridge-$26,385.66, Williamstown-$42,679.97, Corinith-$2,393.89.

The Senate, which has a proven record of improving education and accountability, will increase base school funding by $52.5 million in the 2005-06 fiscal year. For Grant County, this means an additional $900,000 in SEEK funding.

Kenton County

The 2004-2006 Biennial Highway Construction Plan provides over $70 million for bridge and road repairs for Kenton. Included in this is a $2.5 million commitment to enact the Brent Spence Bridge Congestion Relief Project. A reliable state road system not only offers safety for the citizens, but also becomes an advantage in attracting businesses to the state.

Other projects include $35,000,000 for the next phase of development for the reconstruction of Taylor Mill Road from I-275 to Hands Pike; $18,000,000 for the construction of a new stretch of Madison Road(KY-17)in Independence; and $9,440,000 for the widening of 12th Street in Covington.

In addition to those funds, $220,000 is provided from the County Road Aid fund for Kenton County roads. The Municipal Road Aid Fund will also provide the following cities funds for improvements to city streets and sidewalks Bellevue-$85,703.81, Crescent Springs-$51,991.00, Crestview Hills-$38,209.62, Covington-$573,607.14, Edgewood- $124,323.43, Elsmere-$107,645.57, Erlanger-$220,555.05, Ft. Mitchell-$106,984.28, Ft. Wright-75,136.32, Independence-$198,150.38, Lakeside Park-$37,945.10, Ludlow-$58,312.98, Park Hills-$39,373.49, Taylor Mill-$91,430.62, Villa Hills-$105,119.43.

The budget also contains $1 million in funds for new water lines and water hauling stations for southern Kenton County in Senator Thayer's district.

The Senate, which has a proven record of improving education and accountability, will increase base school funding by $52.5 million in the 2005-06 fiscal year. For Kenton County, this means an additional $3.5 million in SEEK (Supports for Education Excellence in Kentucky) funding.

Owen County

The 2004-2006 Biennial Highway Construction Plan provides over $6.5 million for road repairs for Owen. A large portion of those funds will be spent widening KY Route 22 between Owenton and the new Owen County High School. This is a critical safety and traffic flow project and, pending any potential setbacks, is scheduled for completion this year, according to the Transportation Cabinet.

Over $390,000 is provided from the County Road Aid fund for Owen County roads. In addition, the Municipal Road Aid Fund will also provide the following cities funds for improvements to city streets and sidewalks: Owenton-$18,344.32, Monterey-$2,208.72, and Gratz-$1,177.10.

The budget also contains $1.9 million in funds for new water lines and sewer repairs in Owen, including $893,000 for the Peaks Mill Water District. There is also $750,000 earmarked for Owen County's Fiscal Court to extend water lines, and $300,000 to the City of Owenton for other extensions. It should be noted that the House version of the budget did not include money for any of these items for Owen County, but Senator Thayer was able to insert them into the Senate, and final, versions of the budget.

The Senate, which has a proven record of improving education and accountability, will increase base school funding by $52.5 million in the 2005-06 fiscal year. For Owen County, this means an additional $400,000 in SEEK funding.

Scott County

The 2004-2006 Biennial Highway Construction Plan provides over $25 million for bridge and road repairs for Scott. A large portion of those funds will be spent widening US-62 near Georgetown. A reliable state road system not only offers safety for the citizens, but also becomes an advantage in attracting businesses to the state.

In an effort to move up the construction of the Northwest US 460 Bypass, Sen. Thayer has secured $11,000,000 from the state budget just for this single project. Right of way and utilities acquisition is now scheduled to begin this summer.

Also included in the budget is $9,000,000 for a widening project that will expand a portion of Route 62 (Paynes Depot Road) from US 460 to Interstate 64. This will result in the elimination of the infamous, and dangerous, "double S curves" just south of Ironworks Pike on Route 62.

The budget also contains $2.1 million for water and sewer infrastructure. This includes $1.1 million for the Scott County Reservoir Project and $1 million for sewer project in the Etterwood Subdivision of Georgetown.

