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GENERAL ELECTION 2018

This is the seventh of eight question and answer sessions with candidates for local office. This week, candidates for 6th District state representative for election this November, are featured. Each answer, including the bio, was limited to 150 words. In the event of answers longer than that, we are forced to cut from the bottom up.

U.S. Rep. Andy Barr

Republican

Brief Bio:

Andy has served as the Representative to Kentucky’s 6th District since 2013. During his time in office, Andy has amassed a record of getting results for the people of central and eastern Kentucky. As a Central Kentucky native, Andy understands the values of Kentuckians and tirelessly advocates for the Commonwealth’s signature bourbon and equine industries. He earned his B.A. from the University of Virginia in 1996, and received his J.D. from the University of Kentucky in 2001. Andy and his wife, Carol, have two daughters, Eleanor and Mary Clay, and are members of Good Shepherd Episcopal Church.

Describe two or three of the most important issues you believe are important to residents of the 6th Congressional District and what you’ll do about them.

This Congress, we have made great strides in the security of the American people by bolstering our national security, unleashing greater economic growth through additional regulatory relief, and fighting the opioid epidemic that is devastating communities throughout Kentucky. I understand the priorities of Kentuckians, share their values, and I have a record of getting results for Kentucky’s families, small businesses, universities, and our military and veterans. And there’s still more work to be done.

What are a few ways in which you have challenged, or will challenge, leaders of your party?

As a conservative, I advocate for policies in Congress that promote free enterprise, reduce the size and scope of the federal government, and preserve the rights guaranteed to the American people in the Constitution. And, I have a strong record of preserving my conservative values. On the other hand, I have been proud to be ranked the most bipartisan member of the Kentucky Congressional delegation and have worked on many bills with my colleagues on the other side of the aisle because bipartisanship is important to the development of sound policies.

Please describe how your opponent and your opponent’s allies have mischaracterized your record and platform.

It’s clear tax cuts are working for Kentucky families, small businesses, and our economy as a whole. The average family in the 6th district will receive a tax cut of $2,052. We have regained the number one position as the most competitive economy in the world - a spot we haven’t held since 2008 - there are now more job openings than unemployed Americans, and consumer and business optimism at its highest rate in almost half a century. Democrats want to raise your taxes and roll back the great economic progress we’ve achieved.

How will you address the growing annual federal deficit and national debt?

It’s important to note that tax cuts have actually improved Americans’ revenues and the economy is growing at more than four percent - both of which are key to tackling our deficit. I ran for Congress to restore fiscal responsibility back in Washington. The national deficit continues to increase because of rising interest rates and increased spending. To put our country back on track, we must make reforms to our mandatory spending programs, which comprise 60 percent of federal spending. With these reforms, we will be able to to keep our promise of retirement security for current retirees and future generations.

Amy McGrath

Democrat

Brief Bio:

As a child, Amy loved fighter jets. Wondering why no women flew them, Amy discovered there was a federal law prohibiting women from serving in combat roles. Amy wrote letters to Congress advocating for change. During her senior year of high school, the combat exclusion law was lifted. Amy earned a B.S in Political Science from the US Naval Academy in 1997. She was commissioned as an officer in the US Marine Corps, where she eventually served as an F/A-18 pilot and Hornet Weapons Systems Officer. Amy completed a combat tour to Afghanistan in 2002, becoming the first female Marine to fly in an F/A-18 on a combat mission. Her second combat tour was to Iraq in 2003. In 2009, Amy married U.S. Navy Lieutenant Commander Erik Henderson and were later deployed simultaneously to Afghanistan (her third combat tour). They now have three children. In 2011, Amy was assigned to Washington D.C. as a Marine Corps Congressional Fellow. She later served as the Pentagon’s Marine Corps’ liaison to federal agencies. As a Lieutenant Colonel, Amy’s last assignment was instructing at the US Naval Academy. Amy retired from the Marine Corps in 2017 after 20 years.

Describe two or three of the most important issues you believe are important to residents of the 6th Congressional District – and what you’ll do about them.

Health care: I believe strongly that basic health care is a fundamental right that should be guaranteed for every American. I’m committed to working on the Affordable Care Act in a bipartisan way. We can fix the Affordable Care Act by shoring up the exchanges, and working on reasonable legislation to keep premiums and deductibles from growing recent levels by enacting a Public Option and offering a Medicare buy-in for those 55 years of age and older.

The economy: Much of central Kentucky’s economy has been left behind in the 21st century and ignored by our current representatives. We need to invest in the new economy, promote the manufacturing economy, revive the resource economy, while preserving our communities and way of life. Check out my 32-page Economic Development Plan on amymcgrathforcongress.com for more information.

What are a few ways in which you have challenged, or will challenge, leaders of your party?

I am disappointed that Democratic congressional leadership has been unable to develop and execute an effective message and agenda that works as well for voters in places like central Kentucky, as it does for those on the coasts or the big cities. One of the biggest lessons of the 2016 elections is that the national Democratic Party cannot ignore rural communities and hope that it can make-up for those losses elsewhere. As a party, we must learn to compete everywhere, even in places where we have not traditionally done well. That’s where I want to challenge my party. It’s why I have tried to run an aggressive campaign in all 19 counties of the 6th District, including having 20 working offices throughout.

Please describe how your opponent and your opponents’ allies have mischaracterized your record and platform.

Abortion: The claim that I’m for abortion in the 9th month is offensive and ridiculous. I’m Catholic and the mother of three children. I’m pro-choice, but believe our laws are sufficiently restrictive. Our conservative Supreme Court has reaffirmed a woman’s right to make her own reproductive choices. I’m fed-up with this constant attempt by Andy Barr and Mitch McConnell to criminalize this constitutionally protected right.

Open borders: The claim that I’m for open borders is false. I spent 20 years defending our nation, I don’t need to be convinced of the importance of securing our borders. I believe a physical border wall is a waste of money, but that doesn’t mean I’m for open borders. No one (including Rep. Barr) was talking about the idea of a border wall until Trump did. Does that mean Rep. Barr was for open borders prior to President Trump?

Too liberal for Kentucky: I was a registered Independent for a decade and I’m married to a life-long Republican. I care deeply about American values and fixing the problems we have in our country. I don’t think anything about that is “liberal.” Single-Payer: I’m not for single-payer Medicare-for-all. Period. The list goes on and on…

How will you address the growing annual federal deficit and national debt?

Our national debt is a function of lawmakers, on both sides, not being honest with the public for a long time. We need a fair tax system where Americans pay for the services we want our government to provide such as social security and national defense. We were already in a deficit when the GOP pushed through their tax plan which made the deficit increase by 17 percent. I have a real problem with cutting taxes for the wealthy and making future generations pay for it. I’m not against middle class tax cuts. I’m just against Congressman Barr’s irresponsible tax cuts for corporations. Doing this simply shifts the costs of the GOP’s lower taxes onto tomorrow’s Americans (my children and yours) through higher taxes and lower benefits. We have to enact a budget overhaul, which has both cuts and revenue increases. It can’t be only one or the other. It has to be both. There were two bipartisan plans put together seven years ago to tackle our debt. Both were substantive and would have put us on a sustainable track. This is a problem that we need to tackle in a bipartisan way, putting our country’s well-being above partisan politics.

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