A local educator and former paralympian is seeking the Democratic nomination to challenge longtime Jefferson County Clerk Bobbie Holsclaw in next year’s election.
Vitalis Lanshima was born in Nigeria and emigrated to the U.S. in 2002 as a student-athlete at Bellarmine University.
He announced his intentions to run Monday, and is the first declared challenger in the clerk’s race against Holsclaw, who is a Republican.
Lanshima says the county needs a clerk who will be more vocal on voting rights and other civic issues.
“The county clerk is supposed to be the chief civic advocate for this community. And we have issues that have to deal with voter disenfranchisement,” he says.
Those include opposing any voter photo ID legislation and automatically restoring felon voting rights. which Lanshima says is a part of his platform along with modernizing the clerk’s office.
This is the first run for public office for the 36-year-old Lanshima, who now works as ECE instructor at Jefferson County Public Schools. He has been involved in a number of political campaigns over the years and a party activist.
Lanshima says Holsclaw has been silent on voting rights issues and an increase of certain fees, which he argues amounts to a tax hike.
“We have citizens who are struggling to get by and we have their fees raised, and when that issue is brought to Bobbie’s she says that fees are not taxes,” he says. “Well as a teacher I have worked with parents in neighborhoods that have been very challenged, they can’t even make it to parent-teacher conference meetings or even go to work.”
In 2011, Holsclaw ran for governor of Kentucky and signed an Americans for Tax Reform pledge against raising taxes. She has been county clerk for 16 years, and is running for re-election next year.