Bob Leeper

U.S. Department of Energy

Paducah, Kentucky, is home to USEC, a Department of Energy uranium enrichment facility that operated for 50 years until being decommissioned in 2013. Just across the Ohio River lies the Honeywell corporation’s Metropolis Works, the nation’s only uranium conversion plant.

Former State Sen. Bob Leeper thought it made sense to build on that existing capacity. So he introduced a bill to end the state’s decades-old moratorium on nuclear power. That was ten years ago.

“People weren't sure what they wanted to do with this bill,” Leeper said at a ceremonial signing event for a law named the Leeper Act in his honor. “They did the right thing in my opinion.”

Kentucky’s lone independent state senator says his record as budget chairman is the reason he should be the next state Senate president. Originally a Democrat, Leeper made the switch to the GOP in 2000, before becoming an Independent later that decade. He may be the one state senator who can say he has literally worked with each side of the aisle in Frankfort.