Over $361,000 is provided from the County Road Aid fund for Scott County roads. In addition, the Municipal Road Aid Fund will also provide the following cities funds for improvements to city streets and sidewalks: Georgetown-$239,124.21, Sadieville-$3,478.41, and Stamping Ground-$7,485.86.

The Senate, which has a proven record of improving education and accountability, will increase base school funding by $52.5 million in the 2005-06 fiscal year. For Scott County, this means an additional $1.6 million in SEEK funding.

Overall

Student financial aid will reach its highest level ever: $389 million over the next two budget years. The legislature also passed a 3% salary increase for all teachers and state employees.

Funding for local jails was also addressed. Some county jails are finding it difficult to operate within their budgets due to the increase in inmates. The budget provides General Fund support to increase the rate paid to local jails to house state inmates by $4 per day.

The House, Governor, and Senate are all in agreement that Medicaid is a major concern and all have worked together to strengthen the program and continue coverage of current eligibles. The Senate provides for more than $4.3 billion to serve over 700,000 eligibles in each fiscal year. They also provide more than $1 billion in additional funds ($253 million from the General Fund) to Medicaid benefits over the biennium to partially cover the Medicaid deficit.

"I'm very happy that I was able to help my district receive more infrastructure investments than it has seen in a long time," said Thayer. "Our counties are growing so rapidly, and with these additional investments, the economy will continue to prosper."

Sen. Thayer Champions Provisions Through the Senate, Helps State Senate Pass Governor Fletcher's Tax Modernization Plan

March 1, 2005

Late last night, February 28th, the Kentucky State Senate passed Gov. Fletcher's Jobs for Kentucky Plan (tax modernization) by a vote of 37-0. The two horse industry provisions backed by KEEP remain in the bill. One provision is a breeder incentive plan which would benefit all breeds. The second provision removes the requirement that non-resident purchasers, who purchase a horse less than two years old, must remove the horse from the state in order to be exempt from state sales tax. Senator Damon Thayer championed the provisions through the Senate, and left us a message at 11:00 last night when the bill passed in the Senate.

The tax modernization bill will now go into Conference Committee where disagreements over specific provisions will be negotiated. So far, there has not been disagreement over the horse industry provisions. Therefore, we remain cautiously optimistic that the provisions will survive Conference Committee and become law.

We will keep you posted as additional events unfold.

New Articles Posted covering the bill's passage at:
http://horseswork.com#News

Thank You,
Kentucky Equine Education Project
[email protected]
http://www.horseswork.com
Toll Free 866-771-KEEP
Monthly Newsletter - http://www.horseswork.com/newsletter/newsletter_0205.pdf

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 1, 2005

Senator Thayer Helps Secure $25,000 Grant for Ryland Heights

Governor's Office for Local Development announced the funds late last week

Frankfort - State Senator Damon Thayer (R-Georgetown), Chairman of the State and Local Government Committee, announced that Ryland Heights will receive $25,000 in grant money from the Recreational Trail Fund for a local area development project.

Senator Thayer explained that the money will be used to build a Public Multiple-Use Trail around the Licking River area. This trail, the first of its kind in Kenton County, will be used for walking, hiking and horseback riding.

"I am pleased that these much needed funds could finally be secured for Ryland Heights," Senator Thayer said. "This project has been a long-time priority for Mayor Robert Miller and the entire city of Ryland Heights."

Mayor Miller was very excited after hearing news of the grant and was thankful to both the Governor's Office for Local Development and to Senator Thayer. He hopes the project will bring in more tourism for the city.

"We have been planning this project for five years and are ready to get started," Mayor Miller said. "This project will not only have a multiple use trail, but also a picnic area and will identify historic trees growing around the trail."

