Republican Carole Iles of Ashland officially announced her candidacy for the 24th District House seat Thursday night to a room packed with her supporters at the Southern Boone County Senior Center in Ashland.
After a meal of chili and hot dogs, Iles outlined the reasons for her candidacy and the goals she hoped to accomplish if elected.
After 16 years as a lawyer, Iles, 46, stopped practicing law in July 2002 and decided to enter politics shortly thereafter.
“That fall, something that caught my interest were the comments coming out of Jefferson City,” said Iles, who is a mother of two teenagers. “I was tired of hearing that we don’t have enough money for schools, roads and universities. The current state government is too big and the laws are too complicated.”
Iles said, if elected, her most important mission would be to ensure that Boone County schools would receive their fair share of funding and make the county’s education system second to none.
Iles said state government is hindered by the complexity of the laws.
“When I graduated from law school in ’86, the state laws were able to fit in five volumes,” Iles said. “Now the laws take up 22 volumes. Are we really that much better off now?”
Mel and Shirley DeClue agree with Iles’ vision and came to support her even though they live in the 21st District.
“She is a down-to-earth person,” Shirley DeClue said. “She’ll get the budget in shape.”
Iles is hoping to fill a seat formerly held by Democrat Chuck Graham, who will leave due to term limits. Although the 24th District seat has been filled by a Democrat since at least the early ’80s, Iles said she is confident about her chances.
“I think this seat can be won by a Republican,” Iles said. “This area was re-districted in 2000 and through my research I have found that the voters are essentially split, with a slight Republican advantage.”
Former MU professor and economist Ed Robb will challenge Iles in the Aug. 3 primary. Robb plans to officially announce his candidacy for the seat next week.
Democrat Travis Ballenger of Boone County, who announced his candidacy earlier this week, is also running for the seat.