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Who will you vote for in Tuesday’s election?

by Jennifer Sierra

This year the ballot is short in Campbell County, Kentucky but citizens should make sure they hit the polls anyway. Your vote can and will make a difference. Instead of voting a straight party line, we are providing one place to go to see what each candidate stands for and a sample ballot so you can go into the polls prepared. The following information takes out the negative campaign ads that twist and turn facts about the candidates and gets straight to what they each say they stand for. By looking at their web sites, one can assume that if there is an issue the candidates don’t address, they either don’t have a plan or an opinion on an issue, or they don’t want voters to know where they stand.

The Governor’s race is the biggest race this year with Matt Bevin, Jack Conway and Drew Curtis running.

Republican candidate Matt Bevin wants to “cut the Governor’s staff by 20%”. Bevin thinks that state government is “bloated” and believes that if he shrinks the government at the state level, it will “remove redundancy and waste in every department.”Bevin also wants to reform the state pension program by implementing a “401 k style defined contribution plan for new employees.” A big issue he stands for is education reform. He wants to get away from the Common Core approach to teaching and “empower local school boards, local principals and local teachers to make the decisions that are the best for their students, and most importantly, empower parents over bureaucrats.” Bevin is in favor of disbanding KYNECT and “transition citizens quickly from a state run exchange to the federally run healthcare exchange.” Matt Bevin wants to reform Labor Laws by passing “Right to Work legislation and eliminating prevailing wage requirements for state contracts.” Matt Bevin supports Kentucky’s coal industry by vowing to “refuse to enforce federal regulations that are in opposition to our own state interests.” Bevin wants to eliminate the state inheritance tax and lower individual and corporate taxes.

Democratic candidate Jack Conway also wants to “do more with less” when it comes to government.  He wants to attract new businesses into the state by making sure Kentucky has a solid infrastructure to facilitate strong technological assets and natural resources. Conway wants to make sure schools and businesses have strong relationships so the workforce is educated and prepared for incoming jobs. Conway has a heavy emphasis on education reform, wanting to expand early childhood education programs while giving local educational leaders the opportunity to learn from other school systems’ programs. Jack Conway also wants to make high-speed Internet available to all schools and implement programs to help kids become better informed about their options after high school and implementing apprenticeship programs. Conway is the only Democratic Attorney General to sue the EPA over the new coal regulations so he is in favor of protecting the coal industry in Kentucky.

Independent Candidate Drew Curtis wants to fix the state pension program by taking out a bond and structure it as a line of credit. Curtis wants to overhaul the state tax code and simplify it by eliminating unfair deductions. He wants to increase technology jobs in the state, raise the state minimum wage, and he is “fully in support of both hemp and whole-plant medicinal marijuana.” As far as KYNECT, he is “against repealing KYNECT at this time. For one thing, nobody has a proposal for a better replacement. Additionally, health care service providers just spent millions of dollars upgrading their computer systems and training their employees to accommodate KYNECT.” on the issue of gay marriage, Curtis supports a bill that would prevent anyone from having to perform or join in a gay marriage ceremony, but would require anyone whose job it is to issue marriage licenses to do so. Drew Curtis wants to “decriminalize” addiction. He wants to “disrupt the economy of illegal drug manufacturing and production. Reducing profits to the black market economy reduces crime across the board.” Curtis believes that every Kentuckian should have access to broadband Internet and wants to make sure there is enough money in the budget to maintain all Kentucky roads. Drew also wants to restore voting rights to non-violent ex-felons who have served their time.

The Secretary of State race:

Stephen Knipper is the Republican running for Secretary of State in Kentucky. He wants to develop niche business markets within the state to revitalize the jobs market in Kentucky. Knipper wants to reverse the industry loss suffered in Kentucky and to use his IT and Project Management background to update the election process by turning registration into an electronic process and giving more time for citizens to register. He also wants to make sure the electronic voting process is not compromised and your personal information is kept safe from potential hackers and identity thieves.

Alison Grimes is the Democratic candidate for Secretary of State. Grimes wants to eliminate obstacles that prevent people from voting. Alison’s leadership on the Kentucky’s Election Integrity Task Force led to the passage of bipartisan legislation in 2013 to prohibit the disclosure of absentee voter information until after 6 p.m. on Election Day which protects absentee voters from attempts to buy or influence their votes. She was instrumental in passing Senate Bill 1, which strengthens absentee voting protections for military and overseas citizens and extends them to members of our National Guard. Grimes stands behind electronic voter registration and wants to restore voting rights to non-violent felons. Alison supports raising the minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $10.10 and equal pay for women. She supports job training and education for veterans. Grimes also opposes cuts to Ft. Knox and Ft. Campbell recently recommended by the Department of Defense and the United States Army. Grimes is an advocate for creating a tourism industry in Kentucky as well. She supports the expansion of preschool and daycare opportunities for young children and wants to make college more affordable. Alison Grimes is an advocate for victims of domestic violence and supports legislation that would protect people that have been victimized regardless of their marital status. “She supports state legislation to toughen penalties on heroin dealers, particularly those whose customers die, and also backs increased funding for treatment programs and drug education efforts.”

