Local political leaders react to district shift

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By Molly Haines

Despite losing the state senator and state representative that Owen countians helped vote into office, local officials and party leaders are mostly positive about their future representation in Frankfort.
The plan that rewrites Kentucky’s legislative districts and changes Owen County’s representation in Frankfort was recently signed in to law by Gov. Steve Beshear.
State Sen. Damon Thayer, R-Georgetown, and State Rep. Brian Linder, R-Dry Ridge, will no longer be representing Owen County.
State Sen. Jullian Carroll, D-Frankfort, and State Rep. Ryan Quarles, R-Georgetown, will replace them.
Owen County Judge-executive Carolyn Keith said both Thayer and Linder had represented Owen County well.
“I don’t think being in the same senate district with Franklin County will be a bad thing,” Keith said. “Franklin County still has some very rural areas. We’re still in a very good position and I think Sen. Thayer and Rep. Linder will still be willing to help Owen County.”
Keith said she had enjoyed a good working relationship with Thayer and Linder as well as former representative Royce Adams.
Owen County will become part of the revised 62nd House District, which will include all of Owen County and parts of Scott County.
Owen County’s Democratic Party Chairman Stuart Bowling said Owen and Scott counties lack similarity.
“(Grant and Gallatin counties) are basically the same type of county as Owen County,” Bowling said. “Scott County seems a little removed as far as the same type of representation.”
Despite the differences, Bowling said he felt Owen would still be well represented from both Quarles and Carroll.
“I don’t think it’s up to us to decide individually,” Bowling said. “The legislators are the ones who decide and we’ll go with that.”
Owen County’s Republican Party Chairman Geketa Holman said she feels redistricting in the House of Representatives was an even swap as far as a Republican to Democrat ratio, but Republicans may be at a great disadvantage in the Senate.
“Now the ratio is even more slanted toward Democrats,” Holman said. “I don’t think it’s fair and I think it was calculated.”
Holman said she believed Ryan would be a good match for Owen County, but had little to say about Carroll other than “he’s a career politician.”
“I personally know (Quarles) very well and I think he’ll be great for Owen County because of his farming background,” Holman said.
Owen County’s only Republican-elected official, Troy Bramblett, said he was disappointed to see both Thayer and Linder go but is optimistic about the change.
“I firmly believe we’ll be able to work with (Quarles) and (Carroll) just as well,” Bramblett said. “But the way I’m looking at it, in a sense, I think we’ve gained two more people who are going to help Owen County. I believe (Linder) and (Thayer) will always be right here to help us … I think we’ll be OK.”