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27-year veteran Rep. Jim Wayne, D-Louisville, announces early that he won’t seek re-election

Longtime state lawmaker Jim Wayne, D-Louisville, has announced that he will not seek re-election to another term in the Kentucky House of Representatives.

Wayne said he was announcing his retirement from the House a year before the next election so that interested candidates would have time to plan their campaigns.

Wayne has served in the legislature for 27 years, championing social justice issues. His partnerships have achieved legislative victories to promote affordable housing, protect children from sexual predators, improve campus safety, and help thousands of Louisville families whose neighborhoods were devastated by the expansion of Louisville International Airport.

“You can’t accomplish anything on your own. Progress is achieved by those dedicated to the hard work of building coalitions and fighting for change. I’m fortunate that I’ve partnered with people who not only have enriched my life, but have created lasting change in our commonwealth,” Wayne said. “It has been a blessing beyond measure to work so closely with people committed to justice and progress. I couldn’t ask for better allies, and I can’t thank the people in my district enough for trusting me to be their voice at the State Capitol.”

Jim Wayne

Wayne’s work with citizens near the Louisville International Airport in the 1990s led to the creation of the Airport Neighbors Alliance, a group that organized itself into a force to respond to the noise, safety and environmental concerns caused by airport expansion. Working with the group’s members, Wayne obtained $26 million from the state to help more than 10,000 citizens relocate. In 1998, he successfully sponsored legislation to move the city of Minor Lane Heights and its 1,700 residents from the airport’s path.  City residents were able to move to a development built specifically to keep their community together and is now known as Heritage Creek in southern Jefferson County.

“Every bill I sponsored that became state law was the result of ordinary citizens coming together to work with a commitment toward improving the lives of others,” Wayne said. “It renews your sense of optimism every time you see people selflessly dedicating their time and energy toward giving a voice to people who are too often shut out when public policy is made.”
Wayne worked with affordable housing advocates as the sponsor of legislation to create the Kentucky’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund in 1992. A few years later he secured passage of legislation to create a steady income stream for the fund. As a result, the trust fund has allocated $100 million to help finance nearly 11,000 units of affordable housing in urban and rural areas of Kentucky. Wayne also sponsored legislation that established the Housing Policy Advisory Council, a panel that coordinates and evaluates the state’s housing policies and makes annual recommendations to the governor and legislators.
In 1998, Rep. Wayne worked to improve campus safety with Gail Minger, the mother Michael Minger, a Murray State University student who was killed in a dormitory arson fire in 1998. The Michael Minger Act, sponsored by Wayne, promotes openness from colleges and universities by requiring them to maintain campus crime logs and make them public.

In 2008, Wayne joined forces with groups including Voices of the Faithful to give children new protections from sex abuse. He successfully sponsored legislation that strengthen penalties for sexual abusers and for those who knowingly fail to report the crimes.
As a longtime member of the state’s budget-writing committee, Wayne is known for his efforts to support people with mental illnesses and disabilities and for his push for tax fairness. He has proposed tax reform measures since 1998 and served on the state’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Tax Reform.
He also served on the Blue Ribbon Commission on Smart Growth and was a cofounder of Catholics For Fairness, a group that promotes legislation to prohibit discrimination against LGBT citizens.
Wayne is the founder and president of Wayne Corporation, a Louisville mental health services provider. He also founded Bellarmine University’s Wayne Institute for Advanced Psychotherapy.  A writer of numerous articles and opinion pieces, his debut Novel, The Unfinished Man, has received several national literary honors since it was published last year.

He noted that he still has many assignments on his plate for his final year as a legislator. He will continue working toward a statewide ban on corporal punishment in schools. He will continue to call for gun safety laws and push for legislation that would allow local governments to regulate firearms, prohibit guns from college campuses, and implement licensing of gun owners and registration of firearm and ammunition. He will continue pursuing soundproofing credits for those with homes still overcome with noise by the Louisville airport. And, of course, he will continue calling for tax reform.
“I will continue using every opportunity I have to urge tax reform that supports working families and promotes fairness in Kentucky,” Wayne said. “I’ll remain as busy as ever for the remainder of my term. After that, I hope we’ll have a new legislator with a commitment to social justice that I can enjoy supporting just as strongly as the people of the 35th District have supported me for 27 years.”

From Legislative Research Commission

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