Over the course of several months, our readers had asked us information concerning those running for State Representative of the 91st district. They were genuine questions since none of the candidates had ever ran for State Representative of the 91st District.
So, we approached them all, asked them the questions, and they gave us answers in their own words. Here they are as follows:
Michal Brent Duncil (R):
1. What is your background, including connection to 91st District? I have been a school teacher for 21 years in Lee County, teaching health and Physical Education for 13 years. I have an accounting Degree from UK & a Teaching Certificate from Morehead & Masters in Principal and rank one in Education from EKU.
I have lived here all my life. I attended school here and supports my community. My parents were both school teachers and I attend church in Lee County. I am a deacon of the Beattyville Christian Church, and a member and a pastMaster at Proctor Masonic Lodge #213.
I am the is the son of Geneva and Charles Duncil of Beattyville. My wife is Candice Duncil, who is also a teacher. I have 3 sons: Dillon,Casey, and Clay, and I become a grandfather, known as "Pap", almost two years ago. I, also, teach Hunter's Ed Classes for KY Fish & Wildlife. I am a 1987 Graduate of Lee County High School.
2. Why did you decide to run? I wanted to better the district which, includes my hometown. HI want to perpetuate the good things, but want to do more things for my district, because I feel Eastern KY is forgotten at times. I want to make it better for future generations. I feel that I have qualities that would be beneficial. I want to get the district back to what it was 30 to 40 years ago when the area was booming. I think he can make that happen. The kids of the community are my emphasis, giving them a brighter future because they are our future. I want them to stay here instead of moving away.
3. What goals do you want to achieve for District 91? I want more job opportunities, and educational opportunities, Infrastructure needs to be fixed. We need better internet options. We need more opportunities to keep children engaged even though we do have a recreational center, LCYS, and the splash park. We need to teach them to be a positive part of society. We need more groups to come into Lee County to help because where we due to our culture and geography. We are some of the smartest people in the country! We need to emphasis on that.
4. What is your platform going to be? I am Pro Trump, Pro Life, Pro2nd Amendment, Pro Christian Values, and I support the working class. I am ProYouth, and am against Red Flag Laws.
5. Anything else you want the citizens of the 91stDistrict to know? IF elected, I will be in Frankfort every time the doors areopen. If you are elected to do a job, you need to do a job. I am not doing itas financial gain. I wants to make a difference in the district by working with local government and any organization that will help our district to prosper and move forward.
Letha Hogan (D):
1. What is your background, including your connection to the 91st District? I’m Letha Hogan and I’m running for State Representative. I’m committed to fighting everyday for my constituents of 91st District. I’m committed to making sure we build a better Kentucky for us all. Your voice deserves to be heard. My focus is on the 91st District. I’m married to a wonderful husband, Darrell Hogan. He is a retired school teacher and head basketball coach for over thirty years in
Lee County. My family is my rock and I’m grateful for their support and love.
2. Why did you decide to run? The reason I decided to run was to make the 91st district a better place to live. I understand the challenges facing the 91st District. These are the things I work for and support: Education, Roads, Jobs, Internet, Water, Healthcare, Senior Citizens, Tourism, Preventing and treating drug addiction, and working with County Leaders.
3. What goals do you want to achieve for District 91? I want more scholarships, construction of secondary roads, better paying job and attracting more business for this area, make high speed internet accessible to everyone in 91st District, make water available to everyone in the 91st District, make sure everyone has a healthcare place, continue to have centers for the Seniors, work to bring tourists and visitors to our beautiful area, and listen and work with County Leaders.
4. What is your platform going to be? I am Pro-Life, Pro 2nd Amendment, Protecting State Pensions, and Prevention and Treating Drug Addiction.
5. Anything else you would like the citizens of the 91st District to know? I am committed to fighting for Kentucky because I believe it deserves a government as good as it’s people. There is so much work to do, but I won’t give up on Kentucky that works for all Kentuckians. I hope you will join me to make the 91st District the best place to live.
Shawn Thatcher (R):
1. What is your background, including connection to the 91st District? I was born and raised in Breathitt County. I have lived in Breathitt County for most of my 43 years. I have also lived in Owsley County just outside of Booneville, up the hill past the post office for 3 years and the Tallega area of Lee County for 2 years. Moved off to Arizona for a few years and lived in the Phoenix area for 3 years for school and work as well.
