Voters in four counties in South Central Kentucky go to the polls Tuesday to fill a vacant seat in the state House of Representatives.
The Republican nominee is insurance executive Bart Rowland of Tompkinsville who's making his first bid for public office.Rowland says he's running to help tip the balance of power in the Kentucky House.
"Just like Democrats are doing now. Redistricting is a key example. Somehow they're using their power in the House to disenfranchise voters and try to eliminate us conservative Republicans."
Given the re-districting battle, Rowland fears not much will get accomplished this session. He says jobs would be his main focus if elected to the legislature, adding that his rural district has lost a lot of factory work over the years. The 53rd district represents Cumberland, Green, Monroe, and Metcalfe counties.
The Democratic nominee in the race is Barry Dean Steele of Edmonton. He's a retired dairy farmer and former county magistrate. Steele thinks prescription drug abuse is the most pressing issue in the district.
"I suspected the meth problem was the biggest problem, but I've been talking to law enforcement, and I've found out prescription pills are being abused more than meth,"said Steele.
Steele also wants to help attract industries to the area. The winner of the special election will serve out the remaining term of James Comer, now Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner. The term expires at the end of the year.