Senator Thayer represents the 17th District which includes Kenton County. He welcomes any questions or concerns on the toll-free message line at 1-800-372-7181 or on the toll-free TTY message line, 1-800-896-0305. He can also be reached via e-mail at [email protected]

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 10, 2005

Telling the Truth About the Kentucky Prepaid Tuition Program (KAPT)

To the Editor: There has been a great deal of misinformation regarding funding for the Kentucky Prepaid Tuition Program (KAPT), a program that was supposed to allow Kentucky parents to purchase college tuition by creating an investment pool managed by State Treasurer Jonathan Miller.

Several self-serving Frankfort politicians have accused the Senate of staging an "illegal raid" on $13.7 million transferred to the KAPT program earlier this year. First, these career politicians alleged the Senate was using the money to pay for a new basketball facility at the University of Kentucky. When that was proven to be untrue, these same disingenuous politicians said the Senate was using the money to balance the state budget.

There is one simple truth everyone needs to understand, KAPT is a ticking financial time-bomb. From records available on the KAPT website, it's clear there will never been enough investment income to cover the ever growing costs of KAPT. State Treasurer Jonathan Miller continues to confuse the 9,000 Kentucky families enrolled in KAPT by insisting their investments are backed by Kentucky's "Unclaimed Property Fund." There's only one problem, there is no stand-alone "unclaimed property fund" controlled by the State Treasurer. The unclaimed property fund is really part of the larger "general fund" state government uses to pay its bills.

Miller's unfounded attack on the Senate is made all the worse because he has actually taken investment income from KAPT to pay for television ads promoting his political future.

I understand families are concerned with how to pay for their children's college education. That's why I support expanding the needs based scholarships Kentucky already has in place. Let me assure you, the goal of the entire General Assembly is to ensure that the KAPT program is fiscally sound now, and in the future. However, the college education of young Kentuckians, and the health of the general fund should not be placed into jeopardy simply to provide Jonathan Miller with a way to promote his political ambitions.

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Sen. Thayer's Horse Breeders' Incentives Pass Legislature; Passes as part of governor's tax modernization bill

Frankfort - State Senator Damon Thayer (R-Georgetown) announced today that the Senate and House passed Governor Ernie Fletcher's tax modernization and budget bills. House Bill 272, the tax modernization plan, includes a provision that would create a breeders' incentive plan in the state by diverting taxes from the general fund to three breeding incentive funds to be administered by the Kentucky Horse Racing Authority. It now moves to the governor, where upon his signature, will become law.

Senator Thayer visited with the governor last November and asked that he include this provision in the tax modernization plan.

"I am grateful to Governor Fletcher for his commitment to Kentucky's top agricultural industry," Senator Thayer said. "This incentive for the horse breeders will help Kentucky retain its position as the Horse Capital of the World."

The provision assigns the sales tax paid on breeding fees to breed development funds for the horse industry. These funds could attract new business and sustain existing business in Kentucky's horse industry.

The stud fee sales tax generates approximately $15 million annually. The Kentucky Thoroughbred Breeders' Incentive Fund will receive 80 percent,
with 13 percent assigned to the Kentucky Standardbred Breeders' Incentive Fund and 7 percent to the Kentucky Horse Breeders' Incentive
Fund for all other breeds. The funds will begin accruing on July 1, and the program is scheduled to begin on Jan. 1, 2006. The Kentucky Horse Racing Authority will promulgate administrative regulations that will govern the criteria for and implementation of the funds.

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Thayer's Bill to End Taxpayer Funding of Campaigns Passes Senate

Frankfort - We are now more than halfway through the 2005 session of the General Assembly and have already passed over 90 Senate bills. The Senate continues to address important issues, including improving education, health care, safety and government efficiency.

The Senate took up a high-profile issue last week, passing legislation to ensure that taxpayer dollars aren't spent on gubernatorial campaigns. Senate Bill 112, which came out of the State and Local Committee which I chair, eliminates the campaign finance measure lawmakers approved in 1992 to let candidates for governor receive public funds to cover some of their campaign expenses.

As primary sponsor of this bill, I am proud of its passage with only two dissenting votes. It stops welfare for politicians so your tax dollars can now be spent on more important things, such as Medicaid or teacher salaries, instead of bumper stickers and yard signs.

