My name is Tommy Adams, and I’m running for State Representative in District 73

Hi! I’m Tommy…

I’m running for State Representative in District 73

Profile picture of Tommy Adams, Running for State Representative in District 73

I love Kentucky, and I’m running to serve my fellow Kentuckians.

I will be a better representative for our entire community, and by that I do mean everyone, including my opponent. In fact, I know I’ll represent my opponent better than he has represented me. I am the candidate best able to speak to the needs of my community. I am a student and a practitioner of good communication, public speaking, democracy, and relationships, and I’m passionate about improving our communities. I have all of the skills necessary to succeed in this role, but being better than my opponents with regard to these metrics isn’t why I will win. I will win because in addition to the honest and uncomfortable self promotion you just read above — I’m kind. I’m a kind and caring person, and my kindness doesn’t just extend to people with the label Democrat or teacher or runner or progressive — my kindness and care will be evident in my commitment to build a Kentucky for every Kentuckian. 

The Kentucky 73rd District deserves Better


We are working hard every single day to serve our community. We’d love for you to join us! Here’s a video I made announcing my candidacy at the beginning of 2022. So much has changed since then, and I’ve learned a heck of a lot, but I’m still me. I want you to get to know me. I want you to like me. But even if we end up disagreeing or finding ourselves on opposite sides of an issue, I want you to know it’s still going to be my goal to serve you. And in case you didn’t realize it, that’s not happening right now with our current representative.     

Join Our Campaign!


Asked & answered

Tommy has made an effort to practice what he preaches. Tommy believes in communication as a fundamental component of democracy. Tommy has responded to questionnaires and requests from several organizations and publications in order to get more information about his campaign out there for folks to see.


Below are tommy’s responses to various important topics. feel free to click around. if you have any questions after reading over his responses, please don’t hesitate to reach out to the campaign. tommy has committed to being an accessible representative. it’s an essential part of being a representative for your community.

What do you see as the highest priority facing Kentucky?

I think it’s a disservice to label any one thing the highest priority because it reinforces the misconception that these things aren’t all connected. It’s our failure to see the interconnectedness of the things we see problematic or valuable. But, to pick one thing I always go back to education. As a longtime teacher, I just can’t help but view the world through the lens of education. But I very well could start with access to healthcare (including mental, dental, vision), or housing access/affordability, or addiction and recovery — these are all so clearly connected to me, and I’ll make it my mission to help others see these things as pieces of the same puzzle and not discrete issues to be handled separately.


But here’s my answer. The people in office have promoted policies and passed laws that are actively hurting Kentuckians. Our first priority should be to stop this from continuing. Thus, our first priority should be removing these folks from office by electing folks like me.

Affordable Housing and Ending Homelessness

My opponent chose NOT to join the Affordable Housing Caucus. He didn’t even ask to be in the room during our state-level conversations regarding the issue. I can assure you, not only will I show up, I’ll fight for fair and affordable housing access for all. 

One thing that consistently gets overlooked is homelessness. It always gets put on the backburner. Well, it won’t when I’m in office. I believe we can end homelessness in Kentucky. It has always been the right thing to do, the moral thing. But, we’ve long known that, compared to the societal cost of homeless, it’s actually less expensive for our society to subsidize and provide housing for homeless individuals. 

My parents were both realtors, and many of my close friends are in the housing industry. I understand there are many sides to this issue. But that’s also a major voting point. I’m actually capable of handling complex issues. My opponent isn’t.  Vote for me, and I’ll bring affordable housing to our district. Vote for me, and I’ll fight to end homelessness.


Equitable Education?

Fully fund education. Increase compensation for teachers. Create incentive programs to hire and retain top talent. Rebuild education to make it not only equitable, but enjoyable. School should be a bright spot in the lives of everyone it touches. Raise our standards.

Universal Pre-K combined with funded childcare assistance.

Tuition free college.

Student debt advocacy/assistance.

Better college prep and trade integration.

More academic travel opportunities for students.

