Desiree Owen is a native of western Kentucky where her family has lived since the Revolutionary War. She co-owns a successful duck club in Barlow. She is a former broadcast journalist and played an integral part in The Carson Center’s development. As if that isn’t enough, she is running for Kentucky’s First District House seat. iMeet this very busy and talented woman who’d rather be duck hunting all year long.
Hi, Desiree. Welcome to iMeet. Tell us about yourself...
I am a native of Lyon County, where my mother taught school for 27 years. My father was a union ironworker out of Local 782 and was superintendent on several of our largest projects, including Barkley Dam. When I was three he took me out on the catwalk! We spent our off hours fishing, boating, and water skiing on both the lakes. My family on both sides have lived in western Kentucky since the Revolutionary War!
We hear your future husband can fish!
I am engaged to a U.S. Marine Corps Vietnam Veteran, who is a native of Ballard County. He is also a former professional bass tournament fishermen and a hunting and fishing guide. I have a son who graduated from WKCTC and will be attending Kentucky State University this fall majoring in computer gaming design.
And you have a unique business, Green Timber Duck Club in Barlow…
My Marine and I co-own a farm that we developed into the Green Timber Duck Club in the Barlow River Bottoms of Ballard County. We hunt all 60 days of the waterfowl season and spend the other 300 days getting ready for it. If we aren’t hunting and fishing, we are probably watching TV shows about hunting and fishing. Currently, we are about to break ground on a hunting lodge this summer.
Tell us about your involvement in the development of The Carson Center…
When I was hired to develop the performing arts center, we had no board, only a contribution from a generous donor to get us started. Jane Myre was a wonderful lady, and without her, it would never have happened at all.
After I was hired, I called up then Marshall County Judge Executive Mike Miller who pledged to help me by calling 14 western Kentucky County Judge Executives together for a meeting in Paducah. He asked them to pass resolutions from their respective Fiscal Courts in support of state funding for the project, and they did.
This caught the attention of Governor Paul Patton, who helped us obtain $20 million to fund the construction. During that time, we worked with City of Paducah to acquire the property for the site, selected an architect, a construction company, and broke ground. I am proud to say it was a union job ensuring quality construction on a very complicated project, and a safe work place for our construction workers.
Tell us about your decision to run for Kentucky First District House seat…
This was not something I had envisioned. I have run successful political campaigns for others and been a legislative advocate in Frankfort. I was asked by several people to consider running and I took a serious look at it during this past legislative session. The results seemed messy, uniformed and hasty. This is not the way government should work. It reminded me of something Ben Franklin once said, “Politicians and diapers should be changed often, and for the same reason.” We can do better than this.
Tell us about your career in broadcast journalism…
I had the desire to be a journalist since I was very young. My father and I would read three newspapers every day when I was a child, and then he made me take a current events quiz each week.
I was a young child during the turbulent 1960s, and then Watergate. Woodward and Bernstein were my idols. I was dedicated to being one of those who uncovered the truth. Of course, being a local reporter is a bit less glamorous, but I reveled in meeting so many wonderful people on the job each and every day.
I was honored to have been selected for several Kentucky Associated Press Awards, including Best Reporter, Best Newscast, Best Investigative Reporter, and others. Not to mention, my Bristol Broadcasting Family is still “family,” to this day, along with others that worked at WPSD and the Paducah Sun at the time. We had a supportive, yet competitive, community.
What do you like to do in your free time?
We love doing outdoor things of all kinds, but I do love to cook. I am always finding ways to ramp up my culinary skills, and impress David’s grandchildren with homemade meals and treats.
Favorite fast food guilty pleasure?
I don’t do fast food. My idea of a great fast food is picking up from some Thai Tom Yum Soup from Blue Ginger - extra spicy!
What's the best compliment that you have ever received?
The wife of the Vice Chairman of the Board told me over dinner, with several of them present, that I was unstoppable. “When you hit an obstacle you either go over it, under it, or around it.”
You're trapped on a desert island. You can only bring three items with you. What would they be and why?
I always defer to LeRoy Jethro Gibbs (from the TV show NCIS) that you never go anywhere without a knife. Then I would have to go with a fishing rod and the Bible.
You have one day to spend however you like with no money or time restraints. How would you spend it?
I am fortunate to be able to spend 60 days out of the year under those conditions during Duck Season. The camaraderie and friends I have made in the duck blind, standing beside a tree, or sitting in a boat, are the times I treasure the most.
Thanks for letting us get to know you, Desiree. We wish you success in your political endeavors and with your growing duck and hunting business.