Whitfield discusses race to replace him in Congress and qualities needed in next representative

After announcing his retirement, Kentucky Congressman Ed Whitfield of Hopkinsville is discussing the qualifications he feels are needed in the next representative from his area.

Since Whitfield announced his decision to not run for re-election in September, many big names from the region have said they will run for the seat. Among those names is current Agriculture Commissioner James Comer of Tompkinsville, Whitfield’s longtime district representative in Hopkinsville, Michael Pape have confirmed they will run for the seat while Democratic state Sen. Dorsey Ridley and some others have expressed interest.

In an interview with the Kentucky Chamber’s Bottom Line in his Washington office, Whitfield said he is not endorsing at this point but noted the work Pape has done for him in the region and the loyalties he feels toward his longtime staffer.

“A lot of my success is because of his efforts. He knows more people down there then even I know down there and he is out working hard. And I can’t turn my back on someone who has worked for me for 22 years,” Whitfield told the Chamber. “I know Jamie and I have been a fan of his. I know Dorsey Ridley, I’m a fan of his. But the people of the 1st district will make the decision on who they think will be the most effective spokesman for them in Congress.”

Whitfield said he will endorse in the race to replace him but planned to wait until the statewide elections were done and the energy surrounding them died down, stating that an endorsement before that time would be “pre-mature.”

As for what he feels are the qualities needed in the next representative for the area, Whitfield said he believes the district wants someone who is going to stand up for their values and beliefs adding that constituents pay attention to the issues and want someone who is going to vote with their interests in mind.

“Frequently, I would go home and people would know how I voted on issues that I wasn’t even really focused on because they are focused on them,” Whitfield said.

Whitfield also said that the next 1st district congressman should be watching for changes needed within Congress to ensure a healthy process (hear his thoughts in the video below).

More on Whitfield’s retirement and what he feels are the biggest issues facing the district will be up soon on Bottom Line.

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Jacqueline Pitts
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