May 15, 2007

Unendorsed gubernatorial candidates respond

Last week LEO endorsed Steve Beshear in the Democratic gubernatorial primary and Billy Harper in the Republican primary. This week, unendorsed candidates were invited to respond. Gov. Ernie Fletcher declined the invitation.Anne NorthupThe upcoming Republican primary will offer our party a chance at a fresh start. In 2003, the current administration was elected by promising to change the culture in Frankfort. By focusing the entire election on ethics, Ernie Fletcher gave hope to Kentuckians, who were tired of the backslapping, good ole boy system, that state government would finally be held to a higher standard of ethical accountability. We were promised that the current administration would do what was right over what was politically expedient. Sadly, the Fletcher administration has done little to differentiate itself from the scandal-plagued administrations of the past.By now we are all familiar with Ernie Fletcher’s indictment and taking the Fifth, the indictment and pardon of several members of his administration and the deal Fletcher cut with Greg Stumbo in an attempt to save his own political career. More recently it has come to light that Gov. Fletcher formed a secret legal defense fund and refused to disclose the names and amounts of donations to the fund. Finally, Ernie Fletcher was recently caught using tax dollars to finance his political campaign. After he was discovered, Fletcher agreed to pay some of the money back.Needless to say, the Fletcher administration has done nothing to change the culture in Frankfort. In many cases, it has made it worse. Jeff Hoover and I are running to give Republicans an alternative to the current administration.Kentucky faces serious problems with rising unemployment, falling personal income and schools that keep falling behind. Kentucky needs to have a serious discussion about our future, and a vigorous debate on potential solutions to Kentucky’s long held problems. However, if Ernie Fletcher is the nominee, the entire campaign will be about indictments and pardons and hit lists and taxpayer-financed campaigning and secret legal defense funds.I loved serving Jefferson County for the last 20 years — first in the state legislature and then in Congress. I am confident that we can usher in a new era of effective and ethical leadership in Frankfort. I ask for your vote on May 22.GATEWOOD GALBRAITHThanks so much for giving us this opportunity to present the Galbraith/Wireman campaign to your readers. Kentucky is at a true crossroads where tough decisions must be made and every perspective must be considered. We hope you endorse our ideas and give us your vote on May 22 in the Democratic gubernatorial primary for governor.Kentucky is in a serious decline. Over the past seven years, we have gone from being the 10th poorest state to the sixth poorest. In that same time we have dropped over $2,000 in median income. There is good reason for this. Both parties have been playing politics as a blood sport while the business of the people lays dead in the dust. We have a gridlocked and dysfunctional government right now and, unless and until we all pull together in somewhat the same direction, we will continue to squander our tax dollars on corruption and failed policies.We propose that we build egalitarian, symmetrical and simple solutions to chronic problems that are so obviously the answers that no one will dare to politically obstruct them. To that end, we present our keystone issue in this race and invite you to see the rest of our extensive and detailed  platform at gatewood.com. Also, please see us on MySpace and YouTube.We are spending tens of millions of tax-incentive dollars to entice increasingly low-wage jobs to the Commonwealth, but the higher paying jobs won’t come because of our low literacy rate and lack of training in science and math. Simultaneously, we have systematically removed educational dollars from the budget and put them into special projects for the special interests. (In 1991 we spent 68 percent of the budget on education. In 2006, it was 60 percent). We are de-funding the very apparatus we need to educate ourselves out of poverty and illiteracy.Our solution is the Commonwealth Incentive whereby every high school graduate receives a $5,000 voucher for books, tuition and fees to any institution within Kentucky that will train that graduate into employability, whether it be truck driving school, cosmetology, vocational training, electronics, UK or U of L or a community college. We need to train our “C” and “D” students into employability as well.Simultaneously, we must strengthen our K-12 curriculum and begin remedial work in the first grade before many of our students fall further behind. Education is the key to our economic development.Too, we would like to offer economic incentives to existing in-state corporations to establish state-of-the-art environmental compliance with all of the standards. That will be Kentucky money spent in Kentucky to Kentucky workers and will anchor many of the businesses within the Commonwealth.You can, and should, read more about this and our other positions and ideas at www.gatewood.com.Please give us your vote!OTIS “BULLMAN” HENSLEYI will be a good governor for Kentucky because I am in touch with the needs of the people of Kentucky. I am not a rich man. I know that people struggle to make ends meet because of the high cost of living. I will implement a plan to increase household incomes, giving people more money to spend. The plan also will reduce the cost of living. Paychecks will buy more. We can reduce the cost of living by reducing the cost of government taxation, regulation and lawsuits and the cost of healthcare and workers compensation insurance. See www.otisbullmanhensley.com.I will work to reduce the cost of healthcare to make health insurance more affordable and bring more insurance companies into the state to increase competition. I will change the Medicaid program to allow recipients to work without losing benefits, and open the program so that those who now