Republican DJ Johnson and Democratic incumbent Jim Glenn will meet campaign against one another again in the race for the 13th District state House seat.
Johnson announced his candidacy publicly Thursday at the Daviess County Courthouse, while Glenn filed for reelection in December. The 13th District covers the city of Owensboro.
The 13th District election in 2018 was history-making. Glenn, who has held the seat before Johnson defeated him in 2016, vote the 2018 race by one vote. That triggered an election contest and a recount. Glenn retained the seat after Johnson withdrew from the contest after the recount resulted in a tie and Glenn's attorney made it clear Glenn would not abide by having the winner determined at random.
Even when withdrawing from the contest last February, Johnson told reporters he'd run for the seat again in 2020.
"Why am I running? It's very simple," Johnson told an audience of about 30 people in the courthouse lobby Thursday afternoon. "These are the best times in Owensboro, the times I've been waiting for since I was a teenager."
Johnson said the city is thriving, has low unemployment and described the city as in the midst of a "renaissance."
In a written statement, Johnson said his goal, if elected, is "improving quality of life for the people of Owensboro by providing for their safety and security, reducing health costs, looking out for our children and providing the infrastructure and incentives needed to bring economic growth to our area."
Johnson told the crowd he wouldn't vote for bills in Frankfort that affect the right to bear firearms, and that he would work to fund law enforcement and streamline the process of placing children in foster care into permanent homes.
Johnson told the audience Owensboro has "just began to scratch the surface" of its potential.
"I simply want to represent Owensboro the way it needs to be represented in Frankfort," Johnson said. "With full energy and full attention."
Glenn, who is in Frankfort for the first week of this year's legislative session, said in a morning phone interview that his focus is on education funding, maintaining health care coverage and job creation. Funding priorities like schools and economic development will require lawmakers to "reshuffle" available state funds, Glenn said.
On education, Glenn said lawmakers need to put more money into schools.
"Last time, the Republicans did not give any more money for textbooks, zero," Glenn said Thursday. "Then, we wonder why kids are falling behind."
Glenn said the state also needs to allocate more funds to postsecondary education.
"We are not funding our universities at the right level," said Glenn, a professor of business at Owensboro Community & Technical College.
By not funding colleges, state lawmakers "are dumping debt on our children," Glenn said. "We can't cripple our kids into the future."
Glenn said he favors more people receiving healthcare through Medicaid. Of the money the state spends on Medicaid, the majority comes from the federal government, Glenn said.
When Medicaid is cut "all it does is close the hospitals in rural areas," he said. "... We need the hospitals in rural areas, so we have to make sure we don't knock people off the Medicaid rolls."
The GOP holds the majority in the state House and Senate.
Glenn said he has good working relationships with members of the Republican House leadership, and was recently appointed to the House banking and insurance committee.
"I bring to the office energy and general knowledge," Glenn said, adding his work as a business professor translates to government.
"I bring (the knowledge of) economics; I bring finance; I bring marketing and business management," Glenn said. "I'm still learning. I'm still growing ... and I'm sharing it with other people, and helping them grow in the process."
James Mayse, 270-691-7303, email@example.com, Twitter: @JamesMayse