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State Rep. Jim Wayne Clear of Cancer, Seeking Re-Election

Legislative Research Commission
Jim Wayne

Democratic State Rep. Jim Wayne of Louisville says his doctors have given him a clean bill of health and he will run for re-election in 2016.

Wayne was diagnosed with cancer of the larynx and lymph nodes in May and has undergone dozens of radiation and chemotherapy treatments. He says his cancer is now in remission.

Accompanied by House Speaker Greg Stumbo, Wayne announced his re-election plans at a press conference Thursday in Louisville.

"We have many things to do in Frankfort, especially in light of this change administration," Wayne said.

He used the announcement to also discuss health care, one of the major issues under discussion in Frankfort. Matt Bevin, who was sworn in as governor on Tuesday, has said he plans to make significant changes to the health care expansions undertaken by his predecessor, Steve Beshear. Bevin's plans include ending the state-run health care exchange, Kynect, and rolling back the state's Medicaid expansion.

"A poor person with the diagnosis that I received on May 7th would be faced with two alternatives and maybe a combination of both: death or bankruptcy," Wayne said. "The cost of the treatment I had was certainly something that a poor person without health insurance could never have afforded.

"We have to recognize that what the Democrats have done in Frankfort is expand health care coverage for over a half of a million people."

Wayne, 67, has represented the 35th House District since 1991.

No candidates have filed yet to run in the May primary for the House seat.

"Kentucky’s got a wonderful man here and thank God that he gave Jim the strength to come forward and continue his public service. He’s the kind of man that we need in Frankfort," Stumbo said.

Wayne's announcement was made soon after Democratic state Rep. John Tilley was announced as the next secretary of the state Justice and Public Safety Cabinet.  Stumbo harshly criticized Tilley's departure on Thursday.

Tilley's move to the Bevin administration brings the Democrat's lead in the House to five.

(Photo credit: Legislative Research Commission)