The closest we get to my feelings on education are these lines from the West Wing. “Education is the silver bullet. Education is everything. We don’t need little changes, we need gigantic, monumental changes. Schools should be palaces. Competition for the best teachers should be fierce; they should be making six figure salaries. Schools should be incredibly expensive for government and absolutely free of charge to it citizens, just like national defense.”

Kentucky is the future, but only if we build it together.

My opponent, Ryan Dotson, is pretty terrible as a representative, but he’s particularly terrible on education. He gave himself a raise while leaving teachers out in the cold. Our teachers already don’t make enough, and we lag far behind our neighboring states. Have you seen or heard about the Governor’s recent Education Plan proposal? He is going to need folks like me in Frankfort to help him achieve his goals. 

Harm Reduction and Treatment

I am 100 percent behind programs that focus on recovery and treatment over punishment. 

I am 100 percent behind accountability programs. I am for all sorts of policies that extend from the goal of reducing unnecessary death and suffering. 

I am a proud supporter of programs like ART, Achieving Recovery Together. I believe in the work they do, and I think they need more support from folks in power. 

I am a volunteer with A Running Start. I put my faith and devotion to this cause into action when I run with these folks. They are doing amazing work.

My opponent took offense when I attacked his record on harm reduction. He said that he cares about folks, and that I was wrong to say he wants to lock up offenders. Now I do believe he is on the record as supporting policies that prioritize punishment over treatment, but here’s my question to Ryan Dotson. What exactly have you done while in office to move the ball forward on this issue? What have you done to support those in crisis? What new tools are now available that you’ve served two years in office and 25 as a Pastor? If you elect me I won’t sleep on it. 



Nearly 400,000 low-income Kentuckians qualified for health care – including vision, dental and mental health – for the first time under the Affordable Care Act. But major challenges in affordability and access to care still remain. During a pandemic and beyond, the health of every individual is vital to our overall health as a state. How would you ensure access to quality, affordable healthcare to poor and working class individuals across all Kentucky counties? What are your legislative priorities for the overall health of Black and Indigenous people of color, as it relates to COVID 19, and overall health?

I’m a communication guy. I’ve studied, practiced, and taught it for most of my life. I will work to support the development of a seamless, gapless, healthcare network across the state. You’ve heard of food deserts? Those are real. Kentucky has those. We also have vast stretches of land with few hospitals and even small neighborhoods without any easy access to care. Our 120 counties make for a bureaucratic nightmare when it comes to sorting these things out, and we need a better system to serve Kentucky. I will work to codify in law healthcare that includes mental, dental, and vision. Navigating the healthcare marketplace isn’t easy for people with means — I want to shed light on the absolute insanity navigating the healthcare system for most people — especially those with little to no money. People in my immediate circle, people with what would otherwise be listed as “good healthcare insurance” are locked in a battle to get the insurance company to pay for something that was approved three times over and somehow keeps getting sent back and rebilled. Can you imagine the stress created by such a situation for someone without the ability to pay? I don’t have enough space here to fully explain my position, but I will end with a note on Kentucky KYNECT or other similar state level programs for administering assistance or federal welfare. We need to expand access to these programs. We don’t need to rein them in. The Kentucky legislature should always be looking to magnify the potential impact of helpful government programs and subsidies, and I will be looking to target the help where it will do the most good. I’m always going to be thinking about how our policies will improve the lives of the Kentuckians who need our help the most. You can count on that. In case it isn’t clear from my brief responses, and it might now be — I will not hold back when supporting my beliefs and the things that are important to my community. I will not shrink from the responsibility of serving my district. I will not only serve those who can afford to donate to my campaign. I’m going to be collecting money from those who can afford to donate, but I’m going to be directing my efforts at serving the people who can’t afford to do so. I am going to give Kentucky what it needs — thoughtful, caring, dedicated, passion for the good. Now let’s make it happen.

Prison Reform

Kentucky has the sixth highest incarceration rate in the nation, is second for incarcerating women, and has the second-highest rate of children separated from a parent due to incarceration. In addition, Black Kentuckians face disproportionate arrest, conviction, and incarceration and a heightened risk of police brutality because of systemic racism. If elected, what will you do to make strides toward ending mass incarceration in Kentucky and reinvesting resources into the communities most impacted by this system?