I worked for Hinkle Contracting from 1999-2006 and I was on the crew that built the Irvine Bypass in Estill County and rebuilt Hwy 52/River Road in Ravenna and Irvine. So, even though I didn’t live there, the people that do know how long those projects took and know I spent many years working in Estill County on these projects.
My sister moved to Madison County when I was 13 and I spent almost every weekend at her house as a teenager. I have a sister, 2 nieces and 1 nephew along with 2 great nephews and 1 great niece that live in Madison County. Both sides of my wife’s family are from Lee County and she lived there until she was 6 when they moved to Breathitt County. Her extended family still lives in Lee County. I have roots and ties all over District 91.
I have worked in the coal fields as a welder, mechanic, heavy equipment operator, I was the load out operator putting coal on train cars headed toward the Ravenna/Irvine rail yard and lands beyond that. Now, all those railroad jobs are gone and even the rail yard is vacant. I lost my job in the coal fields in 2016 and decided I couldn’t take the instability of that industry anymore and decided to open my own business.
My wife and I had a small catering business so I cashed in all of my retirement and invested in a restaurant which we opened in August 2017. Thatchers Downtown has turned into a destination restaurant for people traveling through the area and we host social and musical events.
I have invested in the growth of our communities along with the hopeful revitalization of our downtown area’s and have spent most of my time the last several years promoting and advising businesses and hosting tourism based events in these very counties I hope to represent. When everyone tells me this place can’t change and something can’t be done I go out of my way to prove them wrong. This place doesn’t have to be insufficient and inadequate, we allow it to be this way and that has to change. We deserve goods and good services here just like the bigger cities do. That’s why I have chosen my campaign slogan #wecandobetter.
2. Why did you decide to run? That’s a great question. I have it in my heart to help our community. I have been the Chairman of the Breathitt County Republican Party since 2016. I don’t want to be a politician, never have been, never will be but I wanted to get involved. What I didn’t see happening where our elected officials or anyone that I had heard was going to run ever had a vested interest in our area. I have a different vision of what we can become. I believe the other candidates running on both sides have a narrow minded agenda. I don’t feel they can be unbiased and represent everyone equally. A person with a one sided hard view in things can’t help anyone that doesn’t think like they do. All good honest people no doubt with noble jobs to serve the public but I didn’t feel they represented myself or my views. I have always worked in the private sector and I have never worked for the government. I have had to create my resume and build myself up from a life of poverty. I just feel I see things from a different perspective which is something we sorely need right now. New ideas and new creative thoughts. I have been working tirelessly to build up our community and bring us positive attention. Whether it be organizing festivals or events that bring hundreds of people to our communities or getting involved with civic organizations to help bring awareness to the plight of our area. I have a unique set of experiences and skills that make my actions very organic and fluid and I can work with anyone. I see our community as a fertile bed for investment and growth in tourism and talent seeking ventures. Tourism isn’t the only answer but it’s part of it. People here want to live simply and simply live so we must get some type of employment here, whether it be in tourism or not we have to start somewhere. We need someone in Frankfort that can see our potential and expand on it, see what we do well and build an industry around it. That’s something we have never had in Frankfort. I think I am the only candidate suited to do just that. Unbiased and ready to build a future here not just say I am a representative or to push some one sided itinerary and certainly not because someone hurt my feelings. Preserving our history, we have unique experiences and unique ways of life here in the 91st district that we can build upon while hanging onto our past. We must have vision and the courage to blaze a new path forward and I think I have that vision. That’s why I chose to run.
3. What goals do you want to achieve for District 91? Help invest in the beginning infrastructure to creat a tourism based economy in District 91. Get people working who have talents and knowledge that only we who grew up and live here have. Find a way to share those experiences with the world and let them come visit us. Help provide resources to our counties and work hand in hand with local governments to access what their needs are and help provide them every resource I can find. To be a cheerleader for our community and promote our talents. Seek job related ventures where they are available and help facilitate their locating in our communities. Stop letting our wonderful resources be sent somewhere else to build and thrive in someone else’s community be it natural resources in the ground or our talented people. We have to find a reason to get our young people to stay and build a life here. Our population drain has to stop and having someone in Frankfort who’s whole agenda is to grow our economy and not be partisan to political or religious agenda is in my opinion something we have never had before. We will be an open book to the public. I will ask public opinion on every issue via social media outlets and notify the public of the issues via all means of print and radio as well and vote as the constituents of this district see fit. We have been hidden from the truth and to use my granny’s term treated like a mushroom (fed bullcrap and kept in the dark). Government in Real time with real events, real change and with the people’s agenda not mine. I will be a presence in each community as I always have been not just at election time.