You might recall this issue became a sticking point in the 2002 budget negotiations. Those who opposed including money in the budget for the public financing system prevailed when the budget was approved in 2003. However, the statutes that lay out the framework for the system are still in our law books. If Senate Bill 112 becomes law, those statutes would be removed and lawmakers won't have to revisit this issue every time we approve a budget. Most importantly, a future General Assembly would not be able to use taxpayer dollars to fund political campaigns.

With only 12 legislative days remaining, we will be focused on not only the budget, but also on the House's tax modernization plan. I'm hopeful that we will pass a budget that reflects the 17th district's needs and values. If you have any questions or concerns, please call me on the toll-free message line at 1-800-372-7181 or on the toll-free TTY message line, 1-800-896-0305. I can also be reached via e-mail at [email protected]

February 11, 2005

Senator Thayer's Feb. 7-11 Report from Frankfort

Frankfort - This week saw the Senate confronting a number of important issues. We passed an early reading intervention bill, a newborn screening bill, a bill to combat methamphetamine abuse, and a bill to implement a cancer drug repository, among other bills. In addition, the Senate honored Vietnam veterans with Senate Bill 82 in an unanimous vote.

Honorably-discharged veterans who left high school early to serve in the military during the Vietnam War will now be eligible to receive their high school diplomas with SB 82 which I sponsored. Similar legislation has already been approved in recent years for World War II and Korean conflict veterans.

Senate Bill 19, the Governor's Read-to-Achieve Initiative, also passed the Senate with bipartisan support. This legislation creates the framework that will enable all students to read at grade level by the end of the primary program. I co-sponsored this important piece of legislation because the ability to read is critical to lifelong learning. This proven program will help struggling readers.

Senate Bill 24 provides the funding for the expanded testing of newborns for 22 additional diseases. This legislation will help catch often fatal disorders so they can be treated early. Early detection can and does save babies' lives.

Senate Bill 63 will combat methamphetamine production. This legislation is important to not only protect children from being exposed to the poisonous production of this heinous drug but also make it more difficult to buy the essential ingredient necessary to manufacture it.

Senate Bill 23 creates a voluntary prescription drug repository program that will support the donation of unused prescription drugs or supplies needed to administer the drug to needy citizens. This will provide invaluable help to those people who are in desperate need of medications but are unable to afford them.

On the budget front, the Senate Appropriations and Revenue Committee is continuing to meet to discuss the state's needs. The House of Representatives is currently looking at the budget proposal and should be sending us their proposition by the late next week. I will then have a chance to make sure that the budget reflects the 17th district's values.

This is an important time in Frankfort. Please do not hesitate to call, write, or email me. I want to know what your priorities are.

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Thayer Recommends Local Businesswoman Becky Jordan to Kentucky Horse Park Commission

February 11, 2005

Frankfort - Senator Damon Thayer (R-Georgetown) announced that, upon his recommendation, local businesswoman Becky Jordan has been appointed by Governor Ernie Fletcher to the Kentucky Horse Park Commission. Ms. Jordan, an insurance agent, will be joining the commission immediately. At a November meeting with the Governor, Senator Thayer suggested Jordan as a strong Scott County voice on the Horse Park Commission. Ms. Jordan will serve a term of four years.

Thayer announced, "Scott County benefits tremendously from the Kentucky Horse Park. Visitors to the Park eat in our restaurants, shop in our stores, and stay at our hotels. Becky Jordan is an accomplished horsewoman, business owner, and community leader who is already involved with the Kentucky Horse Park Foundation. She will provide a needed voice for Scott County and the Commission, and will serve Kentucky admirably. I appreciate Governor Fletcher appointing her."

Jordan stated, "I'm thrilled and delighted. The Kentucky Horse Park is my very favorite place in the Bluegrass and I want to do everything possible to make sure visitors' appreciation of the Park and our state grows. I want to thank Senator Thayer for his recommendation and Governor Fletcher for appointing me."