I used to think education was the only answer — the silver bullet. But now I know it’s more complicated than that. Yes, we need to drastically rethink and rewrite the way we police our communities. But it’s more than that. We need to guarantee access to high quality and low cost or no cost mental and physical healthcare in every corner of this commonwealth. And we need to build a system that allows this type of help as a way of life and a first line of defense for our communities. Community development. Family services. Health care. Job creation. Safe neighborhoods. Basic human rights. It’s the problems we face every step along the way that will define how we are even able to address the problem of mass incarceration and police brutality. Point blank — fewer people should be in jail and prison. Reformed felons ( or felons that have served their time, etc) should be able to vote. The legislature should take action to make these things a reality. Police brutality will meet more than resistance from me if I’m elected. I will actively work to reduce the ability of the state to harm individuals while endeavoring to build a system that protects Kentuckians, wherever they live, and whoever they choose to support on election day.


Kentucky is the future, but only if we build it together.

Public Policy

I’m running for my LGBTQIA+ friends and family. — for racial and reproductive justice. — for disability rights. — to end homelessness and to make housing more affordable. — because we can no longer afford to elect people who don’t factor climate change into their policy decisions. — to expand voting rights. — to help Kentucky farmers grow more hemp and to push for its widespread approval as animal feed. — to form and foster relationships among and across the many cultures of the commonwealth. — to seek justice through the lens of my multi-ethnic and globally-minded heritage. — for a greater focus on health and wellness and active living. — to inspire and enable more Kentuckians to safely experience the outdoors and the natural, rugged, wild beauty of our state. — to improve our transportation infrastructure and to improve the walkability of our neighborhoods. — to battle food insecurity. — to improve childcare and early education for Kentucky families. — to reimagine the way we police our communities. — because women’s rights are human rights. — because I value science. — to support greater access to health and social services and to allocate more funds for mental health care. — because black lives matter, and because it shouldn’t be controversial to say so. — for Kentuckians from the #hoodtotheholler. — because I care about my fellow Kentuckians.

Lasty, I’m running to beat Ryan Dotson.

I believe I’m a better choice. Vote for me.

Racial Justice

Black Lives Matter — it isn’t complicated. Anyone wishing to complicate it is, intentionally or not, missing the point. I will not simply oppose white supremacy. I will work to tear down the structures that privilege race in our society. I will fight for equality. I will be actively and ardently antiracist, and I will work to shine light on unfairness and discrimination wherever I find it. The Kentucky legislature can prove it is more than an aging slow moving institution — it can show that it is more than a relic of a bygone racist era. The Kentucky legislature can work to be an agent of change for today and work to serve the Kentucky of tomorrow. The high profile legislation on no-knock warrants created in the wake of the murder of Breonna Taylor was the tip of the iceberg. Let’s keep drilling down on this. The treatment of incarcerated or detained individuals must also be examined and changed significantly. We must find a way to support and create a healthy form of law enforcement while also improving the lives of those arrested and imprisoned. Lower income individuals don’t have access to essential services. This is even more evident in certain communities. Charles Booker really hit the nail on the head when he drew the connection between the problems facing folks in the hook and Kentuckians in the holler. Longstanding systemic inequalities have limited the opportunities of generations of Kentuckians, and I will work to create paths to success for those affected by policies rooted in systemic inequality. Social justice is racial justice. Women’s rights are human right. All Kentuckians are my brothers and sisters. I am my brother’s keeper. I am my sister’s keeper. It’s this “fundamental belief” in the words of President Barack Obama, that “allows us to pursue our individual dreams and yet still come together as one American family.”

Expansion of social services — or improving funding options for pre-existing programs already doing great work — that will decrease the burden on our law enforcement officials Increased opportunities for community support and integration Increased oversight


Reproductive Freedom

I am asking voters to vote no on Amendment 2

My opponent is so wrong on on so many issues, but he is particularly wrong on this. 

Restoration of voting rights for felons


“YES. 100% yes! We have turned all felonies into life sentences, and it shouldn’t be that way. We can and will do better.”

What steps should be taken to curb gun violence in Kentucky?

