Monday, January 07, 2008

Sometimes it pays to read the fine print

This week marks the first of what will be several special elections in Kentucky to fill legislative vacancies, just as Kentucky's General Assembly convenes to begin its biennial budget session.

One of those elections is in central Kentucky, where voters in Bourbon, Bath, Nicholas and part of Fayette counties will go to the polls to select a replacement for former State Rep. Carolyn Belcher.

The party's nominees are Bryan Beaumann for the Republicans and Sannie Overly for the Democrats. Beaumann tried to unseat Belcher last year, while this is Overly's first run for elective office.

Kentucky's ultra-left Democrats are really singing the praises of Overly, who is being hailed as an outsider with fresh new ideas to rejuvenate not only the Kentucky Democratic Party, but the General Assembly and the state at large. As a relative newcomer to politics, not much is known about Overly so the Lexington Herald-Leader did its part to help introduce the candidate to the voters.

Buried in the personal information box about Overly is a key piece of info that sheds a lot of light onto her candidacy.

Overly is married to Michael Kalinyak, who is about as far from being an outsider in state government as Greg Stumbo or Dan Mongiardo are.

Kalinyak was a staff attorney for the agency formerly known as the Revenue Cabinet. Among his mentors were Dana Mayton and Mike Haydon, two Democrat activists. Mayton is a former Revenue Cabinet secretary who went to work for the University of Louisville after the Patton administration ended, but is coming back to state government as deputy attorney general under new AG Little Jackie Conway. She is an Arkansas native who was a political protege of none other than William Jefferson Blythe Clinton, the disgraced former president of the United States.

Haydon is also a former Revenue secretary and close ally of Crit Luallen, who left the executive branch to work for Rocky Adkins when the Fletcher administration began and is now back as Beshear's legislative liaison. He is also the former longtime mayor of Springfield and served as property valuation administrator in Washington County before joining state government in the Wilkinson administration.

Despite his Democrat pedigree, Kalinyak stayed on with the Fletcher administration, serving as general counsel for the Finance & Administration Cabinet until resigning in 2006, reportedly due to a conflict with Robbie Rudolph over the administration's handling of Greg Stumbo's political persecution of the Fletcher administration's hiring practices.

So, that's the kind of political insider that Sannie Overly goes home to every night. So the question must be asked. Is she really a breath of fresh air and an agent of change for Kentucky politics, or is she a link to the same old failed policies and politicians that the Democrats have foisted upon this state for decades without any appreciable improvements or positive results?

It's worth mentioning that although Kalinyak is pictured on Overly's Web site, his name is never mentioned. There is no indication that Overly is married to Kalinyak. Inquiring minds might wish to ask why his name is not mentioned.

Sometimes it pays to read the small print in candidate profiles. These blurbs and tidbits can prove to be very illustrative when it comes time to consider which candidate is really worthy of your vote. Overly's status as the wife of a political insider certainly is worthy of pondering when voters in the 72nd District participate in their special election.

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