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In a little over a year, Kentuckians will have the opportunity to once again shape the political landscape in Washington, D.C. Long-time U.S. Representative Ed Whitfield announced Tuesday that he will not seek re-election to a 12th term in Congress. The long-time Republican representative for Kentucky's 1st Congressional District will leave office in December 2016 with a largely conservative voting record, having voted for bans on partial-birth abortion in 2000 and 2003 and for defining marriage as one man and one woman in 2006. State House Minority Floor Leader Jeff Hoover, R-Jamestown, told the Lexington Herald-Leader that Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner James Comer may throw his hat in the ring as a replacement, but so far any mention of contenders is purely speculation at this point. What is for certain is that Kentucky voters can be deciding even now what type of candidate they would like to see take Whitfield's place in Washington. In fact, there may even be worthy candidates in the state who simply need a nudge to be persuaded to enter the race as well. Both voters and candidates, however, who wish to see the seat remain occupied by a conservative will be facing an uphill cultural climb, as wars continue to be fought in the political arena concerning traditional marriage and abortion funding for groups such as Planned Parenthood. Whitfield was willing to be a conservative voice during his congressional run. Let us pray that the person who takes his place will be willing to do the same.

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Director, Commonwealth Policy Center