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Leeper files for judge race

BY LAUREN P. DUNCAN lduncan@paducahsun.com

State Sen. Bob Leeper says his top priority as McCracken County judge-executive would be to "build a consensus."

Leeper, who has served as a state senator for 23 years, filed Monday for a spot on November's general election ballot for judge-executive. He is retiring from state office because he wants to spend more time at home.

"The time away from home, the amount of driving time and being away ... I had enough of that," he said. "If the capital was 30 minutes away like it is for many legislators I might have continued on, but it was time to come home."

Leeper announced earlier this year his decision to run as an Independent candidate for the McCracken County position.

"Basically, I just want to use the experience I've had in Frankfort in building consensus and do that at the fiscal court level," he said.

Leeper operates a chiropractic business in Lone Oak. As a state senator, he has served as chairman of Kentucky's Senate Appropriations and Revenue Committee since 2011. Before taking office in the Senate in 1991, Leeper was a Paducah city commissioner.

Although he said he's not ready to make statements on current issues facing the Fiscal Court, he said one goal is to use his state experience to lead the county in its financial decision-making.

"The main function (of the Fiscal Court) is dealing with the county's budget," he said. "I would use my expertise if I'm elected and try to work with officials at every level and keep moving the community forward."

Leeper will face retired McCracken Circuit Judge Jeff Hines, the Democratic nominee. Incumbent Van Newberry, who was set to run as Independent, announced Monday that he would not be seeking re-election.

Leeper said what sets him apart from his opponent is his legislative experience.

"Building a consensus with a number of thought processes at the (state) level is unique and then the contacts that I have at both the state and local level will help me better the community," he said.

In relation to Paducah and McCracken County leaders cooperating, Leeper said leaders and community members already work together well.

"This community has built itself on a lot of people refusing to do nothing," he said. "From civic club leaders to elected officials or people in their church ... we're willing to get out there and do the work."

Contact Lauren Duncan, Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8692 or follow @laurenpduncan on Twitter.

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