LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- It's official. The 2015 race for Kentucky governor has begun, and Louisville businessman and former Metro Councilman Hal Heiner is the first out of the gate.

Heiner made the announcement at a manufacturing plant in Lexington to illustrate his focus on new ideas to create jobs for Kentucky.

Heiner enters the race 15 months before the May 2015 primary and 20 months before the general election.

He says he'll use the time to criss-cross the state introducing himself and what he calls his "big ideas" to fix Kentucky's problems.

"When I see something that isn't right, I feel compelled to do something about it. And today, Kentucky is at a crossroads, and we're in desperate need of strong leadership and innovative thinking," Heiner told a crowd of about 100 supporters.

Heiner tapped former Lexington Metro council member KC Crosbie as his running mate. She narrowly lost a race for state treasurer in 2010.

Crosbie blasted what she called "Democratic insiders" in Frankfort.

"The Democrat politicians who control Frankfort now, and those aspiring to replace them, are the same insiders who have had a stranglehold over change for decades," she said.

Crosbie was rushed away before she could answer questions raised by some critics about lobbying work by her husband on behalf of pro-gambling interests.

"The bullets already are starting to fly, and actually it's the politics of old that have held back this state," said Heiner when asked about the issue.

After repeating his personal opposition to expanded gambling but support for a public vote, Heiner said his focus is on an agenda that will shake up the status quo.

"We need to become attractive for the best jobs in the country, and today we are not. That's the first issue. The second is on education, that we are way underperforming our potential," he said.

From Lexington, it was on to Hazard and Bowling Green before an afternoon event in Louisville. 

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