“Primaries and general elections are very different,” Patrick Flannery said recently as he balanced campaign and career duties.
“I am pleased with the strong showing we had in Carter County, and the other candidate ran a clean race and did well in Lawrence County,” Flannery said, wearing a mask as he took a seat inside his law office in downtown Olive Hill. “It was an unusual race, given the environment we’re in.”
The primary election’s unusual circumstances, with no crowds or gatherings for a local politician to greet people and discuss their campaign, actually provided valuable lessons, Flannery said.
“The primary forced me to get accustomed to the year we’re living in and get a good feeling of how to proceed this fall,” he said, explaining he has tried to attend as many events as he could find, but ultimately relied upon meeting one family at a time.
“I do knock on doors and I do wear a mask and people are very receptive to it,” he said, chuckling at the idea of traditional “shaking hands and kissing babies” campaigning.
“The only baby I’m allowed to kiss is my nine-month old. The elbow bump is the new handshake,” he said with a smile. “I find that if you wear a mask and keep a respectful distance – we want to talk to each other.”
Concerns & Issues
Flannery said residents of House District 96, Carter and Lawrence County, have certainly shared concerns and issues they want their state representative to speak for them on.
“The things on their minds are the same things that got me into the race,” he said, citing Pro-Life and 2nd Amendment concerns at the top of the list.
“People feel the incumbent (Democrat Kathy Hinkle) has let them down on those issues with her votes and non-votes,” he said.
“A lot of people I’ve talked to said they don’t know who their state representative is. They want someone they know and have confidence will be a good representative for everyone. Someone they can talk to when they have a problem.”
“They want someone they feel can get things done. I am best positioned to get things done because there is a Republican super majority in both chambers – It’s hard for a minority, freshman legislator to get things done,” Flannery said.
“The voters don’t know her (Hinkle) and they feel like she’s AWOL. Most people would like to think there’s somebody they can talk to if they feel like there’s an issue for their state legislator. I feel people are accustomed to knowing their state legislators and knowing they can get hold of them.”
“One of the biggest concerns people have with her is that they’ve never seen her. I’ve seen her twice. I’ve only seen her once since July. By comparison, I would frequently see my competitor in the primary. Historically, we’ve had several state legislators who were highly accessible.”
Nation’s Concerns Reflected
National political races and concerns are, “reflected, without a doubt” in local households.
“The presidential race has dominated the news and locally the president is popular. Local voters are not crazy about having someone who supports Nancy Pelosi’s agenda or Bernie Sanders agenda,” Flannery said.
Ongoing rioting, violence and lawlessness are of particular concern for area residents who want “law and order and respecting police officers” as priorities for elected officials.
“People here see the left take extremes, like defunding the police, and they have a hard time wrapping their heads around what the extreme left is promoting.”
Flannery, a lifelong Carter County resident whose family has lived here for several generations, is a member of the West Carter High School Class of 1999, where he played football and was on the track team. He also played defensive end and offensive tackle for four years while studying at Georgetown College, before enrolling at Chase College of Law at Northern Kentucky University and graduating in 2008. He was elected to serve as County Attorney for Carter County in 2010 and served one term in that capacity.
Flannery met his wife, Keri, in 2009 and they were married in 2010.
“I was setting up my office and she was hired as a teacher at Tygart Elementary the day before school started,” he recalled, explaining they were introduced by her fellow teachers. They now have two daughters, Demi, 6, and Brynn, who was born in December.
Story by TIM PRESTON
Carter County Post
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