The first official candidate in the 2015 Kentucky governor’s race is getting the word out across the Commonwealth.

Louisville businessman Hal Heiner announced Friday he is jumping into the gubernatorial contest with former Lexington council member K.C. Crosbie as his running mate. 

This is the first race for Heiner, a Republican, since narrowly losing a bid for Louisville mayor in 2010.  Crosby, who sat on Lexington’ss council for five years , was also unsuccessful in her bid for state treasurer three years ago. 

Speaking at a manufacturing business in Lexington, Heiner said he believes the state’ss economic model is outdated.

“We continue to exist on this old platform and we’re just not competitive,” he said. “I feel it in the business I’m in and I see what’s going on with cranes in states all around, bringing those jobs and very seldom does those jobs land here in Kentucky.”

Heiner told a group of supporters on the factory floor “today begins a 20 month journey.” 

At a kickoff event in Lexington, he told a group of supporters states like Tennessee and Indiana are moving ahead of Kentucky in educational objectives.

For the past few years Heiner has been pushing for reform, namely for a change in state law to allow charter schools. Asked about the state’s coal communities, Heiner said he also believes economic growth in eastern Kentucky must include a traditional source.

“I do support coal and support it strongly. Actually coal is the reason, it gives us one of our main advantages in this state of low cost power that attracts manufacturers and businesses to this state.  It would be painful for a lot of Kentuckians if we lost that advantage,” said Heiner

As the first candidate in the race Heiner, who is founder of Capstone Realty, can begin raising money. The newly announced campaign has also scheduled stops in Louisville and Hazard.