The Kentucky Horse Park Commission is charged with providing broad management expertise and direction in the operation of the Kentucky Horse Park as well as representing the diverse interests of the Kentucky horse industry. The commission meets quarterly.

Senator Thayer represents the 17th District which includes Scott County. Along with being chairman of the State and Local Government Committee, Senator Thayer sits on the Transportation Committee, Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee, and Licensing and Occupations Committee. He is Senate Chairman of the Horse Farming Subcommittee.

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January 25, 2005

Senator Thayer Focuses on Education

Frankfort - Senator Damon Thayer (R-Georgetown) will be focusing on education in the 2005 Session. He has already co-sponsored Senate Bill (SB) 19, the Read to Achieve Bill, and is researching similar legislation for mathematics. Further, as the newly appointed chairman of the influential State and Local Government Committee, he oversees legislation regarding teacher health care benefits and pensions.

"Education is the basis for a strong society," Thayer stated, "A better educated workforce builds stronger families and prosperous communities."

SB 19 is a comprehensive schoolwide reading program. It will provide diagnostic reading assessment and intervention services to struggling students. "Read to Achieve" requires ongoing assessment that identifies struggling readers against established performance levels in the essential components of reading: phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension. It passed the Senate last year but stalled in the House.

Thayer explained, "Studies have shown that when children are struggling with academics, the earlier we can intervene, the higher the chance of success. "Read to Achieve" is an important component in improving literacy." He continued, "Math learning is another area we should study and be prepared to act on."

Bills pertaining to state employees, including teachers, are under the jurisdiction of the State and Local Government Committee.

"One of the committee's roles is to be a watchdog to ensure that teachers are treated equitably," Thayer said.

Senator Thayer represents the 17th District, which includes Grant, Kenton, Owen, and Scott counties. He welcomes any comments or questions toll free at 800-372-7181.

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Breed Development Plan Gains in Kentucky
by Tom LaMarra, The Blood-Horse
Last Updated: 1/23/2005 1:49:49 PM

Kentucky State Sen. Damon Thayer.
Associated Press

Language that would authorize two breed development funds and eliminate a tax on the sale of yearlings and 2-year-olds in Kentucky has been delivered to Republican Gov. Ernie Fletcher for possible inclusion in a tax modernization plan that could be unveiled in early February.

Republican Sen. Damon Thayer, an executive with the National Thoroughbred Racing Association and Breeders' Cup, proposed the measures. Thayer said he was approached by Kentucky Commerce Secretary Jim Host and asked to provide language for consideration in the Fletcher plan.

The measure would create two funds: the Kentucky Thoroughbred Breeders Incentive Fund and the Kentucky Horse Breeders Incentive Fund. Money currently collected through a tax on stud fees--about $15 million a year--would be deposited into the breeding funds instead of the state's general fund.

"Hopefully, it will be included in the governor's tax plan," Thayer told The Blood-HorseJan. 21.

Thayer, who co-chairs the state Interim Joint Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources Subcommittee on Horse Farming, said the Thoroughbred breed incentive fund would be for Thoroughbreds only, and the other fund for all other breeds. According to the Legislative Research Commission, the stud-fee tax on Thoroughbreds generates about $14 million a year, while other breeds produce about $1 million a year.

If the language were included in the Fletcher document, the money would begin to accrue July 1. The actual programs would commence Jan. 1, 2006. Thayer said he is working on legislation that would create two boards that would make recommendations to the Kentucky Horse Racing Authority on how the funds should be structured.

"The funds would be administered by the KHRA," Thayer said. "I believe that matches up with the mandate the governor gave the authority to help with the economic development of the horse industry. The two boards would make recommendations to the authority on how to determine eligibility, implementation, and awards for the programs."

Thayer said he'd like to see a provision that would require mares bred in Kentucky to remain in the state until they foal in order for the foal to be eligible for fund benefits. He said that would generate revenue for farms because they'd have more boarders.