work, but cannot afford health insurance, can buy in.I support pre-kindergarten and kindergarten education, but I do not want the taxpayers to fund it, and I do not want to put daycare centers out of business. I will provide low-cost loans for parents to send their children to the program of their choice. My economic plan will provide start-up capital to start pre-kindergarten and kindergarten programs in areas where they are needed.We must reduce the dropout rate in our schools. Parents must be more involved in their children’s education from the time they are several months old, reading to them regularly. Children should be tested for dyslexia at some time before entering the first grade. No child should leave the first grade without being able to read. Social promotions must end.Teachers and state workers will have a stronger voice in my administration, and I will work tirelessly to keep casino gambling out of Kentucky. We already have enough problems with drug, alcohol and gambling addiction. How will we address gambling addiction? Will it be covered by health insurance, driving high premiums even higher? What will we do for children who are in jeopardy of losing their homes or who do not eat healthy meals because a parent lost a paycheck or the family savings? Will we increase welfare spending to accommodate them? Proponents of gambling fail to discuss this. Expanding the tax base by creating more jobs is the better way to raise revenue.BRUCE LUNSFORDIn this Democratic primary, I offer the voters of Kentucky a clear choice: a different kind of leader who gets the job done. I have been traveling the state talking directly with voters about their concerns and my Blueprint for Change. People are hungry for change and for a leader who can bring about change.The Blueprint is a plan to get Kentucky back in business with real solutions. My running mate Greg Stumbo and I have success on getting things done, both in the public and private sector. I started a successful Kentucky-based healthcare company and grew it from three employees to 62,000. Greg passed landmark legislation as House Majority Leader and protected the merit system as Attorney General.Now we’ve got a plan to make Kentucky a leader in providing universal healthcare, improved education for our children and better jobs for our citizens.The Lunsford-Stumbo campaign offers something different than the same old political promises from professional politicians. It offers real solutions that citizens can use to hold us accountable once we take back the Governor’s Mansion for the Democrats.If you’d like to learn more about my campaign, please visit www.lunsfordstumbo2007.com.JODY RICHARDSKentucky is at a crossroads, and we can’t afford to take the wrong turn. On May 22, voters have the opportunity to elect a slate with the experience to lead and the ethics to govern. Jody Richards and John Y. Brown III are proud to be that team.As the longest serving Speaker of the House, I know the needs of this state, from Paducah to Pikeville. As the only Democratic candidate for governor who has actually legislated during the last 20 years, I’ve made the hard decisions to move our state forward. During that time, I’m the only one who has voted to cut hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes. I’m the only one who was actively involved in education reform that has made us the envy of the nation. I’m the only one who has voted to clean up our rivers and air, improve our infrastructure, increase access to broadband and put the state on the cutting edge of medical research.And I’m the only one who can unite the Democrats in November, securing a victory for the party that will place the needs of working families first. Simply put, we cannot afford to miss this opportunity to restore honesty and integrity to the state’s highest elected office.With every vote I’ve shown my support for Kentucky. I ask for your support now, to help us work together and assure a victory for Kentucky families.STEVE HENRYI urge LEO readers to take a closer look at their choice for governor and find out about the Henry-True record yourself, at www.HenryTrueForKY.com. You’ll see that I’ve made a lifetime commitment to making Louisville and all of Kentucky safer, stronger, and healthier.As Jefferson County Commissioner, I started the Clean Fuels Coalition and created Future Fund, Inc. My initiative for raising money and purchasing land in the Floyd’s Fork Creek basin has protected natural resources in Jefferson County and provided recreational opportunity for people who enjoy the outdoors. It provided the cornerstone of Mayor Abramson’s “City of Parks” program.You’ll see how, as Lieutenant Governor, I helped end the sick tax on doctor visits, made Kentucky a national leader in childhood nutrition and instituted an innovative program for affordable prescription drugs.You’ll see that the Kentucky Prostate Cancer Coalition that I founded has provided cancer screening to more than 10,000 Kentuckians, and how the medical devices I helped develop and shared with the military are saving lives in Iraq even today.You’ll see that Renee True and I have a plan for Kentucky that’s based on the idea that Kentucky can’t wait for change.Our agenda includes:• a “Buy Kentucky First” plan, to get our state government back to creating jobs in Kentucky by moving in-state businesses to the front of the line for state government contracts;• an immediate plan for universal childhood immunization and more affordable prescription drugs, coupled with a longer-term plan to cover each of the more than 70,000 Kentucky children who don’t have health insurance;• create the office of Kentucky Surgeon General to give Kentucky the high-profile public health advocate it needs; • a “Coalfields to Cornfields” plan to make Kentucky a leader in the renewable energy economy of the 21st century;• and a top-to-bottom review of every state agency to scrub our state government clean of Ernie Fletcher’s kind of cronyism, root out waste and improve services.Newspaper endorsements are nice.  But I’d rather have yours — and your vote on May 22.