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Thursday, February 27, 2014

Pendery Campaign Responds to Challenger, Sell, on Campbell County Workforce Statistics Release

Candidate for Campbell County Judge Executive, Kevin Sell, released a press release last week after the Kentucky Center for Education and Workforce Statistics released its 2014-15 Kentucky County Profile Report which complied statistics on each Kentucky County relating to income, education and employment data.

These reports showed that when compared to Boone and Kenton Counties, Campbell County has the:
·      Lowest Median Household Income
·      Lowest Per Capita Income
·      Highest Unemployment Rate
·      Highest Rate of Residents Without a High School Diploma or Equivalent
·      Lowest Rate of Public High School Students Not Attending College
·      Lowest Rate of Residents Attaining a Bachelor’s Degree of Higher

Current Judge Executive, Steve Pendery, and his campaign team responded to the overall theme that Campbell County is trailing Kenton and Boone in many economic categories for growth.

Here's what Pendery's team said:

Mr. Sell says Campbell County is falling behind, that “there was a time not long ago when Campbell County was a leader in these areas.” That is not true. 

The same source of statistics he used instead shows that dating to the time when Steve Pendery was first elected, we have been closing a gap that historically has existed. Campbell County has gained more ground in all the educational stats since the year 2000 than Kenton or Boone. There has been a big gain on the financial side too. The median income for Campbell County was $41,903 in 2000, $2,003 behind Kenton at that time. It is now $53,580, just $320 behind Kenton County. 

Almost every one of the 120 counties in Kentucky trail Boone County; Boone is in the top two or three in just about every statistical category, probably making it number 1 overall. But these days the typical Campbell Countian is virtually indistinguishable from the typical Kenton Countian financially and educationally.

The only statistics quoted (Mr. Sell’s release) are the ones that seem to show we trail Kenton and Boone. According to the same study, we have fewer people living in poverty than Kenton, fewer without medical insurance, and fewer eligible for Medicaid. In every single measure of high school performance, Campbell leads Kenton: ACT test scores in math, English, reading and science, ready for college by graduation percentages, ready for career by graduation, and grade point average. These stats suggest things are getting better, not worse, reinforcing the 2000 to 2014 catch up trend I mentioned above. We also have a higher percentage of graduate and professional degrees than Kenton County.

Finally, the truth is, where we supposedly lag behind Kenton County, the differences are usually less than 1% and within the margin of error of the study. Campbell ranks 9th out of 120 counties statewide in Median income; the $320 a year difference with Kenton County, works out to 1/2 of one percent.  Our county ranks 7th in the percentage of adults with an associate’s degree or higher, two tenths of one percent behind Kenton County - that's about 100 fewer diplomas in a county of 90,000 people. The current unemployment rate difference comes to 56 jobs out of a workforce of 28,000, though our unemployment rate is not always higher than Kenton's. And while every single job is important, remember these are estimates, not an actual count.

There are 120 counties in Kentucky. All three Northern Kentucky counties rank in the top ten in the median income and the educational attainment categories charted in the study.  From another study focused on jobs, all three counties were in the top ten (out of 120 Kentucky counties) in net new jobs produced between 2000-2010, the most recent available stats, making Northern Kentucky the leading job creator in the state. Compared to other areas of the state, as a group we are not just doing well, we are the best.

Campbell County beats the state and national averages in all employment and income measures in the study, including median income and unemployment. Our per capita income is slightly less than the national average only because our family size is higher – and our per person income is much higher than Kentucky's average.

The truth is, Campbell County has performed remarkably well, especially considering we don't have an international airport, high expressway miles with lots of interchanges, flat land out of the flood plain or sprawling industrial parks in the south end of our county, like Kenton and Boone. We have balanced growth. We are preserving green space and agriculture because we value it so highly. Our growth is happening our way, in places where it is wanted and needed, with revitalization of the inner cities and companies tied to NKU leading the way.


  1. Thank you for the honest and informative response, you showed detailed information while Mr Sells response is we need jobs. If you drive around Campbell County it is pretty obvious there is growth here now with investment in the medical area in particular which is good paying jobs for a important industry for the future as the baby boomers grow older. After I read Mr. Sells response I think he could of responded better with more facts. I got the impression we are all uneducated and ill informed.

  2. Thank you also for posting Steve Pendery's response. It added a lot of detail and information to the issues mentioned. The fact is that the County has progressed greatly during Steve Pendery's tenure as the Judge Executive. Are we where we want to be? No. But we have come a long, long way from where we were before Pendery took office. And in these difficult economic times, that says a lot about Pendery's leadership and the efforts of the County Commissioners.

    While I like Kevin Sell, I have been repeatedly disappointed in things he has said on the campaign stump. While not technically false, they are often misleading and fail to present all the facts. And that really bothers me and I hope it bothers other folks. Voters should be given the truth and the whole truth by candidates so that the voters can make a fully informed choice when they vote. The candidates owe that, at a minimum, to the voters.

  3. I liked Pendery team's critical analysis. Wish more of it was done in Kevin's original article. I like Kevin and Steve, but more than anything appreciate comprehensive critical thinking.