The four Republican candidates seeking the state representative seat for the 94th District had a chance to introduce themselves March 3 during a forum sponsored by the Letcher County Republican Party.
The hour- and- a- half debate was held at Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College in Whitesburg.
Wesley Doughman, one of two Republican candidates from Letcher County, is a former state probation and parole officer. Isom resident Doughman is selfemployed and a former member of the Letcher County Board of Education.
Legislation concerning child support and joint custody is the main reason why Doughman said he is running for state representative.
“Joint custody is not worth the paper it is written on,” said Doughman, who says he has an estranged relationship with his 24-yea rold daughter resulting from custody issues. “I believe if a man and woman are both good parents, that custody should be switched back and forth.”
Colin Fultz, of Thornton, has a background in construction and coal mining. He owns self-storage units in Whitesburg, Mayking, Cumberland and Breathitt County. Fultz is co-owner of Kentucky Mist Moonshine, Letcher County’s first distillery.
“The main focus that I want to do and my main thing is based on jobs,” said Fultz. “That is what I based my career on, is fitting people to jobs. If they need a mining man or someone to work in a convenient store or whatever, I find that person they need and I put them in that job. So what I want to do with this chance is just the opposite. I want to find jobs to come here for the people who already live here.”
Frank D. Justice II, 54, served as mayor of Pikeville from 2002 until 2014. Then he went back to being a city commissioner. Justice is in favor of Kentucky Wired, a high-speed broadband initiative designed to help eastern Kentucky.
“We need a comprehensive plan that is workable with obtainable goals,” said Justice. “That’s what we’re doing over in the City of Pikeville. You put together government, education, business leaders and draw up a comprehensive plan. You throw out the stuff that isn’t doable.”
Charles “Phillip” Wheeler is a Pikeville attorney who focuses on worker’s compensation and black lung benefit cases. He is a conservative Republican who is pro coal, pro life and pro gun.
Wheeler touts his personal relationship with Governor Matt Bevin and said Bevin had visited his law office during the gubernatorial election. Wheeler has visited Bevin at the capitol since Bevin has been sworn in as governor.
“We need a message of hope,” said Wheeler. “We need to have an enthusiastic representative for eastern Kentucky who can advocate with the governor.”
Fultz said the governor should come to Letcher County and meet with residents here.
Doughman said he likes the governor, but didn’t support him in the Primary Election. He said he was for his good friend, Will T. Scott.
Justice said he has worked with former governors Paul Patton, Ernie Fletcher and Steve Beshear.
“I will know Matt Bevin quite well before this thing is over with,” said Justice.