Educator Lamar Allen is running for the state House District 56 seat to improve education, the economy and health care.
District 56 covers all of Woodford County and parts of Franklin and Fayette counties.
Allen, a 32-year old Democrat, is running to replace Rep. Joe Graviss, who is giving up the seat in order to run for the state Senate being vacated by former Gov. Julian Carroll.
Allen, a first generation college student in his family, has a degree in community communications and leadership development from the University of Kentucky and a master of education in K-4 and leadership from Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tennessee.
He is currently a doctoral candidate at the University of the Cumberlands.
This is the first time he’s run for public office.
Allen has been a school leader and teacher for the last decade, working in elementary education, as an academic dean, a STEM teacher, STEAM teacher and more.
Allen has eight key issues he’s focusing on during this campaign: education, pension, economy, jobs, health care, LGBTQ+ issues, equality and gun safety.
As an educator, Allen said improving education across the state is a main focus.
“In order to ensure that our children have the future that they deserve, we need to double down on improving education in the commonwealth,” he said. “This starts with better funding, prioritizing technical career development and ensuring our best and brightest Kentuckians are teaching children.”
Allen believes educators should be included in the decision-making process.
“I will fight to end continued education budget cuts and ensure teachers continue to receive the promises made by our state regarding their pension,” Allen said.
As for issues involving the economy, Allen wants to expand gaming and create an e-cigarette tax.
“We need to pursue and capture funds we are currently losing to our neighboring states,” Allen said.
On health care, Allen supports placing pricing caps on lifesaving medication such as insulin. He would also like to see state health care services expanded.
“Far too many Kentuckians are struggling to gain access to quality health care,” he said. “This only compounds the issues associated with the rising cost of medication and treatment. This is particularly true in our disenfranchised rural and inner-city communities. I will work to create financial caps on lifesaving medication as it is critical to helping every family in Kentucky.”
On gun safety, Allen said he does not want to take guns from responsible gun owners. He would like to see expanded background checks and the ban of military-style assault rifles.
“My number one priority is to protect Kentuckians,” Allen said. “Keeping guns out of the hands of individuals that are suffering from mental health issues and/or have a violent crime history is common sense. I strive to live in a Kentucky where my child can go to school without fear of a mass shooting. Everyone should be able to go to their place of worship or school without fear.
“As a teacher, I've participated in countless lockdown drills. This should not be normalized. If you're not old enough to smoke in our state, you shouldn't be old enough to purchase a handgun.”
Allen is one of three Democrats running for the Kentucky House District 56 seat. The others are Ben Nolan and Bob Gibson.
The Democratic primary is on May 19. The candidate that receives the most votes will face Republican candidate Daniel Fister in the general election on Nov. 3.