Young will challenge Montell

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By Walt Reichert

Bill Young wants another shot at the state House seat now held by state Rep. Brad Montell.

"Issues are the reason I'm getting into the race again," Young said. "The values that are important to me are not getting addressed."

Young, a Democrat, said the legislature has done little to address the energy crisis, the state needs legislation to require businesses to pay equally men and women who have the same experience and qualifications, and senior citizens should have the right to safe, approved prescription drugs that are imported. Young also favors allowing a constitutional amendment on the ballot that would let state voters choose whether or not they want casino gaming. Montell has said he is opposed to expanded gambling in the state.

"I think the citizens of Shelby and Spencer counties have the right to vote on the matter," Young said.

Young is vying for the 58th House seat, which includes Shelby and Spencer counties. He is a part-time high school counselor, a retired teacher, coach and principal. Young is also a writer. He is currently at work on a book on the history of the Shelby County High School boys' basketball team. Young is married to Judy, a retired teacher. They live in eastern Shelby County.

Better organized

Montell is seeking his fourth term in the House. In 2006, Montell beat Young by about 1,600 votes. Young and Montell will not face off until November. No one else has filed for their seats so they can skip the May 20 primary

Though both Shelby and Spencer counties have Democratic majorities, Republicans have held the 58th district seat for the last 10 years as both counties have tended to favor more conservative candidates, especially in state and national races.

But Young believes the tide is turning, and he pointed to Democrat Steve Beshear's easy win over Republican Gov. Ernie Fletcher in the 2007 election.

"In the past we have been wrapped up in non-issues - what religion someone belongs to or the posting of the Ten Commandments," Young said. " We get worried about conservative and liberal and we've missed out on talking about jobs, the economy, health care, things that affect people's lives."

Young said he also believes that having a sitting governor in his party gives him an advantage. He said Montell encouraged voters in 2006 to keep someone in office who belongs to the governor's party.

"He used that last time; why shouldn't I be able to use it this time," Young said. "I'm poised now to do more for the two counties than Brad can do."

Young said he also has the advantage of name recognition this time and a better organization. He said his candidacy would be backed by the governor's organization.

Young will be on the ballot with candidates for the second Congressional district, the U. S. Senate race and the candidates for president. But he said the national race will have little effect on local results.

"People are making decisions nationally and looking locally at the candidates," Young said. "I don't think anybody can say this {Bush} administration has not been disastrous. It's time for a change."