Ron Leach is running against 6 other Democrats for chance to face Rand Paul in November.
When Ron Leach shaved off his beard a month or so ago, his daughter asked him why. Hearing that he was going to run for office again after his defeat by Congressman Brett Guthrie in 2013, Leach's daughter said "Don't do it Dad. It's a trap."
It's a trap that combat veteran Leach is charging into.
At a Democratic meeting last weekend, he told activists in Paducah, that he is the best candidate to beat incumbent Rand Paul. He will face six opponents in the primary in May: Jim Gray of Lexington, Rory Houlihan of Winchester, Jeff Kinder of Phelps, Tom Recktenwald of Louisville, Grant T. Short of Owensboro and Sellus Wilder of Frankfort.
Leach said that Lexington Mayor Jim Gray was recruited by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, aka D triple C, to run despite Kentuckians telling them that Leach was the man they wanted.
Leach is a retired US Army Major. According to his website, www.ronleach4ky.com, he saw four combat deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan. He is currently working as a physician's assistant in Louisville. His wife is a lieutenant colonel, nurse, at Fort Knox.
The candidate was asked what he would do for the military if he were to be elected.
"First of all - it's a solemn decision when we send our sons and daughters, husbands and wives into harm's way.
Right now, we have the fewest number in the House and Senate with any military background since before WWII. Too often decisions are made with whatever way the political winds are blowing."
According to Leach, due diligence is not done and questions are not asked during the last administration. "Is it an achievable military mission? Will we leave a leadership vacuum that groups like ISIS will fill?"
"Then again, we have the other extreme that our junior senator advocates - there is no room for American power, soft power, hard power that leads to development."
Leach is passionate and knowledgeable about the role of the military and veterans in Kentucky. He is especially concerned about the fates of Forts Campbell and Knox. On the chopping block is the military hospital located at Ft. Knox. When it goes, Leach said the wounded warrior facility will also go.
Leach said that Sen. Mitch McConnell trumpets a new facility at Ft. Knox. "What he doesn't say is that it is an outpatient clinic. We are losing all inpatient care, all surgical capability. "
According to a July 2013 story, Lane Report: Cuts hit Fort Knox harder, Ft. Knox lost its only combat brigade because of military reductions mandated by the Budget Control Act of 2011. The report predicted the base would lose 3500 troops.
Leach says the loss was more like 4600 troops. In addition, the government "spent hundreds of millions building a wounded warrior facility which was the best in the nation. Now we are losing that because the hospital shutting down."
According to Leach, getting another combat brigade will be very difficult without a hospital. Additionally, Leach said that the airstrip at Ft. Knox needs an upgrade to accommodate the aircraft needed for rapid deployment of a combat unit.
In addition to his advocacy for the military, Leach will be talking to voters about affordable health care, affordable education, and a living wage.
The primary is a little over 100 days away. Leach told Democrats "...as that decision approaches, I hope you will consider who has the experience and who is the best candidate to win a general election."