If you ask Fleming County native Josh Hicks, he would describe himself as a "regular guy," having had many different life experiences.
As of Thursday morning, he is adding a new life experience by launching his campaign to run against 4th-term incumbent, Rep. Andy Barr, R-KY, for his seat as a Representative for Kentucky's 6th Congressional District.
"The way I was raised is that if there's a job that needs doing, and no one is doing it, well then maybe you ought to step in and do it," Hicks said in a press release. "We need a representative who cares about ordinary folks, not someone who is bought and paid for. That's why I'm running for Congress."
Hicks, who is running as a Democrat, grew up in Fleming County playing football for his high school, later to attend Georgetown College upon graduating. He put his education on hold after a year, going to work in construction with his father traveling the country. When he came back to Kentucky, he decided to continue his family's long history of military service and enlisted in the United States Marine Corp, completing two deployments and serving four years with the Military Expeditionary Unit.
Returning to the states, with a wife and two-month-old daughter, Hicks decided to look for another career path by joining the Maysville Police Department. He trained at the Department of Criminal Justice Training in Richmond, where he was his class leader.
He spent five years at the MPD wearing several different hats, including patrol officer, and was a member of the emergency response team and was a certified training officer.
Hicks decided to go back to school while still working with MPD and graduated from Morehead State University in three years, earning a degree in government with a minor in legal studies, prompting him to apply for law school. He graduated from the University of Kentucky School of Law and began practicing law at several different firms until he opened his own almost two years ago.
He said the main reason he decided to run for the representative seat was to give a voice to constituents about real problems they face everyday.
"It just feels like too often we let politics run by folks who have come up through a particular political system or have some corporate interest that they're going to benefit from, protecting or going up there and doing something for them," he said. "I think it's time we just got back to real world people with real world experiences going up to D.C. and representing those real world voices."
Hicks said another reason he is running is because he himself didn't feel connected to the people who would represent him, and hopes that people will vote for him so he change that stigma.
"I didn't feel like I was in control or that I had a voice and I didn't feel like I had anyone fighting for the things that mattered to me," he said.
Throughout his campaign and if elected, he plans to focus on local issues -- Kentucky issues -- and getting people engaged and letting them know that politicians don't have to be something that people consider as "out of sight, out of mind," instead allowing people to express local and regional issues to him personally.
Livable wages, affordable healthcare and the ongoing opioid epidemic are issues that he hopes to address if voted into office.
Overall, Hicks believes the biggest problem is a heavy corporate influence with politicians being bought and traded on the market, having a waterfall effect that, to him, causes a partisanship of Washington D.C. at a level that he's never seen.
"I don't like this red team, blue team stuff because this is not teams, this is not a football game, somebody doesn't get to spike the football in the end zone," he said. "We are not scoring points here, we are playing with people's lives. Politics is treated like a game, especially in Washington D.C."
Although a big issue to Hicks is money in politics, he recognizes the need to raise funds, but believes that local "grass-root" support will help his campaign to be successful.
"I think our grassroots support is going to be huge…we're not going to take corporate packed donations," Hicks said. "I want to engage regular folks who want real representation in Washington, D.C…
The thing that keeps me going is the understanding that when I can get in front of people and talk to them in a way they understand and talk about our shared life experiences, I think I am going to get a response."
He says that he believes he can engage voters who think their vote doesn't count by letting him know that he understands.
"I thought that exact same thing," he said. "I thought, 'My vote doesn't matter,' because it doesn't matter who gets elected up there, they don't care about the problems that I care about, they aren't helping my family, they're not helping me do what I need to do…
I hope to tell them that I thought that, too. And because I thought like that and because I have lived through that, I aim to be different."
For more information about Hicks and his campaign visit joshhicksforcongress.com.
Reach Taylor Six at 624-6623 or follow her on Twitter @TaylorSixRR.