Two battle for House seat in 49th

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By The Staff

SHEPHERDSVILLE — Two will battle for the House of Representative seat in the 49th District, covering much of Bullitt County.

But the race is shaping up to be much different than originally thought when the filing deadline passed in January.

Incumbent Larry Belcher was slated to be challenged by Republican Trina Summers, a longtime councilmember in Shepherdsville.

However, with the recent passing of Belcher in an auto accident, Summers will face a new opponent on Nov. 4.

The Bullitt County Democratic Party executive committee selected Linda Belcher to run on the ballot.

The winner will earn a two-year seat in the General Assembly.

Linda Belcher

The past few weeks have been a whirlwind of activity for Belcher. A day after burying her husband, she accepted the party’s nomination to place her on the ballot.

But for the three terms served by her husband, Belcher said she was right there for many of the visits with constituents and even some of the workshops. Plus, she was there to listen to her husband’s ideas and goals.

“I want to continue the many projects Larry was working on,” said Belcher. “I feel I have a very good knowledge of those plans and how Frankfort works.”

“I want to finish what Larry has started,” said Belcher.

The retired educator said it won’t be like she is a newcomer to Frankfort. She knows many of the people who serve in the General Assembly and work in state government. Plus, she knows the local officials.

As a legislator, Belcher said she is looking for more road improvements. As a former director of transportation for the school system, Belcher said she knows the roads in the county and know they need improvement.

Other goals are to see that the state work on health-care issues, including prescription costs; full funding for school districts; broaden technical programs; expand veteran issues and make sure those returning from the current overseas battles are taken care of; water and sewer infrastructure improvements; and recreational improvements in the state.

Belcher also said it would be important to repeat an exercise her husband did years ago in getting all the local officials, as well as the Chamber of Commerce, together to get a list of priorities should funding become available.

In talking to the voters, Belcher said she seeks their support as she shares her husband’s philosophies and goals. Also, with 35 years in education, Belcher said she has been in all parts of the county and understands the needs.

She has also been promised appointments to committees her husband served upon in Frankfort.

“Bullitt County has been left out in the past,” Belcher, 60, said of state funding. “People know I am a hard worker. I’m not going to Frankfort to sit still.”

Trina Summers

If anyone doubts the dedication of Summers, she said you only have to look at her campaign.

The grassroots effort the past six months has included a steady diet of going door-to-door to learn the concerns of the people.

And it has been a very rewarding experience.

“I’ve been to their homes and I know their concerns,” said Summers. “I know how to get it done.”

Serving eight years on the Shepherdsville City Council, Summers decided that the timing was right to make a run at the state representative’s seat.

“There are uncertain economic times no matter who wins,” said Summers. “It will be a challenge but I think I’ve proven that I will work hard to find a solution.”

Despite the changes recently in the race, Summers said her campaign theme has never really been altered.

“I’ve continued to talk about my plans,” said Summers, 49. “People have been very glad to see that I’ve made the effort to visit them. Many said they haven’t had a state candidate at their door.”

In talking to the people, Summers said she stresses her experience in government and her hard-working persistence. She is also results-oriented and open minded.

“I do feel like I am the most qualified person,” said Summers. “And I will work hard for the people.”

As the representative, Summers sees herself as the “go-to” person for her constituents who have concerns or questions.

While maybe not able to answer all the questions, Summers said the representative should be the one who is able to direct people to the correct agencies.

And she would like to be the person who would lobby for the local officials on issues in Frankfort.

Having a good relationship with other representatives covering parts of Bullitt County, Summers believes she would be able to work with them to get needed projects.

At the same time, Summers again felt the next session could be the most difficult for legislators with the current economic situation.

She would like to revisit the earlier initiative to get the local officials together to set out priorities on needed projects.   

When talking to the people, Summers said road concerns are the most common. And those concerns include more than simply Highway 44. She said overcrowded roads such as Beech Grove and Zoneton are also on the list.

They are also interested in expanding and improving the county’s infrastructure.

And she said recreational opportunities are also a concern of the people.

Being prepared before going to Frankfort is a key to being effective, said Summers.

“If you know what your constituents want, you can be better prepared and that will make you a better representative,” said Summers.