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Horne talks education during stop in county

As the running mate for Rocky Adkins seeking the Democratic nomination for governor/lieutenant governor, Stephanie Horne has learned quite a bit about travel and the beauty of Kentucky during her first statewide campaign. She made her first visit to Harlan County on Friday during the final push before the May 21 primary.

“I have found the beauty of Kentucky is only exceeded by the beauty of its people,” said Horne. “I started my morning on Pine Mountain and watched the clouds roll in. I have traveled to Fulton (far western Kentucky) and stepped my foot over the line. I have traveled to Paducah and Ashland and a lot of places in between. This is a beautiful state and we have beautiful people.”

During a tour of Harlan County High School, one of the state’s nicest and newest facilities in its 11th year of operation, Horne talked with several teachers as she walked with HCHS Principal Edna Burkhart.

“It was just beautiful,” Horne said. “I was able to meet the superintendent and high school principal and talk to some of the educators, especially your art and music instructors. I was also able to see a wonderful science lab. Your facility here is supporting what you are trying to do. I’m excited about the opportunities the children of this county have at their fingertips. It is top notch.”

Education was a major talking point for Horne, a member of the Jefferson County Board of Education, during her stop in Harlan County. Gov. Matt Bevin has been at odds with educators across the state for his support of charter schools/vouchers and work to transform the state’s pension system.

“Rocky has a common-sense vision that he has outlined that I share. We need strong public education,” Horne said. “Most of our kids in Kentucky will be educated in public schools. We will support our teachers. They are instrumental in transforming lives. Rocky has that vision and he knows it first-hand. A quality teacher in every classroom is so important and Rocky respects teachers and believes a pension is a promise. We need to make sure we affirm our teachers and honor the pension plan for educators. It is right and what I believe the majority of Kentuckians wants and something Rocky Adkins has been fighting for.

“Bevin wants to privatize public education and bring in charter schools, which are shown nationwide to not work, or at the best be a mixed bag. If you look at U.S. News and World Report, you will see we are ranked 24th in the nation. We are in the top 25 in the nation for public education. Because of the changes that were made, we have come really for. Our funding for public education, when you control for inflation, which you must, is decreasing. He is taking funds out of public education and lowering the standards for our teachers. We need a change.”

The Adkins/Horne ticket, she said, also disagrees with the Bevin administration on health care.

“Good health care is the difference for a lot of Kentuckians,” she said.

While stopping short of making a commitment to expand U.S. 119 between Harlan and Pineville or U.S. 421 between Harlan and Hazard, Horne agreed that an improved transportation system was crucial to the county’s hopes for the future.

“Rocky is very much aware that mobility and getting people in and out of communities is absolutely integral to economic development,” Horne said. “To attract jobs, we must fix our roads and be competitive with surrounding states.”