4. What is your platform going to be? I am a Republican Candidate. I am a strict Fiscal conservative. Financially I want our T’s crossed and our i’s dotted. Stamp out Political corruption. I will stand up for and defend voter ID laws. Stand for Lowering taxes as feasibly possible and the least amount of intrusion into your personal life as possible. I believe in live and let live and do unto others as you would have them do unto you. The Golden rules of life and to be a good human being to others. I am heavily pro 2nd Amendment. Pro Life, with the only exceptions for the health and safety of the mother's life. We are in desperate need of Prison and Incarceration reform and I hope to work with other representatives on bills that would presume innocence first not ruin someone’s life because of presumed accusation which happens way too often in the fast paced world we live in. Don’t take that as being soft on crime it’s the exact opposite. I also believe you get convicted for 5 years, you pull 5 years not 6 months. That will be on my agenda. Can we accomplish all of these things, maybe not. Some of it is controversial. I see a lot of controversial choices coming down the line in the near future. You will have to ask yourself do you want someone to represent only go by their own squed view of the world or do you want someone who will get you involved in the process and really truly see what their constituents want on these issues. I will serve for the people and by the people.
5. Anything else you want the citizens of the 91st District to know? The future holds a lot of unknown issues just take our current pandemic issues that we are experiencing currently. Who would have known the world economy would almost stop moving. Where do we go from here? I think it’s going to be a whole new world when we emerge from this. Things will Inevitably change forever. Somethings won’t ever be the same. We need people in official positions who can work under pressure and not fold up. I am working hard to keep my businesses afloat and keep people working in the jobs I have created. I have had to make some hard decisions and growing up very poor has made me adaptable to working with what you have so as of right now everything might be ok but i also have to keep this campaign on track which seems futile at times. Traditional campaigning going door to door is over for the foreseeable future and social distancing is going to be the norm. Hand shaking may even be a thing of the past who knows. (I hope not) So figuring out how to reach people from a distance is the new test. So if you don’t know me or have never heard of me look me up on social media. I have 4 great kids and a wonderful beautiful wife and hopefully they all like me pretty well!! I wear my heart on my sleeve and I don’t pull any punches with people. I don’t tell people what they want to hear to make them happy or to appease anyone. If I don’t know the answers to a question I will find it out and get back to you. I am me and that’s all I can be. I grew up with a strong single mother and grandmother so I learned long ago how strong a woman can be and how to respect that. My mother and father divorced when I was 4-5yrs old and he worked away in the coal mines and lived an hour away so I didn’t get to see him as often as I would have liked but they both worked Hard. Real hard and a lot. My mother had her own business as a beautician and taught me no matter what you get up and go to work and do your job. I was taken in by another strong lady from Thailand that immigrated into this country after the Vietnam War and she taught me how to see that one view of things isn’t always right. She taught me the importance of Legal immigration and She taught me my love for cooking food and my interest in feeding and serving others and treating people right in the process. Strong male role models were hard to come by for me growing up. So I promised myself to try to be one someday and make decisions to facilitate that. I have never been in jail, never been arrested, never been in trouble of any kind. I have never had a drug addiction problem. So other than a few scraps when I was young and a few speeding tickets I have a clean record. I do have tattoos and I have a passion for riding motorcycles. I do feel like I have been a good role model for my kids to look up too. I will fight the world if it's to protect an individual who can’t protect themselves and I feel like my life experiences have provided me with more than enough qualifications to be your representative. I will look out for everyone #wecandobetter.
Paula Clemons Combs (D):
1. What is your background, including connection to 91st District? I was raised here in Breathitt County and my family often struggled financially because of the lagging economy of the late 1980’s/early 1990’s. This prompted my dad, James Clemons, to go to Florida for work during my 6th grade year of school. After seeing him fight to pay the bills and finally return to college to finish off a degree that allowed him obtain a job with social services, I knew that education was my way to a better future. Being blessed with opportunities (scholarships and work study) to earn a college degree, I returned home where my husband and I are raising our three children.
