OWENSBORO, KY – Kentucky State House Majority Whip Tommy Thompson has represented the 14th District since 2003, but candidate Marian Turley will try to change that in November. SurfKY News spoke with Turley on Wednesday to discover who she is and what to expect from her campaign.

Turley, a self-described Ultra-Conservative, has been a registered Republican since the age of 18. The 62 year old Owensboro native holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology from Kentucky Wesleyan, a Master’s Degree in Psychology from the University of Evansville, and has post-graduate hours in Administration from Western Kentucky University. She also currently holds a property and casualty insurance license, working with her husband Dan Turley who has managed a Farm Bureau Insurance Agency since 1971 in Owensboro.

Turley’s work experience has primarily been as church staff. She spent 12 years administrating the Good Shepherd Assembly of God in Owensboro. Majesty Academy, formerly affiliated with Good Shepherd, is a private, nondenominational, Christian school where Turley holds the position of Executive Vice President. Her husband presides over the academy, which was incorporated over six years ago. According to Turley, there have been two times when she has received a salary for her work. The first was in 1986, the inaugural year Owensboro Community College where she worked as a psychology instructor. The second was the year she served as Children’s Director at Good Shepherd

 “It’s been a blessing to not have to have a salary,” said Turley. “Fortunately, my husband has always provided so that I was able to [volunteer in the church].”

Turley has no real experience in politics or government except as an interested observer. However, she sees having spent all her time involved in the church and school, primarily as a volunteer, as uniquely preparing her for the State House. “I was reading just recently about the colonial resistance in 1775, that the ministers, from their pulpit, announced that they considered the colonial resistance, i.e. the Revolutionary War, a righteous cause,” she said. “They left the pulpits and went into the battlefields as well as State Legislatures. It struck a chord with me, and I thought it interesting to move from one arena to the other… I think we are seeing more of that same attitude today. It is still a righteous cause.”

Consistent with her religious, conservative perspective, the conversation turned to social issues and, specifically, abortion. “I’m an Ultra Conservative,” said Turley. “I’m pro-life from birth to death. I believe that life begins at conception, and, if given the opportunity to be a legislator, I won’t consider those issues as political hot topics. I consider them as dealing with, actually, the life of a baby. When you look at them from that perspective rather than ‘Oh, should I touch that or not because it could be politically damaging for me?’ –  I don’t see those bills that way. I see them as anything that would help preserve the life of a child.”

Yesterday, SurfKY News posted a release from Governor Steve Beshear’s office concerning the upcoming Federal Supreme Court ruling on the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The release highlighted the state’s ongoing preparations to have a plan in place, should the ACA be upheld, to implement its own health insurance exchange, lest it default to the Federal Government. These efforts were described by Turley as “totally premature” and “a waste of time and energy right now,” as she anticipates that provisions of the act will be deemed unconstitutional and struck-down.

“I do not think that socialized medicine in these forms are the answer,” said Turley. ”You can’t mandate the people to buy something they may or may not want.” The possibility remains, however, that the ACA will be upheld, and Kentucky legislators will face working across party lines to develop a plan for the exchange. In that instance, she said, “We’ll have no choice. We’ll have to work together.”

“I believe in control coming back to the state. I am opposed to the large Federal Government and everywhere that it overreaches. I think that we need to pull that back into the state, and, in most issues, I think that we should pull it even further back into the community. I think that, a lot of times, legislators are out there looking for ways to bring money into the community just to make themself look successful in the eyes of the constituents. That’s another area that is causing us to have such budget problems… everyone wants to spend maximum amounts of money for what makes them look good in an area where it could be a community project instead. We don’t always have to take state money or always take federal money. We need to look at ways to support our needs.”

Turley concedes that large projects such a bridge repairs or highway construction require federal funding; however, anything within the scope of local governments should be the responsibility of those communities “…rather than always looking for how you can get another million dollars out of the system. That’s an entitlement mentality on a bigger level… nothing is free. That is why our country is so in debt.”

While she agrees that the healthcare industry needs change, she believes that the state would be better served by concentrating on other measures. She contends that premiums are being driven up by massive malpractice claims. “Our constitution won’t let us cap personal injury lawsuits. I do feel like an injured party has the right to restitution if there is blatant neglect… but, I don’t agree with multiple and huge, huge claims. It causes doctors to have to be so conscious of the fact that they could be sued if they don’t take extreme measures – well beyond what should be taken – that it drives up costs.”

She believes that additional medical procedures associated with this hyper vigilance are unnecessary, costly, and distorting factors to the real costs of health care. One solution offered up by the candidate is that health care malpractice claims are perhaps better suited for special litigation with a dedicated judge/court for such cases. She feels that this would yield more objective rulings and help drive down the amounts of awards. “This is a big part of the problem with health care in general that is being ignored.”

Her campaign will face an uphill battle, taking on the incumbent Thompson who is currently serving his fifth consecutive term in the State House and who defeated his last opponent, Paul Estep, by almost 6,000 votes in 2010. Thompson is also the House Majority Whip and serves on numerous committees.

Turley, however, sees a parallel between her candidacy and that of Republican Senator Joe Bowen in 2010. She said that, while campaigning, Bowen visited her to ask for her vote. She committed, but voiced surprise that he was running against such an established candidate as David Boswell. “He said, ‘You’re right, but I’m going to work a whole lot harder,’” recalls Turley. “Every vote is important, and I think it is important to go to every possible person you can speak to and tell them you’d like to have their vote, and that’s what I plan to do.”

To that end, Turley will be attending the upcoming Beaver Dam Strawberry Festival in Ohio County, May 25th through the 28th to visit constituents and get the word out about her candidacy. Candidate Turley concluded the interview with a message – four tenants that she plans on using as a running theme leading up to November 2nd:

Where there is disharmony, sow peace.
Where there is discord, create unity.
Where there is wrong, have the strength to right it.
Where there is ignorance, bring knowledge, and have the wisdom to impart it.

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