VANCEBURG | First-term Lewis County Judge-Executive Thomas Massie has announced his candidacy to represent Kentucky's Fourth District in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Massie's decision comes one month after incumbent Republican Geoff Davis announced he would not seek re-election in 2012 for the seat he has held since 2004.
Massie was campaigning in northern Kentucky Monday, taking advantage of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday and the closure of his office in Vanceburg.
Massie's formal announcement was made Jan. 10, and was accompanied with the following press release.
"I am happy to announce my candidacy for the House of Representatives. More than ever Congress needs a conservative, independent thinker who has a track record of innovation and problem solving in the private sector."
"Our founding fathers weren't career politicians or government employees. In fact, they were farmers, inventors and small businessmen that came together to craft the most impressive document in the history of government. Our Constitution is packed full of common sense, and that is desperately needed in Congress today."
"We need someone who is committed to lowering taxes, cutting government waste, and ending run away spending. I have done that in Lewis County and I will do that in Washington D.C. as your representative." said Massie.
Moving into his second year in office as judge-executive, Massie said an important aspect of his decision-making process in pursuing Davis' seat was to consulted with his constituents in Lewis County.
He said the conversations revealed the people of Lewis County felt he could do more good for the county, and country as a U.S. representative than judge-executive.
"That and the decision with my family, those were two very important factors to my decision," he said.
Massie, 41, is married and the father of four children, ages 8 to 16 years old.
He said he moved back to Lewis County eight years ago to make sure his children had a "good grounding" as they were raised.
Massie said with the Fourth District rated a plus 14, which means in political terms a generic Republican would win the seat by a 14 point margin over a Democrat, he joins two other Republican candidates in the May primary.
State Rep. Alecia Webb-Edgington and Boone County Judge-Executive Gary Moore have also filed as Republican candidates to run for Davis' seat and will join Massie in Maysville on Jan. 21 for the Buffalo Trace Lincoln/Reagan Day Dinner at the Maysville Conference Center.
As a relative newcomer to politics, Massie said he decided to run for Congress due to a "sense of urgency" related to the federal debt crisis and he is concerned the issue is not being addressed in Washington.
He said a background in private industry qualifies him to serve and "a lot of what's lacking (in Washington) is common sense," and it's time to take problem solving skills and go to work on the federal debt.
Massie said he would consider himself the conservative Republican in the race right now, but because of being a small government Republican, he feels he would have the backing of the Tea Party and his message will have a broader appeal because of fiscal responsibility already displayed during his first year as judge-executive.
Massie said he spoke with former U.S. Sen. Jim Bunning, U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, and Davis, seeking advise on the "nuts and bolts" of Washington and what a person can do as a freshman in the House of Representatives.
With four months to go until the May primary, Massie said he will split his time between his duties as judge-executive and campaigning. He said his constituents have asked him not to resign at this point, however, should he win the primary, he will resign as judge-executive.
When asked who or what groups his candidacy would appeal to, Massie said any energy group should be for him because of his view on energy independence for the country; pro-Second Amendment groups; he is pro-life; and job creation driven by the private sector.
"I firmly believe the government should not create jobs, it's entrepreneurs that create jobs," Massie said.
"This is going to be a hotly contested Republican primary ... it's about having adult conversation with the American public ... it's about what's happening in government. I don't anticipate being partisan if it will help solve our fiscal problems," said Massie.
Massie earned two engineering degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Based on his invention that made computers easier to use, he founded SensAble Technologies, Inc., raised over $32 million of venture capital, created 70 jobs, and obtained 24 patents.
Massie said he began battling big government as a concerned citizen in 2007, and stopped or lowered four separate tax initiatives in his county. In 2010, Massie challenged two establishment candidates in the Republican primary for Lewis County judge-executive.
Massie has retained veteran Sen. Rand Paul staffer Ryan Hogan as his campaign manager. Hogan recently served as a field representative for Sen. Paul. Before that, Hogan was part of Paul's successful run for U.S. Senate in 2010.