State Journal: A new strategy; Sympathy for the chief; Lining up

By Harrison Donnelly — June 13, 1990 1 min read

By any standard the Kentucky legislature’s passage this year of a sweeping school-reform bill was a victory for Gov. Wallace G. Wilkinson.

Mr. Wilkinson was closely involved in the negotiations that led to the plan, and since then he has been active in promoting it to a national education audience.

But the satisfaction Mr. Wilkinson felt about the landmark measure must have been tempered by the knowledge that he would not be in office to see it fully implemented.

Mr. Wilkinson’s term runs out after next year, and he is barred under the state constitution from seeking re-election. Moreover, the legislature repeatedly has turned down an amendment allowing him to run again.

Mr. Wilkinson apparently has adopted a new strategy, though, for keeping his statewide influence. His wife, Martha, recently filed for the 1991 Democratic gubernatorial nomination.

Mrs. Wilkinson’s work in promoting adult literacy already has given her a high profile in the state.

Mr. Wilkinson’s efforts to give a political boost to an education-reform ally, however, have come to naught.

The Governor reportedly played a key role in persuading the state schools chief, John H. Brock, to seek the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate against the Republican incumbent, Mitch McConnell.

But Mr. Brock’s campaign was plagued by a lack of funding, and he lagged far behind in the polls to his opponent, Harvey I. Sloane, the judge-executive of populous Jefferson County.

Shortly before the election, Mr. Wilkinson called on Mr. Brock to bow out of the race.

Mr. Brock rejected that plea, however, and may have even benefited from a surge of sympathy from voters who were angry with the Governor.

Mr. Brock finished with 41 percent of the vote.

In Arizona, meanwhile, candidates are lining up to oppose C. Diane Bishop for re-election as state chief.

Newspaper reports have alleged that Ms. Bishop improperly used her office to benefit her husband, a University of Arizona professor.

Mike McCormick, education adviser to Gov. Rose Mofford, said last month that he would oppose Ms. Bishop for the Democratic nomination.

And Alice “Dinky” Snell, who served as a deputy associate superintendent under Ms. Bishop, said that she would seek the GOP nod for the post.

A version of this article appeared in the June 13, 1990 edition of Education Week as State Journal: A new strategy; Sympathy for the chief; Lining up