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Dan Fister, Republican

Brief Bio:

Dan Fister is a farmer and property manager who is running for the House of Representatives in the 56th District because I want a better world for our children and grandchildren. I am a Pro-God, Pro-life candidate that believes very strongly in the U.S Constitution, including its Second Amendment. A graduate of Eastern Kentucky University, I have served in both the public and private sectors working in law enforcement, as an accountant, and as a general contractor. My wife and I are members of St. Leo’s Church where we were married 40 years ago, we have two grown sons that were born here in Woodford County, and a granddaughter that is growing up here in Woodford County. I understand the challenges of making ends meet in our personal budgets and feel the same pain as you when they don’t. Please visit danfister.com for a more in-depth biography.

What are two or three things you’ll do to benefit Woodford County?

First off, I don’t like the fact that many of our elected officials disappear after Election Day. I want to hold regular meetings with the people of Woodford County so I can stay in touch with them and better represent the needs of everyone regardless of political party. I can remember when we could live in Woodford County without having to leave to get the basic necessities of life and with over half of our population having to leave if they want a job, I will work for economic growth in Woodford County. Sticking to a list of three, I pledge to work on our drug problem. It is destroying our families, ripping apart the very fabric of our society, and costing way too many lives.

Kentucky ranks third in the nation for overdose deaths and the number two county in Kentucky is right here in the 56th District. The state pension system is in a shambles. What will you do to put the various funds in better financial condition?

The first step in stabilizing the retirement systems is to continue to fully fund the pensions. Actuarially Determined Contribution which was just done for the first time since 2002. The State Pension Funds have fallen victim to many of the same problems as the Social Security system. It has been underfunded, robbed from, and generally mishandled for years. One issue that is not being talked about though is that we are quickly approaching a level where there are more retirees drawing from the system than there are workers paying into the system. Because the State of Kentucky cannot print money to cover these obligations like the Federal Government does for Social Security, we are going to have to fix our system. I won’t claim to have all the answers, but I do understand the question and I’m willing to bring everybody to the table to find a solution.

Do you believe excessive partisanship in Frankfort prevents compromise? If so, what will you do to improve the situation?

Of course excessive partisanship is preventing compromise in Frankfort and in our nation as a whole. The uncalled for behavior we witnessed during the hearings for Judge Kavanaugh, the threatening of State Representatives’ lives and their families during the last session of the Legislature, and groups whose sole purpose is to resist and protest everything are driving a wedge between our ability to work together and to be civil to each other at all levels. When elected, I will be in the majority party and will have the opportunity to invite the other side to the table. I will represent everyone in my District without regard to party and I will be outspoken about that. The only way to heal the divide is to set aside our differences and celebrate our similarities. I would love the opportunity to lead that movement and I ask for your vote on Nov. 6.

Who are the politicians and/or non-political leaders you admire, and why?

On the non-political side, I would have to name my father. Although long passed, his involvement as a leader at his church and organizations such as Farm Bureau taught me the importance of giving back to the community. He taught me to always be honest, to stand up for those who could not stand for themselves, and the importance of family. He planted the seeds that got me to where I am today. On the political side, I will say Lt. Governor Jenean Hampton. While she is the first African-American woman ever elected to statewide office in Kentucky, she is so much more than that. She is a Christian lady that grew up an inner-city kid in Detroit, she served in the military, she has taken the often forgotten Office of Lt. Governor and used it to benefit the people of Kentucky, and she is a trusted friend.

Joe Graviss, Democrat

Brief Bio:

Joe Graviss is a former owner\operator of nine McDonald’s Restaurants in Lexington, Frankfort, Versailles, and Midway, Kentucky with over 600 employees in total. Joe retired in late 2017. Joe has been a very active member of the community, serving on numerous boards and commissions for over three decades. Joe has been recognized numerous times for his service, including the keys to the Cities of Versailles and Midway, the Boy Scouts North Star Award, the Legacy Award from the Woodford County Chamber of Commerce, and induction to the Woodford County Public Schools’ Hall of Fame. In 1997, Joe was chosen from over 14,000 other facilitators worldwide to be among the five recipients of the prestigious Franklin Covey “Facilitator of the Year” award. Joe’s wife of over 30 years, Debbie Graviss, has also been deeply involved in the community, serving as a long-time board member and President of the Woodford Humane Society.

What are two or three things you’ll do to benefit Woodford County?

Now that I’m retired, I can devote all my professional attention to serving Woodford County and the 56th district in the General Assembly with same attitude of service and accessibility I’ve had my entire career. With a proven record of giving back and supporting numerous organizations, individuals and causes, I want to continue that service, improve relationships and communication and bring folks together. For example, I plan to have community forums in the district and invite local elected and community leaders to hear citizen concerns and suggestions. I think tax reform, fully funding pensions and education, and working with local leaders on issues that affect the 56th district will benefit our county. Working with our awesome agriculture and extension community is a priority as well. Folks tell me that being accessible, listening, and working with the community to proactively address issues are things they want me to do for them.

The state pension system is in a shambles. What will you do to put the various funds in better financial condition?

Retirees, and current and future state employees need to be assured we will keep the promises we’ve made to them. As a businessman, I understand that the way we keep those promises is to find a real, fair, and equitable solution that includes sufficient revenues to continue paying down the unfunded liabilities. Without more revenues, there will be more cuts to the necessary services we rely on, including education, child protective services, and corrections. Solving this problem will require all stakeholders to be at the table. Decisions must be made in a transparent and open manner, and everyone will need to work together to find the best solution benefitting us all, not just the wealthy money managers and their friends and families. Because the pension crisis cannot be solved without revenues, true, wholistic tax reform will be crucial to fixing our pension problem while protecting the lower and middle-income folks.

Do you believe excessive partisanship in Frankfort prevents compromise? If so, what will you do to improve the situation?

Absolutely. In my over 30 years of service in business, and in the community, I have a proven track record of working with all types of folks from the Federal Reserve, to non-profits, to citizens wanting their neighborhoods to be a better place to call home. Working with all types of groups and organizations seeking strategies and solutions that work is a skill set of finding third alternatives I look forward to taking to Frankfort. I like this quote and attitude from Nathaniel Adams: “I believe we can agree that hearing and considering opinions differing from our own is important and acknowledging the honorable and sincere intentions of our adversaries in advocacy should take precedence over partisan interests.” It’s not about who gets credit, or personal or political agendas, it’s about serving Kentuckians and having the discipline and maturity to stay in discussions until a mutually agreeable solution is reached.

Who are the politicians and/or non-political leaders you admire, and why?

Abraham Lincoln has always inspired and intrigued me. He was unselfish in character, honest and dependable, often with a good sense of humor and self-deprecation, inspired others to be better than they could have imagined, and to dig deeper in their souls for peace and truth. I also loved the way he brought folks together, even those that opposed him. He was able to build a diverse team to serve our country at a calamitous time. I love Robert Kennedy’s quote as well: “What we need in the United States is not division; what we need in the United States is not hatred; what we need in the United States is not violence and lawlessness, but is love, and wisdom, and compassion toward one another, and a feeling of justice toward those who still suffer within our country, whether they be white or whether they be black.”

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