Meet Dennis Horlander
A life-long Shively area resident, Dennis Horlander grew up in Louisville’s south end, in a close-knit family, and worked in his mom and dad’s small laundry business. Working as a shoeshine boy and then as a delivery boy for Shively Drugs, young Dennis learned the value of hard work and responsibility.
As a third grader, Dennis needed extra help with reading and his teacher took a special interest, working with the boy most days after school. Dennis succeeded in school and received a scholastic scholarship to Bishop David High School, was inducted into the National Honor Society and then attended the University of Louisville. Many years later, Dennis Horlander’s 3rd grade teacher, Eleanor Spalding Sosienski wrote him a very special note when he was elected to public office. Click here to read his teacher’s note.
Dennis has worked as a manufacturer’s representative and in the construction industry. He married his sweetheart Ann Napper Horlander and the couple raised their son Justin and two daughters, Jennifer and Jessica.
Inspired by his Aunt Nelle Horlander, Dennis was ready to commit himself to a life of public service. Nelle was a union worker and the political director for the Communication Workers of America. A political activist and leader for women’s issues in Kentucky, Nelle Horlander also served as the chairman of the TARC board and was a member of the Jefferson County Democratic Club.
It was no surprise when community leaders targeted Dennis Horlander at age 31 to run for city council. Dennis ran on a reform ticket to clean up the City of Shively’s city government in 1983. A group of five men vowed to clean up strip joints, remove the corrupt police chief , regain financial stability and repair Shively’s tarnished image. They called themselves “The New Direction Democrats”.
On election day, 1983, the reform “New Direction Democrats” swept the election and Dennis came in second place, just a few votes shy of first place. The group quickly got to work fulfilling the promises they made to the voters. Dennis served three terms on Shively City Council until his beloved wife Anne became seriously ill.
Dennis Horlander’s wife Ann was diagnosed with a serious condition and underwent a heart transplant. Married for 26 years, Dennis was at his wife’s side throughout her illness, surgery and recovery. Ann was loved throughout the community, known for her community activism and charitable work. She survived 10 years with her new heart but succumbed to complications on June 10, 2000.
While she was alive , Ann Horlander encouraged her husband once again to run for state representative in a special election when the seat became vacant in 1996. Dennis won the special election to the 40th District and immediately began to campaign for a primary and general election in the same year. He served in the House of Representatives for 22 years, taking the time to assist constituents with problems and issues they might be having.
During his time as State Representative, Dennis Horlander served as the Co-Chair of the Government Contract Review Committee, serves on the House Banking & Insurance, Economic Development and Tourism, Labor and Industry and Licensing and Occupations Committees. He was Vice Chair of Economic Development.
“I’ve spent a lifetime in the South Louisville and Shively areas and want to do everything I can to make sure it remains a good community for all its citizens,” said Dennis Horlander.