Development of a breed development scheme is one of the legislative objectives of the Kentucky Equine Education Project, a multi-breed organization that seeks to educate the public and legislators on the importance of the horse industry to the state's economy. Thayer said he planned to meet with KEEP officials in early February to discuss a suggestion that some money from the Thoroughbred fund go to the general horse fund to encourage growth of other breeds.

Currently, Kentucky's incentive program consists of the Kentucky Thoroughbred Development Fund, which provides about $9 million a year in purse supplements for owners. The money goes toward purses for maiden special weight events, allowance events, and stakes.

The sales tax on yearlings and 2-year-olds generates $300,000 to $500,000 a year, Thayer said. The tax in effect provides an incentive for people to take horses out of Kentucky, something that flies in the face of the purpose of a breed development program.

"It's a detriment to the economic development of the industry in Kentucky," Thayer said. "We have plenty of good training centers that are being denied the opportunity to train and break these 2-year-olds."

Not in the mix, at least right now, is elimination of a tax on feed, fencing, and farm equipment that generates about $9 million a year.

"We'll look at that tax at some point. The total package isn't politically feasible at this time, but it remains a priority," Thayer said.

Copyright © 2005 The Blood-Horse, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Senator Thayer Lands Transportation Committee Seat

Frankfort - Senate President David L. Williams (R-Burkesville) announced recently that Senator Damon Thayer (R-Georgetown) has been selected to sit on the influential Transportation Committee, the Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee, and the Licensing, Occupations and Administrative Regulations Committee.

"I feel privileged to have been chosen to sit on the Transportation Committee," Senator Thayer said. "Being able to give my district an even stronger voice during the committee's decision-making process and ensuring that the state has an updated transportation system, will improve the economic outlook for Kentucky and its citizens."

The Transportation Committee oversees issues affecting the construction and maintenance of the state highway system, and state aid for local roads and streets. It also reviews matters dealing with the state police and the Federal Highway Safety Law.

As previously announced, Senator Thayer will be chairman of the State and Local Government Committee, which oversees legislation affecting the sovereignty and jurisdiction of the Commonwealth. As committee chair, he plays an active role in setting and controlling the agenda for committee meetings and the legislative session.

The Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee covers issues associated with crops, livestock, poultry, and their marketing; disease control; and warehousing. It also deals with subjects that would uniquely involve small businesses.

The Licensing, Occupations and Administrative Regulations Committee oversees subjects pertaining to professional licensing, the chambers of commerce, business development and racing.

"All of these assignments will enable me to serve my district better," Senator Thayer said.

Additionally, Senator Thayer will serve as Senate Chairman of the Task Force on Elections, Constitutional Amendments and Intergovernmental Affairs and of the Subcommittee on Horse Farming.

Senator Thayer represents the 17th District, which includes Grant, southern Kenton, Owen and Scott counties. He welcomes comments or questions toll free at 800-372-7181.

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NORTHERN KENTUCKY SENATORS GAIN CLOUT - THAYER, ROEDING GET PANEL SEATS

By Patrick Crowley
Enquirer staff writer

Two of Northern Kentucky's Republican state senators have staked out positions on influential committees that oversee constitutional amendments and road funding.

GOP leadership has tapped Sen. Damon Thayer, R-Georgetown, to chair the State and Local Government Committee. Among other responsibilities, it handles putting constitutional amendments on the ballot.

Amendments to legalize casino gambling and to pave the way for medical malpractice reform - also known as tort reform - are two of the hottest issues in the 2005 General Assembly session that begins in early January.

Thayer's committee will oversee the bills in the Senate. He predicts the amendment on medical malpractice, which could lead to a cap on jury damages, will make it out of committee.

But Thayer said he does not expect any gambling legislation to be voted on next year. Typically in Frankfort, committee chairmen, who have the power to kill a bill or put it up for a vote, dictate the flow of legislation.

"The medical malpractice (amendment) needs to be heard so we can send a message to the health industry that help is on the way," Thayer said.

