Spainhour considers run at state Senate

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By The Staff

SHEPHERDSVILLE - With state Sen. Gary Tapp’s announcement that he would not run for re-election to the General Assembly, Bullitt County officials began to talk about possible candidates for the position.

Tapp threw his support to fellow Shelbyville Republican Paul Hornback in the District 20 state senate race.

There appears to be one candidate in Bullitt County who is seriously looking at making a run at the position.

John Spainhour, a long-time attorney, is exploring the possibility of seeking the Democratic nomination next spring.

The district includes Bullitt, Spencer and Shelby counties.

“I’m definitely interested in the position,” said Spainhour, whose wife Elise is the Bullitt Circuit Family Court Judge.

Before making a 100 percent commitment, Spainhour said he is talking with various key individuals in the district to make sure they feel he is a viable candidate.

“I have a very definite interest,” said Spainhour. “I feel it is my obligation to give back to a community that has given me so much.”

After graduating from Sewanee College and Vanderbilt University, Spainhour has been in the law practice with his wife and father-in-law, Thomas Givhan.

“I strongly feel this is an opportunity to give back,” said Spainhour.

In a district where Bullitt County has the largest number of registered voters, Spainhour said it is vitally important for all residents to come together to elect a state senator.

“I can’t stand to see Bullitt County not get a seat at the table,” said Spainhour.

While Spainhour said Tapp has represented Bullitt County well, now is the time for the local residents to place their first senator in the General Assembly since Jiggs Buckman in the 1960s.

With redistricting planned in 2011, Spainhour said Bullitt County needs another voice in Frankfort to prevent the slicing up of its political territories. Currently, four legislators in the state House represent the county.

Working as a legislative aid years ago in North Carolina, Spainhour said he believes that he has a working of the governmental system.

And in handling cases in each of the counties, Spainhour said he knows individuals throughout the senate territory.

Maybe more importantly, Spainhour believes he can reach across the aisle to all party affiliations. When his wife won her judicial seat, that was a non-partisan race and he was involved in the campaign with all the people of the county.

“It’s something that I would enjoy by being in the legislative process,” said Spainhour, who would still keep his law practice.

The next senator will face tough times, said Spainhour.

The state is in tough financial times and Bullitt County needs funds to perform some critical projects, such as the widening of Highway 44 and the continuation of infrastructure for its growing industrial base.

Over the next couple of months, Spainhour said he would be talking with key people to see if he would be a viable candidate.

He knows the race will be expensive as Republicans will not want to give up the Senate seat. He also knows it will be grueling having to campaign in three counties.

Spainhour said the time is right to make his first political run. He hopes to have a decision on whether to formally jump into the race by late summer or early fall.