As many steps as it takes. We clearly haven’t done enough. I walked up to a house while canvassing, and the person inside jokingly mentioned that had it been nighttime, they might well have shot me. At the same time I want everyone to recognize that discussing gun control and crime prevention measures does not mean that any politician or police force will be knocking down your door to take your guns away. Let’s do our best with issues like this to realize that some folks will attempt to derail any discussion on these issues before we can come to the realization that our positions aren’t that far apart. But here’s my take — gun violence won’t be a problem if we solve the rest of the systemic issues facing our communities. Healthcare, housing, employment, education, food — these basic needs aren’t being met. Let’s solve these things on the way to addressing gun violence, and I think we’ll find there’s less of it by the time we get there. Kentuckians should not fear my position.


Kentucky is the future, but only if we build it together.

What measures do you support to improve voting access?

We must radically change the way we vote in Kentucky. We currently have the shortest period of early voting in the country, and it’s not even labeled “early voting” — it’s labeled “no excuse” voting which is inherently confusing and potentially disenfranchising. We are also one of only a handful of states that still allow straight-ticket voting.

We need to make it easier for folks to vote. Take a look at recent changes made to the way we vote in Kentucky. They were hailed as progressive — and that they were — but they were only progressive compared to the way things were before, not compared to other states. The 2022 redistricting process was a disaster, and thousands of my future constituents are still in the dark regarding who they are represented by or who might be on their ballot for the primary, and my district lines had fewer changes than other districts.

A healthy democracy requires an informed citizenry, and the state legislature controlled by Republican supermajorities isn’t helping to create one. In fact, they are actively working against it.

I support the expansion of early voting, open fair free access to mail-in ballots, same day voter registration, extended hours, expanded language options on ballots, and other election reforms aimed at expanding access to voting for all people (with specific attention paid toward marginalized groups)

I will also be pushing for easier access for individuals wishing to obtain new/proper identification.

Pay attention to the folks who are not interested in expanding access to voting. It’s very telling. I stand for more democracy. Greater access to voting = more democracy. Let’s roll.


What do you believe are the core responsibilities for someone elected to this office?

To craft policy that enables Kentuckians to live happy and healthy lives free from discrimination and unfair treatment. To act in the interest others.

I return again to — I am my brother’s keeper. I am my sister’s keeper. These are my responsibilities.

To commit to working with anyone willing to try — and even to work to get others to the point of being willing to try.

To on occasion and with some regularity swallow one’s pride.

What's your vision for Kentucky? How will the lives of Kentuckians be improved as a result of your time in office? What legislative committees will you request to serve on once elected?

My vision for Kentucky? Kentucky is the future, but only if we work for it. I’m going to be one of the people working for it. I’ve heard that change comes in excruciating increments — but I’m going to be a force for the good. I will actively support more rights and better lives for more people — the things that will improve the lives of the most people. I’ll do that while I’m actively warding off efforts that would result in the opposite. But I won’t just stand in the way of my opposition. I won’t simply shout at those I oppose. I will seek to persuade the people who don’t agree with me — it’s always easiest to do if the solutions we seek are reasonable to begin with. I have a much longer answer, but I think it all comes down to care. I care about you whether you like me or not. And I’ll prove that by my actions every single day. It might seem like political language, but that’s why I’m running. I used to think it was curiosity that made me special — that set me apart. That might be partially true, but I think there’s more to the story. Behind wanting to know things is caring about the question. Caring about the question AND caring about the answer. It’s caring that was the force behind my curiosity all along. I will bring an ethic of care to my time in service of the commonwealth of Kentucky, and that is how the lives of Kentuckians will be improved as a result of my time in office. I will fight for progressive causes. I will fight for education — and I’ll do it with the experience of an educator. I’ll do it with the passion of a student who proudly proclaims that teachers have been the most important people in my life. I will fight for access to health and social services — but not simply the bare minimum — that’s right, mental health care will always be a part of the conversation– not treated like a separate issue). Our social services should be the envy of the world — not the butt of a sad joke. I will face these challenges with the experience of a person who was raised and has spent most of my life on the lower rungs of the socio-economic ladder. I will form and foster relationships among and across the the many cultures of the commonwealth. I will seek justice through the experience of a person with a mixed and multi-ethnic heritage. I will fight for a focus on health and wellness — after all many of our health care costs can be averted by simply supporting healthy lifestyles. I want more Kentuckians to experience the outdoors and to be able to safely experience the beauty that our state holds. Kentuckians will have loud and unwavering voice for the homeless and an advocate for increasing access to housing for Kentuckians in every one of our 120 counties. Kentuckians will have an advocate for causes they think about every single day AND they will have an advocate for causes they didn’t even know they should care about. THat’s because it will be my job to lead — not simply to echo the thoughts I hear from my specific corner of the commonwealth. I want improve the walkability of our neighborhoods, and I want to build more bike paths. I want to improve our transportation infrastructure and people find better ways to commute and to get around in their day to day lives. I want to battle food insecurity and find ways to help Kentuckians find and access healthy and affordable food options. I want to support endeavors in the hemp and tomato industries, but I want to go even further. I want more Kentucky for more of my fellow Kentuckians, and by that I mean that I will work to help my fellow Kentuckians access all the wonders of Kentucky. I will stand in the way of and work to deny the efforts of those seeking to enact policies that would negatively impact or continue to disenfranchise my fellow Kentuckians. Committees: Education, Health and Family Services, Tourism and Outdoor Recreation, Transportation, Economic and Workforce, Affordable Housing Caucus, Central Kentucky caucus,