Doctors, hospital operators and others have complained to lawmakers that rising medical malpractice insurance rates are increasing the cost of health care and driving physicians out of the state.

Even though Thayer works as an executive in the thoroughbred racing industry, one of the groups that have pushed for casino gambling at the state's racetracks, he is not optimistic that a constitutional amendment legalizing gambling will be heard in 2005.

"I don't believe it has much traction, and I'm not inclined to deal with it," said Thayer, vice president of marketing for the National Thoroughbred Racing Association in Lexington. "We are in a short session and have the budget, medical malpractice reform and tax reform to deal with."

If lawmakers vote to put a constitutional amendment on the ballot, it would not go before voters until fall 2006.

Thayer's committee also oversees issues dealing with county and city governments, including regional planning, finance and some infrastructure issues. His 17th Senate District includes southern Kenton County and two of Northern Kentucky's fastest growing cities, Independence and Taylor Mill.

The committee also deals with legislation on public employee benefit and retirement systems. Lawmakers passed a quick fix to rising health care premiums in an October special session, but permanent changes are likely to be proposed.

Meanwhile, Sen. Dick Roeding, R-Lakeside Park, has landed a coveted seat on the Senate Transportation Committee, which oversees road funding and construction priorities.

During a road dedication ceremony Wednesday in Union, Roeding said he would be the first Northern Kentucky senator to ever sit on the Transportation Committee.

Roeding said he would work to steer money to Northern Kentucky for road projects. He also said he was given his choice of committee assignments after agreeing to give up his seat in GOP Senate leadership to fellow Northern Kentucky Republican Katie Stine of Fort Thomas.

"Transportation ... was my first choice," he said.

Committee assignments formally will be made in January and last for two years.

EQUINE DRUG RESEARCH COUNCIL APPOINTED BY GOVERNOR FLETCHER

Advises Horse Racing Authority on research, testing

Frankfort, KY: Governor Ernie Fletcher has appointed seven new members to the Kentucky Equine Drug Research Council and reappointed two others.

The governor, by executive order, designated Connie Whitfield of Hopkinsville, vice-chair of the Kentucky Horse Racing Authority (KHRA), as chair of the council.

The council was created to advise the KHRA on research and testing of equine drugs. By law, the council reviews testing research conducted at the University of Kentucky or conducted elsewhere with state funds.

Also reappointed was Alice Headley Chandler of Mill Ridge Farm in Lexington. She represents the Kentucky Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association.

New members appointed by Governor Fletcher:

  • State Sen. Damon Thayer, Georgetown, representing legislators.
  • Susan Bunning, Lexington, representing the Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association.
  • Alan J. Leavitt, Lexington, representing the harness racing industry.
  • Dr. Fairfield Bain, Georgetown, a veterinarian representing the Kentucky Association of Equine Veterinarians.
  • John Ward, Paris, representing a licensed racing association.
  • William Edgar Napier, Versailles, representing the Kentucky Division of Harness Horsemen International.
  • Dr. Atwood C. Asbury, Versailles, representing pharmacologists.

The terms will expire Aug. 1, 2008, according to the governor's order.

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Sen. Thayer's 2004 Election Thank You

I want to thank you for your support in this race.  It was one of the most difficult yet exhilarating experiences of my life, and I am looking forward to getting back to work representing my district.  So many of you helped by contributing funds to my campaign, displaying bumper stickers and yard signs, walking door to door, writing letters to the editors, telling your friends and  neighbors about me, making phone calls and being a part of the massive volunteer  effort that it takes to run a campaign.

Ronald Reagan once said that he wanted to "..appeal to your best hopes, not  your worst fears, to your confidence, not your doubts."  That is the kind of  leader I will strive to be.  Thank you for giving me that opportunity.  Next  being a good husband and father, it is the greatest privilege of my life.
Incumbent Sen. Thayer defeats Wallace
By Courtney Kinney
Post staff reporter

Incumbent Republican Damon Thayer held onto his seat in the 17th Senate District Tuesday, fending off a challenger Democrats hoped would help them win back the majority in that chamber.

