MSU student Wesley Bolin announces his run for Congress.
(Murray, KY - January 23, 2014) - Twenty five year old Wesley Bolin took a step today that his older peers dare not contemplate.
He announced today before friends, family, and the press that he will run for Congress, taking on incumbent Republican Ed Whitfield, now in his tenth term.
Bolin, a history student at Murray State University and an employee at the Pogue Library on MSU's campus, used the familiar setting of the library reading room to roll out his campaign. He will travel to Frankfort on Monday to file his candidacy papers. His sister, a student at Centre College, will meet him there to sign his candidacy papers.
The history major emphasized his deep West Kentucky roots. His great grandfather came to Hickman County years ago and settled there. The family cabin still stands. The Bolins hope someday to move the cabin to Calloway County to preserve it.
Bolin compared his last twenty years to his opponent's by saying that Rep. Whitfield had been in Congress for twenty years and had little to show for it.
Bolin joked about his youth. He started thinking about running around the time he reached the minimum age to run for Congress. The decision was made during the last governmental shutdown.
"A fresh face is needed." He said. "Nobody's face is fresher than mine."
The history major was clearly in evidence as he recounted that the seat now occupied by a Republican had long been in Democratic hands. Bolin wants to return the seat to a progressive Democrat. He cited this was the seat held by Alben Barkley who went on to become vice president of the United States.
Bolin is aware of the obstacles. The first is money. Congressman Whitfield has two million dollars in his campaign chest. At his current pay as a librarian, he figured out it will take him "five hundred years to raise that kind of money."
He said he would issue an invitation to debate to the Congressman. That is not likely to happen. Whitfield has avoided debating his last three opponents. His refusal to debate on KET ended a tradition of incumbents doing one debate on public television. That breach opened the door for other incumbents to refuse to debate their opponents.
Bolin supports increased social security for retirees, family farms and farmers, and wants to overturn Citizens United, the Supreme Court decision widely believed to bring big outside money into political campaigning.
Social media will be a big part of his admittedly low budget campaign. Compared to his opponent's 3% small donor average, Bolin's fundraising will be a vast majority of small donors, mostly on the Internet.
Why would a 25 year old librarian take on a powerful ten term congressman?
Bolin's answer: "I got tired of voting between the lesser of who cares?"
If nothing else, Wesley Bolin's youthful campaign will be one for the history books.