What is the first historical event that happened in your lifetime that you remember? How old were you at the time?
Do you believe that compromise is necessary or desirable for policymaking?
What qualities do you possess that you believe would make you a successful officeholder?
What legacy would you like to leave?
What is something that has been a struggle in your life?
Who do you look up to?

I look up to my friends who had the courage to keep pushing to find their calling — even after trying a few things. I look up to John May, Chief of Wolfe County Search and Rescue. He is the most incredible leader, and I’m lucky to know him. I’m inspired by the amazing folks on my team. I am, quite honestly, surrounded by superheroes. I look up to my students — who will never cease to amaze me. I look up to every teacher who lives the life of care. And of course I look up to my partner, Christina.

I look up to my mom and dad for not giving up. I look up to them each for different reasons. I look up to Ryan Donohue for being far more impactful than he’ll ever realize. I look up to Kristen Routh, Adam Johanson, Brady Miller, Diya Wahi, and David Chang — always David Chang. I look up to Joseph Lopez. I look up to Ron Smith. I look up to Troy Cooper. I look up to my cousin Scott Wink. I look up to Elizabeth Warren. I admire Andy Beshear. I look up to Steve Wilson, who is one of the most tenacious people I’ve ever known. I’m inspired by my high school girlfriend, Nicole Cannizzaro, who is now the State Senate Majority leader in Nevada! I’m inspired by Diya. I’m inspired by all of the folks running for office — the amount of courage it takes just to throw one’s hat in the ring should be enough to earn anyone respect. 

To name only a few people fails to capture the inspiration brought to my life by so many people — and I don’t mean this generally. I can think of countless specific moments where I see people actively engaging in good and healthy relationships with their children, their parents, their neighbors, and even with strangers — I’m inspired by the way people in this world demonstrate how much they care about other people. And I want to provide that type of inspiration to others. I’m inspired by Brenda and Mason. I’m inspired by Sarah and Patricia. I’m inspired Tiff. I’m inspired by Holly. I’m inspired by Emily. I’m inspired by The Democratic Women’s Club. I’m inspired by Chris and Mike and Ruwen and Orion. . . . 

I’m inspired by Adina and Dylan, who can’t even vote yet, but are unwilling to sit this one out! I’m inspired by Sam who has knocked doors for me.  

I’m inspired by the GRC Dems who have the courage to stand up and support justice and democracy at the local level!

But the real answer, aside from the honest answer that I’m truly inspired by so many people around me every single day, is that I’m inspired by the helpers. Look for them, and I think you’ll end up just like me, inspired every single day.


Tell us your favorite joke.


Team Kentucky, Gov. Andy Beshear

News & Media

Follow Our Campaign & View More on Linktree!