Thayer, R-Georgetown, beat Democrat Cliff Wallace with 55 percent of the vote in the district, which comprises southern Kenton and all of Grant, Owen and Scott counties. Thayer far surpassed Wallace in fund-raising, allowing him to send out multiple mailers and run numerous ads on cable and network TV.

Thayer said his fund-raising advantage and early start on campaign ads helped him pull out the win.

"We raised over $300,000 for the race, which allowed us to go up early with our advertising market in both markets -- Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky and Lexington," Thayer said at the Republican victory party in Hebron Tuesday night. "We've been up (in advertising) since September in one form or another. I really think getting out early before the clutter of the political campaign really helped."

Wallace, a former school superintendent from Williamstown, pointed to several key factors. Among them, he said, were money and the coattails of President Bush and U.S. Sen. Jim Bunning -- two popular Republicans that fared well in Northern Kentucky. Another, he said, was "dirty" campaigning by Thayer.

Wallace said his personal cell phone number was printed on mailers sent out by Thayer and that Thayer misrepresented Wallace's stance on the gas tax, telling people in person and in advertising that Wallace wanted to raise the tax. "Can you imagine anything worse than telling people out there that your opponent's for a gas tax?" Wallace said.

Republicans took the majority in the chamber in 2000 and have made gains since then, increasing their lead to 22-16. They picked up another seat Tuesday.

Thayer was seen as vulnerable because, although an incumbent, he won his seat in a special election and has never run in a general election. Thayer won the seat in January 2003, a year after new boundaries for the 17th district were drawn by the legislature. The 17th district, previously located in southeastern Kentucky, was moved in 2002 to the north-central part of the state.

The district's senator at the time ran for re-election in his new district and won, vacating the 17th seat. Thayer beat Democrat Charles Wells handily in the 2003 special election.

Thayer said the strong win Tuesday despite the predicted closeness of the race was a reflection on his performance.

"I'm delighted with the margin," he said. "A win is a win, but to win by 10 points in what was predicted to be a close race is very gratifying. We had a plan, we stuck to it, we stayed on message we laid out a vision for the next four years. We ran on a record I'm proud of."

Thayer won handily in his home county, Scott, and in the Kenton County portion of the district. Wallace won Grant and Owen, both of which heavily favor Democrats in voter registration.

Publication Date: 11-03-2004

State Senate: Republican Thayer wins a full term in new seat

By Patrick Crowley
Enquirer staff writer

Kentucky Sen. Damon Thayer, a former Northern Kentucky resident and local GOP leader, won re-election Tuesday night to a full four-year term in the state Senate.

Thayer, a horse racing industry executive, defeated retired Williamstown school Superintendent Cliff Wallace, a Grant County Democrat, winning 55 percent of the vote.

The district covers Scott, Owen and Grant counties and Kenton County south of Interstate 275, including Taylor Mill and Independence.

The Kentucky General Assembly created the seat two years ago based on the 2000 U.S. Census. Thayer was elected in a special election in the winter of 2003.

Thayer was among the top fund-raisers of any statehouse candidate on the ballot this year. Thayer, the former 4th District GOP chairman and Republican Party of Kentucky vice chairman, raised more than $200,000. Wallace raised just more than $52,000.

Thayer has heralded his work on the state budget, which includes more than $100 million for area projects including a major expansion for Northern Kentucky University. But Wallace said change was needed because Republicans have been unable to pass a budget.

The two also battled over taxes.

Thayer accused Wallace of flip-flopping over increasing the state's gas tax. Wallace said he was not advocating an increase, but said it should be considered once oil prices drop.

Thayer said he would never consider increasing the gas tax.

Both candidates said the state should consider reimporting prescription drugs from Canada for state employee health care plans. State Auditor Crit Luallen has said the state could save $107 million a year on reimportation. She and others have urged Gov. Ernie Fletcher to seek a federal waiver to reimport drugs from Canada.