For Attorney General:

 Whitney Westerfield (R) strongly opposes the federal government’s authority with the Obamacare program and immigration giving amnesty to  illegal immigrants who have been in the United States for at least five years, and who are parents of U.S. citizens or legal residents, a three year work permit. Westerfield is “100% pro-life”, supports the right to bear arms and states, “as your next Attorney General I will fight to protect religious liberty as required by Section 5 of the Kentucky Constitution and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (2013).” Westerfield supports domestic violence legislation that further protects victims of domestic violence.

Andy Beshear  (D) is running for Attorney General as well. He has published an extensive plan to battle drug abuse which includes toughening penalties on drug dealers and allowing law enforcement to cross state lines to enforce the law. Beshear wants to “toughen laws that target the sale or possession of synthetic drugs such as Flakka or K2”. His plan calls for cracking down on Suboxone Clinics that are run improperly, making law enforcement more empowered, begin treatment earlier, making treatment  a priority for pregnant addicts and creating a drug education task force that prioritizes those in the highest risk communities of Floyd, Pike  and Campbell Counties. Beshear wants the state to have stronger background checks for people that apply to work at day care centers and summer camps. To protect seniors, Beshear wants to establish a dedicated office to support and protect our seniors. This will include a stand-alone unit with dedicated investigators to provide educational programs and scam prevention initiatives to increase awareness and make seniors less of a target. Andy Beshear supports the coal industry in Kentucky and wants to protect the manufacturing and agricultural jobs in the state.

Auditor of Public Accounts:

Republican Mike Harmon wants to “replace liberal agendas with conservative principles, clean up the government’s books, and scrutinizes every single dollar the government spends.”

Adam Edelen (D) is running for re-election to this seat.  He points to his record of what he has accomplished claiming he has  tackled fraud and abuse in nearly two dozen public schools, held big insurance companies more accountable, discovered waste in state and local government, added cyber protections to Kentuckians. In April, Edelen launched an investigation into the number of untested sexual assault kits in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. He also investigated popular Kentucky basketball legend and former Agriculture Commissioner Richie Farmer, which resulted in ethics charges and fines as well as prison time and restitution payments of $125,000.

Kentucky State Treasurer:

Allison Ball is a  bankruptcy attorney and Republican that is running for State Treasurer. She wants to be a “check and balance on spending in order to protect the financial stability of the Commonwealth, as well as to maintain a commitment to transparency.”

Rick Nelson is the Democrat running for State Treasurer. Nelson is a former school teacher, retiring in 2005. He is a state representative and risen to positions of leadership, that includes being the chairman of the House Labor & Industry Committee. He serves as Vice Chairman of the Education Committee, and also serves on the Veterans, Military Affairs & Public Safety and Transportation Committees. Rick wants to bring financial literacy to high school students across the Commonwealth by visiting high schools to teach classes to students, preparing them financially for college and adulthood.

Commissioner of Agriculture:

Ryan Quarles is a Republican running for this seat. He supports urban agriculture and locally grown food, he wants to expand agriculture education, help farmers find new markets for their crops and keep federal bureaucrats off of Kentucky farms.

Jean-Marie Laswon Spann is the Democrat running for the seat. She supports the growth of industrial hemp in Kentucky. Lawson Spann supports Agri-Tourism which includes working with the Kentucky Vineyards and Grape and Wine Associations and the Bourbon Trails. She supports the direct sale of farm products to consumers as long as it “is safe and has oversight.” She wants to work with the dairy and health industries to find a safe solution for getting milk products to consumers without necessarily having to pasteurize. She wants to find a way to make tobacco safer for consumers. Jean-Marie wants to grow the urban agricultural movement by using Louisville’s urban agricultural model for other communities and she wants to increase the number of students choosing to make farming a career choice through more education initiatives.

How you vote Tuesday, November 3rd does impact Dayton, Kentucky and Bellevue, Kentucky. Here is a sample ballot for you to print out and mark BEFORE you go to the polls on Tuesday. CAMPBELL County Ballot 11/3/2015

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