2. Why did you decide to run? Over the last several years, I have seen the supports that helped regular folks like you and me being stripped away. When working people pay more percentage –wise in taxes than large corporations, that is a huge problem. We have no new streams of revenue coming into the Commonwealth and this will exacerbate an already struggling area such as ours. And worst of all, we don’t see enough elected officials standing up for us.
For over twenty years, I have worked within the educational field as a teacher. I hear the stories from families and community leaders of despair and hopelessness that have arisen out of living in poverty. With some of our counties having 30% poverty rates, it is clear we have a lot of work ahead of us.
3. What goals do you want to achieve for District 91? My goals for our district are that we will build a healthy economy that is diverse and robust that will not only encourage our own friends and family to return but attract people from across the nation to also call District 91 “home”.
4. What is your platform going to be? I support
bringing jobs to our counties, working people,
effective prevention and treatment of drug addiction, a Grandparents’ Rights law, healthcare for our most vulnerable citizens, the US Constitution and Bill of Rights including the Right to Bear Arms
5. Anything else you want the citizens of the 91st District to know? What I want for District 91 is to build better communities through job creation, expanding educational and training programs, and ensuring our most vulnerable citizens have access to affordable healthcare. This is why I am running not as the face of a national party but as a lifelong mountain Democrat, someone who believes in our district and its people.
Billy Williams (R):
1. What is your background, including connection to 91st District? I have lived in the 91st district all my life (Estill County). I graduated from Estill County High School in 1985. I attended Eastern Kentucky University where I studied political science and special education.
I served seven years in the United States Army Reserve as a Tank Commander and a Drill Sargent. I was elected to and served on the Irvine City Council. I was an auctioneer with Red Williams Reality and Auction for 29 years. I am currently the Operational Manager of the Irvine Municipal Utilities where I have served the people of Estill County for 23 years: I have managed million dollar budgets of which I obtained the grants and low interest loans necessary to produce water more efficiently for my customers, increased the infrastructure to meet state and federal requirements, protected the public, and the environment. I am a member of the Irvine First Christian Church where I serve on the board, as a deacon, and teach a bible study class. I am a past master and secretary of the Irvine Masonic Lodge #137. I also have served as the treasurer for the Local Emergency Preparedness Committee for the past 20 years. My current hobby is coaching middle school football, and a number of other youth sports in the past. The biggest accomplishment of my life, after accepting Christ, was marrying my wife and having two sons. I have been married to my wife for 24 years, she serves the community as a principal in the Estill County School System. My eldest son attends Eastern Kentucky University studying biology in hopes to be a teacher, and my youngest son is a sophomore at Estill County High School.
2. Why did you decide to run? I decided to run for office because in the current political landscape, I found myself struggling to find candidates that embodied the values of the common man. I wanted a candidate that aimed to improve the communities and create a better environment for the families and all other residents of the 91st district. After much prayer and many discussions with my family and friends, I felt like I provided the best opportunity for the 91st to succeed. I wanted to extend my servitude to all the hardworking people of this district.
3. What goals do you want to achieve for District 91? My goal is to assist the communities, cities, and counties in accomplishing their individual goals. Whether it be assisting with guidance in obtaining hard to find grants and/or low interest loans for projects or protecting interest of the district to promote the wonderful landscapes and people. With decreasing opportunities for the people in the 91st District, I hope to bring business and industry, job opportunities, and travel and tourism to our district.
4. What is your platform going to be? I aim to protect the conservative values of this region by always voting to protect the rights of the unborn and defend the constitutional liberties of each individual in this region, including the right to bear arms. The founding fathers of our great country believed that all men are created equal and that is a value I aim to embody. I want to create options for the youth of our district to excel by way of expanded economic opportunities and increased secondary education. I plan on researching and obtaining grants with the purpose of increasing business opportunities in our district. Another objective is to obtain grants and pass legislation aimed at increasing the number of trades taught at regional technical centers. One large obstacle that our region faces is the opioid epidemic. I hope to combat this epidemic in any way possible in order to reunite the families and communities in our great district. My main platform is to serve the people!
