Yates Launching Campaign to Unseat Hawkins

David Yates has the ideal pedigree to knock off Doug Hawkins in the 2010 Metro Council race in District 25.

Yates’ grandfather, James B. Yates Sr., served 22 years in the Kentucky General Assembly, often taking his grandson with him to campaign stops, government meetings and trips to Frankfort. The younger Yates, 29, is an attorney. Graduated from Holy Cross High School, U of L and law school at NKU. He was political even in college, winning the presidency of U of L’ s College Democrats.

He married his high school sweetheart and has a three-year-old child. He’s active in his church, and has volunteered as an instructor in that Dave Ramsey course. He addresses people he doesn’t know on the phone with a respectful “Sir.”

He’s done plenty of other resume-building in Valley Station, and he’s launching his campaign next weekend at the Carpenters Union Hall on Dixie Highway. Just this week, he opened his own private law practice. He was previously the in-house lawyer for the local UAW, which he said he’s retaining as his first client.

Of course, I couldn’t get him to say anything negative about his opponent, Doug Hawkins. Yates’ downfall could be that he’s exceptionally polite. Except he did tell me he wasn’t a supporter of the whole guns-in-church idea, which Hawkins has supported to the point of doing one of his increasingly frequent YouTube interviews with the pastor and getting his name in the New York Times.

Hawkins has won two elections for Metro Council, neither by a substantial margin. He lost a race against Perry Clark last fall for State Senate. He holds the Council record for being on the short end of 25-1 votes, including every budget bill. His attempts to block a bomb shelter from being put in his district, in retrospect, seems pretty silly. If Yates chooses to attack Hawkins on the campaign trail, he’ll have plenty of ammunition.

Hawkins knows how to get his name in the media, and how to use technology to get attention. Some would say he can stir up a crowd. The question in 2010 will be whether all that publicity will be a positive in the minds of voters who, for the first time, will have a real choice.