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Growing up on a family farm in rural Scott County, Owen County’s new state representative says he has a personal connection with the people of the community.
State Rep. Ryan Quarles, R-Georgetown, became Owen County’s representative earlier this year following the approval of legislative redistricting.
Quarles was the guest speaker at Monday’s Owenton Rotary meeting.
The son of a farmer and school teacher, Quarles’ first job was following a tobacco setter but he also had the opportunity to shovel a lot of manure.
“I think that prepared me for politics,” Quarles said.
Along with his legislative duties, Quarles also teaches a class on state and local government at Georgetown College, practices law in downtown Georgetown and continues to farm.
Quarles spoke about the tobacco production that was once widespread across Owen County and said preparing farmers for the last of the tobacco buyout money would be an important issue.
“We have to make sure the (tobacco buyout) recipients know this is the last check they’ll be receiving a check and that they’re prepared for that.”
Quarles also spoke out about the Bluegrass Pipeline, saying he was frustrated with the way the company initially began the project.
“Eminent domain shouldn’t be thrown around in a cavalier style,” Quarles said. “Threatening people is a bad way of business.”
Quarles also talked about the upcoming legislative session, which will begin Jan. 1 and run through April 15, 2014.
Quarles said there would be challenges ahead with the session, including writing a budget and what he called the “pension crisis” and the “growing Medicade problem.”
“I pledge to be a listener first,” Quarles said. “I will work my hardest to represent the people of Owen County in this next session.”