Kentucky’s voters got another option for governor Thursday as Lexington attorney Gatewood Galbraith turned in more than 7,000 signatures on a petition to place the independent on the November ballot for governor.

Later Thursday, the petition was certified by the Secretary of State and Galbraith was notified that he and his running mate, Dea Riley, will appear on the November ballot for governor.  Galbraith, 64, will be making his fifth run for governor, this time with Riley, 43, a marketing expert. Galbraith, who has also run for Attorney General and Commissioner of Agriculture previously, got 15 percent of the vote in 1999 when he ran for governor as the Reform Party candidate.

Galbraith said he expects to draw voters from both major party candidates, incumbent Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear and Republican David Williams, but said he might do better among Republicans because “I’m the most conservative candidate in this race.”

Galbraith faced several reporters’ questions about his positions on medical marijuana and industrial hemp. He said marijuana could be regulated and taxed and used to alleviate suffering of ill and dying patients and saving health care costs in the final stages of life. He conceded some will write him off as a serious candidate because of those positions.

“Thirty years ago, they said Galbraith, you’re 30 years ahead of your time,” he said of his long-time support for liberalizing marijuana laws. “Well, here we are.”

He said he’s running to “lift Kentucky out of poverty” and both Williams and Beshear have wasted years in government without effecting substantive change. Because he and Riley are independents, Galbraith said, they don’t care who gets credit for policy ideas and they can bring both Democrats and Republicans to the table to work on Kentucky’s problems.

“The first thing we need to do is re-establish the trust and integrity of the process itself so people with good ideas and the best intentions will come forward and be a part of the political process, Galbraith said. “Second thing we’re going to do is stop the corruption. It’s the corruption that keeps this state poor.”

He said the state’s tax structure should be reformed to ensure fairness and shift more responsibility to the wealthy and corporations.

“We need a new tax structure,” he said. “Working people bear the brunt, corporations need to do their share and we need to stop giving incentives for $8 hr jobs.”

He used one of his frequent phrases about why he’s running yet again.

“I’m a perennial candidate because Kentucky has perennial problems,” he said. He blamed those problems on partisanship and corruption.

Galbraith has called for a $5,000 state voucher for Kentucky high school graduates, which can be used at any post-secondary education institution – four-year college, community colleges, or trade schools. He has also said if casino gambling is approved, the state should own them and keep the revenues.

Galbraith and Riley oppose mountaintop removal, “but we’re not against coal,” he said. He called for a “middle ground” between opponents of mountaintop removal and supporters of the coal industry.

Galbraith said he isn’t worried about the larger financial resources of his two opponents who are expected to spend millions on television advertising – “We’ll have enough to win,” he said when asked how much money he can raise.

“If your vote is not for sale, what difference does it make how much money the other person has?” Galbraith asked. He said he expects to win because he’ll “get more votes than the other guys.”

He said he and Riley have contacts working on their behalf in all 120 counties and they plan on actively campaigning in person across the state.

“You know people only need to see me about twice before they figure out they’re going to vote for me, so they don’t have to see me that often,” quipped Galbraith.

Ronnie Ellis writes for CNHI News Service and is based in Frankfort. He may be contacted by email at rellis@cnhi.com. Follow CNHI News Service stories on Twitter at www.twitter .com/cnhifrankfort.

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