Candidates set for special election in 63rd House District

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) - Local Democrats and Republicans have chosen their nominee for the vacancy in the 63rd House District, created when a northern Kentucky lawmaker resigned her seat earlier this month.

Rep. Diane St. Onge, R-Park Hills, who represented parts of Boone and Kenton counties, announced from the floor during July’s special legislative session that she intended to step down since she had recently gotten married and was going to move to California. However, she did not submit her letter to Gov. Matt Bevin until August 12.

Bevin issued an executive order calling for a special election for the last year of the unexpired term to take place on the day of the general election in November.

Local Republicans in the two counties nominated Kimberly Banta, a retired educator from Kenton County, to be the GOP candidate.

“We appreciate Diane St. Onge’s dedicated service to her constituents and wish her well in her future endeavors,” said Republican Party of Kentucky Executive Director Sarah Van Wallaghen. “Kimberly Banta is a retired educator with decades of serving students and schools in Kenton County, and we’re excited to work hard to support her and hold this Republican seat in November.”

Banta began her career in education as a teacher at Simon Kenton High School in 1986. She has also been a principal, assistant superintendent, and chief academic officer in Kenton County. Banta has led efforts to strengthen curriculum, improve nutrition, and bolstered programs for at-risk students. She holds a Doctor of Education from the University of Louisville.

Meanwhile, Democrats in the two counties chose Josh Blair of Erlanger as their nominee.

Mary Nishimuta, executive director of the Kentucky Democratic Party, said, “Blair has lived most of his life in Kenton County and understands that supporting education, implementing a fair tax structure, transparency in government and strengthening small businesses are pivotal in addressing the needs of the community. We are excited to support him in defeating the Republican candidate this November.”

Blair is a graduate of Beechwood High School and Northern Kentucky University. After earning his degree from NKU, he attended graduate school at Ohio University and worked at Syracuse University in the Public Safety Department, before returning to Northern Kentucky to raise his family. He is an adjunct professor at NKU and was recently selected as a Parent Representative on the Caywood Elementary Site Based Decision Making Council.

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