I am a native Kentuckian who was born in 1952, the year after my parents, who met in the Navy during World War II, had moved to Allen County. Both were educators early in their professional careers, but they switched to farming when they arrived in Kentucky.
Their land has always been a central part of my life. My earliest memories are of my younger brother and me playing outside while our parents worked, and as we got older, we gradually became part of the farm crew like many others in that era.
Unfortunately, my younger brother Leslie died in an automobile accident in 1972. By then, I was a student at WKU, but I moved back to operate the family farm while continuing my work in grad school and teaching at the university.
Following the same career path as my parents, I left teaching to become a full-time farmer in 1983. Over time, I added more land to what they had bought and still farm it today.
A few years before switching careers, I made the most significant addition to my life when I married Lanna Jo Stinson. She was a high school English teacher at Allen County-Scottsville High School and would go on to teach there for 36 years before retiring.
Our life together has been defined by her teaching, my farming, and raising our children. Our daughter Elizabeth was born in 1986 and had a great school career. Sadly, she died after a short battle with brain cancer in 2001.
Her sister Catherine was born in 1993, and after 20 years of formal education, she graduated from the University of Kentucky College of Law this past spring. She hopes to pass the Kentucky Bar Exam this summer and then practice law in Bowling Green thereafter.
Although I left the classroom early in my career, my commitment to education has never stopped. I served on the Allen County Board of Education for 24 years, and during that time, we renovated or expanded every facility in the district and made sure the curriculum always maintained a high standard. With Janna Jo as a teacher and I as a school board member, we spent years being heavily involved in every aspect of public-school life and did all we could to make sure the students had what they needed to thrive.
That work has helped me immensely as a state legislator. I have a much better understanding of the challenges and opportunities facing both students and school staffs across the commonwealth and try to do all I can to make sure the state provides the proper resources and guidance. A strong public-education system is the foundation of everything we hope to achieve.
My other interests center around the church – I serve as an elder at the Scottsville Church of Christ – the agricultural community, and the Scottsville Rotary Club.
I’m proud that that my fellow Rotarians are providing scholarships to those students pursuing a higher education. Lanna Jo and I also oversee a small scholarship fund in memory of Elizabeth Stone that helps a deserving student attend college.