5. Anything else you want the citizens of the 91st District to know? I want the people of the 91st to know that if elected I will serve this community to the absolute best of my abilities. Unlike many current politicians I did not enter this endeavor for personal gain, I did it for you the people of the 91st. Due to the current pandemic it has been impossible to meet as many people as I have wanted to, but I would love to get in touch with you through either social media or email.
Email: B4StateRep91@gmail.com, Facebook: Williams4KY91, Instagram: @Williams4KY91, Twitter: @Williams4KY91. Your support would be greatly appreciated. I will
continue to pray for everyone’s health and safety and ask you to do the same.
Bruce Shouse (D):
1. What is your background, including conneciton to the 91st District? I am a bricklayer and I have work all over state of Kentucky. I have work hard all my life . I was born in Breathitt County I NOW live in Booneville where I have lived for the past 21 years.
2. Why did you decide to run? Eastern Kentucky 91 District is forgotten about in Frankfort. We need a strong voice in Frankfort.
3. What goals do you want to achieve for District 91? I want to try and bring jobs to the 91 District , and better our secondary roads in our district.
4. What is your platform going to be? I have worked had all my life and I will work hard to take our voices to Frankfort to be heard.
5. Anything else you want the citizens of the 91st District to know? I would like citizens of 91 DISTRICT TO KNOW when I am elected as the 91 STATE REPRESENTATIVE, they will have a voice in Frankfort.
Bill Wesley (R):
1. What is your background, including connection to the 91st District?
I’ve been a pastor for about 18 years and preached in many churches throughout our district, which is Estill, Lee, Owsley, and Breathitt counties along with the precinct of Waco in Madison county. I’m a Chaplain over both Irvine and Ravenna Police departments in Estill County, also at the Sheriff’s Department and Rescue Squad. I’m a friend to many veterans and first responders in our district.
I have served and worked with public officials over the years for the betterment of our community.
I am also a Veteran of the United States Marine Corp. As your next State Representative, I’m looking forward to continuing serving all of you.
2. Why did you decide to run? I was pressed to run. And over the years, I have seen many needs and the neglect in our district. I want to make a difference and I will not treat this office as a part time position. People will know who their State Representative is. I want to be part of the change that is capable and is needed in our District for the betterment in our communities.
3. What goals to achieve for 91st District? My vision is to achieve unity with our public officials, for other counties to work together throughout our District and focus on the needs of our communities by helping to establish self sufficient income. Bring grant money in for various programs that will help alleviate economic restrictions. Work with school systems to implement and provide funding for diverse trade education. Working together with Public officials to fill our empty industrial parks and promoting tourism revenue into our Counties.
4. What is your platform going to be? “Our District will not be neglected.” I’m for the people and will be a voice for the ignored. I’m the ONLY candidate in District 91 endorsed by Kentucky right to life, being 100% Pro-Life. Some things are not a choice. It’s the life of a child and I will be a voice for the unborn. I’m a U.S. Marine Veteran and will stand for all of our Vets, Police, and all of our First Responders along with our 2nd Amendment. I will be a voice for the elderly, foster children, coal miners and widows, even behind closed doors. I’m coming as a man to the people that they will be able to trust. You can not buy or demand trust, but it’s earned. And I’m known for that.
5. Anything else you want the citizens of the 91st District to know? I will be a strong Representative for all the people for our District and a familiar face. I will serve the people and pour into our youth. I am well acquainted with hard times as well as successes. These experiences will allow me to represent and advocate for the needs of District 91.
I have taught for years at rehabs in our State and others and helped them in job placement. At my last rally that I held in Estill County,
I was honored that so many came out in support of me running for this office. Many Political Leaders that came and spoke on my behalf; was both Mayors in Estill County in the cities of (Irvine/Ravenna), both of our Chief’s of our Police Departments, our County Judge, a State Representative, a Retired Col. From the U.S. Army, a Deputy Sheriff, the President, vice President of hunter hounds and many others. Not only will others speak for you, but I believe every man’s track record will speak for itself.
As your next State Representative, I will remain a Christian, a Conservative and a Republican, in that order. Thank you for your prayers, vote, support and encouragement. Together we will see a change for the better.