Kathy Groob, candidate for the 23rd district state senate seat, and Nick Clooney, running for Kentucky's 4th Congressional District seat, celebrate the opening of their campaign headquarters in Fort Mitchell.

VICKI PRICHARD / ChallengerNKY.com photo

Clooney, Groob Open Joint Headquarters

FORT MITCHELL Celebrating the opening of their joint campaign headquarters Wednesday, Nick Clooney and Kathy Groob promoted the Democratic Party, while also establishing their individuality as candidates.

About 150 people filled the lawn of the Dixie Highway house that will serve as home base for both campaigns. A barbecue and rally began around 5:30 p.m., and included short speeches by each of the candidates.

"It's a new day for the Democratic Party," 23rd District State Senate candidate Groob said. The district includes most of Kenton County, excluding Fort Wright, Independence, Taylor Mill, Lakeside Park, and Crestview Hills.

Groob added that she is "thrilled, honored and proud" to be sharing headquarters with Clooney, who is challenging Geoff Davis (R Hebron) for the 4th District Congressional seat.

B.J. Neidhardt, Clooney's campaign manager, said the two candidates are sharing the space for practical rather than partisan reasons. "It's a huge facility," he said, "so it's cost-effective and practical." Clooney, Neidhardt said, wishes all candidates well.

Neidhardt also described Clooney as a "Kentucky Democrat" with conservative stances on abortion, tobacco and government spending, and said Clooney will be a strong advocate for veterans. Clooney showed support for Groob, however, and even decried her opponent's record. "Kathy is a fresh voice," he said. "(Incumbent 23rd District Republican) Jack Westwood has had eight years to produce for Northern Kentucky, and he hasn't done it."

Clooney also explained some reasons for his current bid for office. He said he has been approached before, but felt the time was right this year.

"There is a sense of unease in our country," he said. "Nobody's pointing fingers, but there is a sense that we can do better."

Groob said she is also conservative on the issues of abortion and fiscal responsibility, but favors more spending on education and economic development.

"I am a businesswoman, a parent, and a concerned citizen," she said, "and I support investment in the community."

"Jack is a party line voter," she said of her opponent. "He doesn't get involved in specific causes."

Clooney said he is concerned with the animosity between Democrats and Republicans in Kentucky, and believes there is a need to work together for the sake of progress.

"I don't know if this is an oxymoron," he said, "but I want to be a loud voice for civility."

Fountain of Youth

In her welcoming speech, Groob said she was happy to see so many youthful faces in the crowd.

"What a wonderful turnout," she said. "If anyone thinks young people are not engaged, not involved, they are obviously wrong."

While trying to stay above the partisan fray, Clooney did characterize Republicans as "exclusive," and said this is a reason for their failings.

"(Democrats) must take the reigns," he said, and proposed a "tomorrow" that would offer better healthcare and jobs for everyone, and better benefits for veterans.

"We need to make sure veterans get what we've promised them," Neidhardt said. "If we don't, we're dishonoring them and the men who have served before them."

Jeff Groob, Kathy Groob's husband and campaign manager, said he thinks there are similarities and differences between Clooney and Groob.

"They've both had successful careers," Mr. Groob said, "and they are both native Kentuckians and want to give back to their communities."

He added that both candidates have had career success, and are not seeking office to gain power or for the sake of their egos. Ms. Groob is currently a marketing executive for Hemmer Companies, a corporate real estate and construction company in Fort Mitchell. Clooney has had a long career as a broadcaster and television personality.

Mr. Groob said the candidates differ mostly because Clooney is running a national campaign, while Kathy Groob is running on local issues.

"They are not a unity ticket," he said, adding "They both truly have a desire to serve the community, and they are both effective leaders and decent, authentic people."

Posted 6-03-2004

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