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May 4, 2007

The power of 10 : LEO Voter Guide 2007 second of three Clip and Save!

You may find it impossible to believe there’s anything of importance going on in these parts besides that big horse race on Saturday. We understand. But there is — it’s called the gubernatorial primary, and it’s a 10-horse race across two parties.Among the pundits, there has been widespread speculation that one or more candidate will fall by the wayside before the May 22 primary. We hope not, because we have this chart all designed and everything. We used it last week and we hope to use it again next week. So, lady and gents, stay in the saddle!Seriously, our goals for this three-week package were simple: Talk with the candidates about a range of issues, and print their answers, largely in their own words, so LEO readers will have some meaningful and useful information when they go to the polls. Eight of 10 candidates visited LEO HQ (separately) to chat. We presented their answers to two questions last week, and this week we bring you two more. Next week we finish up and also offer endorsements in both races. For the record, both Gov. Fletcher and challenger Anne Northup declined numerous and persistent invitations to meet the LEO brain trust.This week’s topics are Louisville, specifically, and the arts, generally. Here’s what we asked:•LOUISVILLE: Let’s hear your pitch to people in Pippa Passes about why Louisville is important to the state.•ARTS/CULTURE: What role does arts play in the state? What’s your stance on public funding for the arts?Next week: Healthcare, and a general question about the candidates’ philosophy on government.  ---------------------Steve BeshearDemocratBorn: Sept. 21, 1944Hometown: Dawson Springs, Ky.Favorite superhero: SupermanRunning mate: Daniel MongiardoFurther: www.stevebeshear.com  LOUISVILLE: ITS ROLE IN THE STATE, GIVE-AND-TAKE IN FRANKFORTLouisville is one of the three major economic engines in this state, and is the largest economic engine in the state. Louisville has one of the most vibrant economies and vibrant lifestyles that you find in Kentucky. Louisville does help create the revenue that it takes for the state to do a lot of things, not just for Louisville, but for the rest of the state. Lexington, to some extent, is the same way. Northern Kentucky, to some extent, is the same way. And that will probably always be the case. I think in any state you have areas that thrive economically and those areas tend to help support things that go on in other areas of the state that aren’t as vibrant, in terms of the economy. One thing we need to do, obviously, is to work with our economies across the state in both the Eastern and Western Kentucky. Particularly in the energy sector, I think the west not only has coal fields of its own but it has a lot of rich farmland, can produce a lot of corn, soybeans, grasses, all of which go into biodiesel, ethanol and all the other kinds of alternative fuels that are now becoming more available. The state needs to make sure that Louisville continues to get the support it needs, not only for itself, not only to keep it a vibrant place, but because it also benefits the rest of the state.  ARTS: ROLE IN THE STATE, PUBLIC FUNDING FOR THE ARTSThe future of this state, and the future of any state, or future of any people, is defined not only by its economic efforts but also defined by its culture and the art it creates. When you look back at a lot of ancient civilizations, the only thing that remains, really, is its art or its culture. I think needed. And this state is going to be a partner in helping to fund cultural and artistic activities.I talk more about art being enjoyable and sort of life-expanding but, obviously, it’s an economic engine also. Just like you have here, the and various theaters and galleries, it has an economic impact on the state, also. Any community that wants to be a vibrant community and attract business, attract people to come here, has to have that component to it.Part of what I’ve seen over the last 30 or 40 years in Kentucky is that there has been more of that kind of activity all across our state, and not just centered in Lexington and Louisville and Northern Kentucky. I think part of what’s been going on for years now is that, at the state level, we’ve been playing the old shell game of moving money around. And, right now there’s not enough revenue at the state level to do the kinds of things we need to do. Whether that is education, or economic development, or healthcare, or in the arts. We’re not getting anywhere. We’re treading water. And we’re not just treading water, I think we’re starting to go backward in many areas because we’ve been unwilling to address additional revenue sources. And that’s why I feel so strongly about the expanded gaming.  ---------------------------------Gatewood GalbraithDemocratBorn: Jan. 23, 1947Hometown: Carlisle, Ky.Favorite superhero: Lech WalesaRunning mate: Mark WiremanFurther: www.gatewood.comLOUISVILLE: ITS ROLE IN THE STATE, GIVE-AND-TAKE IN FRANKFORTIt’s the economic heart and soul of the state of Kentucky. I tell everybody in Louisville: Look, you all are special, you all live in a little glass case of privilege here in Louisville; you go out here to a hundred other counties and it’s decimated. Louisville is important because they put out a tremendous impact on the state revenues in budgets and taxes but they take back less expenditure on their problems than what they put out and add to the state. So in many ways, if you’re kinda pulling right along other aspects of the state as far as the economic factors and economic statistics and those kinds of things, I’m a little saddened that the actual economic impact only travels out a county or two instead of reaches down into Western Kentucky and on.I want to give economic incentives to existing in-state corporations, including corporations here in Louisville like Dupont, to try and clean up the West End of Louisville, over there where they got neighborhoods that you can’t even live in where the kids’ cancer rates are two or three, four times — that company needs to be given an economic incentive, something to prod them along and clean that stuff up. I think Louisville has a couple of real hot spots that need to be cleaned up. Most of all I think we need to reignite the idea of human worth and the workability of each human being, because that’s what the constitutional form of government was supposed to do — of the people, by the people and for the people, and we’re talking about individuals, not the corporate bottom line.  ARTS: ROLE IN THE STATE, PUBLIC FUNDING FOR THE ARTSArt destroys the very narrow in-the-box method of thinking that’s being taught by our institutions. Institutions are not known for their promoting creativity, not known for their encouraging people to think outside the mediocre and the mundane. Arts are the catalyst to spark everybody out of the mundane. It gets them to be able to think for themselves, to consider options, to consider alternatives; it takes them out of the mono-perspective on life, which is only one way of looking at things. I think arts should always be open as an elective to kids in school at any age. It just encourages thinking. We have to think our way out of this situation we’re in. We have no other asset; we have to think our way out of the position that Kentucky is in. I’m for a pretty reasonable amount of money into the arts. I mean, it’s not going to be my main focus, but certainly. Any of your really intellectual industries are going to have people who are interested in the arts. You know, the people who work in software and stuff like that, that is a form of art in and of itself. We’re going to invite in top-paying jobs and they’re going to want to know what the lifestyle is in here — do you have an appreciation for the arts? Do you have an outlet for the arts? What is your commitment to the arts? If I’m going to be talking to somebody with four or 500 employees, going to be bringing in jobs that average, you know, thirty, forty, fifty thousand dollars a year, they’re going to want to know.  ------------------------------------Billy HarperRepublicanBorn: Aug. 15, 1944Hometown: Paducah, Ky. Favorite superhero: Ronald ReaganRunning mate: Dick WilsonFurther: www.harperforgovernor.com    LOUISVILLE: ITS ROLE IN THE STATE, GIVE-AND-TAKE IN FRANKFORTThe Golden Triangle, Louisville being an important part, vital to Kentucky. are the drivers, they are the leaders of the economy. So it’s important that we help them be successful, that they grow and generate more revenue. There will always probably be a challenge to the contributing areas to the rest of the state. I look at Northern Kentucky being an interesting example of, there haven’t been too many years ago they were a receiver. And yet those counties, and the leadership in that area, have really pulled that area up dramatically to where now it’s a contributor from the statewide standpoint. Those who are succeeding will be contributing more money across the state. But I also think it’s important that we don’t just transfer money there, but let’s transfer the concepts that are making Louisville, Northern Kentucky and Lexington successful. Help them develop business, help them develop private enterprise and economic development to where they will be growing, they will be developing and they’re not always the recipient. We have counties where the largest employer is the school system — that is scary. That’s not going to provide wealth for the future, even though that system may be doing a good job, we’ve got to have jobs for those areas. It’s about small business, and how do we help small businesses grow, not necessarily recruiting the 300- or 500-job plant, but how do we help a group of students start an Internet or Web design company, and then how do we help that grow? Louisville has an obligation to share its knowledge, its ability and its wealth. But then, not to the extent that we kill the goose that’s laying the golden egg, either.  ARTS: ROLE IN THE STATE, PUBLIC FUNDING FOR THE ARTSI think we need to provide opportunity for students to learn about the arts, and one of the areas I use this is, I am very much in favor of open enrollment in all of our school systems. If we have a school that is very strong in the arts in an adjacent county, and the parents of the student want to go to that for music or whatever, that student has a right to go there, and they can go to where their specialty is. I think there’s things you can do that don’t cost any money to help the arts grow. I do think we also have to use reasonable care, and I’m from Paducah — we’ve got a beautiful arts center there and I’m very proud of that — but we also have to limit how much we contribute of state money to nice projects, and I’m certainly saying we’ve done that in many parts of the state, and they’re critical.We also need to be smart about it, if we’re spending money helping it, and using its growth and knowledge to the point where we can recruit business, people who want to come here, but also keep it in balance with what we’re doing overall.I think it’s an economic driver from the standpoint that it makes people want to come to this state. You have to have available to recruit the top companies. If we go after the high-paying jobs, as opposed to the $7-an-hour, minimum-wage jobs, you’ve got to have the arts, and you’ve got to have things that make people want to live in your community. So it’s critical for economic development, you just need to balance it to be reasonable about to what extent.  ---------------------------------------------------------Steve HenryDemocratBorn: Oct. 8, 1953Hometown: Woodsville, Ky.Favorite superhero: BatmanRunning mate: Renee TrueFurther: www.henrytrueforky.com  LOUISVILLE: ITS ROLE IN THE STATE, GIVE-AND-TAKE IN FRANKFORTLouisville is the engine that drives the state. And just because Ford is in Louisville — look where all the workers come from. Look at General Electric. In their heyday, they had 14,000 people in Appliance Park. We’re losing our manufacturing jobs, this nation and the state. And so those people who work at Appliance Park and Ford are from Bardstown and Hardin County and Elizabethtown — there’s a lot of people who have a shared interest in that. We need to help rural Kentucky build its infrastructure and its ability to pay its own way so that Louisville doesn’t have to pay for some of the poorest areas of the nation. What we have to do is to help, through incentives, to take care of the small businesses in the rest of the state. And that’s why I’ve committed — it’s called “Buy Kentucky First.” Every dollar spent outside or through the state budget will first, you’ll have to look for the product in Kentucky or the service in Kentucky. We will have guidelines. Obviously, if it’s 30 percent more than it is in Indiana, then all bets are off. The other issue, too, is agriculture-based. Buy Kentucky Proud. You’re going to have to do something to help the rural areas support themselves. And that’s the biggest point we tried to make when we looked at our budget. We need to support Louisville. We need to do everything we can for them. When they need assistance, like with Ford, with financial incentives from the legislature, the legislature needs to be there. We have some of the poorest counties in the nation in Eastern Kentucky. We’ve got to help them get on their feet. If we don’t help them, they will suck the life out of the rest of the state.  ARTS: ROLE IN THE STATE, PUBLIC FUNDING FOR THE ARTSWell, I’m supportive of it, but we have to be careful about — you know, what our support level is and what restrictions we put on it. It’s important to our culture. It’s important to our growth. When we bring leadership, corporate leadership into our community, they want to have arts in their lives. They want to have a healthy environment in their lives, and so we generally — any time we bring physicians in to interview them, we generally let them know what’s available in the arts and we always start with Cherokee Park. Let them see — experience — this is in the middle of an urban setting and here you have this kind of resource, and area of refuge from the big city life. But we always tell them about the opportunities in the arts.Everything has pressure on it in the budget. But I can say it this way: I support funding of the arts. I think it is a critical issue; it is a part, I believe a fundamental part, of economic development and recruitment and for — if we want the crème de la crème of corporations.   ---------------------------------------------------------------------Otis HensleyDemocratBorn: March 5, 1956Hometown: Harlan, Ky.Favorite superhero: RoadrunnerRunning mate: Richard RobbinsFurther:   www.otisbullmanhensley.com(Note to the reader: Hensley’s economic adviser, Roger Thoney, also participated in the interview and provided some of the following answers.)  LOUISVILLE: ITS ROLE IN THE STATE, GIVE-AND-TAKE IN FRANKFORTLouisville is the biggest city we got. One of things I want do is, I want to get somebody that can take you places. If you was a minister or somebody I can trust, I want one person to represent two counties in the entire state of Kentucky. Not a politician. I run as a citizen, not as a politician. And what I want to do is represent two counties. And for them to let me know what exactly is going on in that county. Anything that goes on in that county I want to know about it. They’re gonna have my phone number and my cell phone number, my e-mail address and I’d stay in touch with them constantly. I’m not representing just Louisville. And their job is to let me know exactly what’s going on. When you develop the rest of the state, that’s going to go a long way toward dealing with that animosity problem we’re talking about. Because that’s a big source of that animosity is the fact that Louisville — well, it is the Golden Triangle. Louisville, like Northern Kentucky, they have everything, the rest of the state doesn’t have anything. That’s the source of it, and that’s what we’re trying to do by increasing household income. I think that will go a long way toward alleviating that problem.   ARTS: ROLE IN THE STATE, PUBLIC FUNDING FOR THE ARTSArtists are business people. You know, they paint whatever they sell. Well, they could put a business plan together and get some money out of this investment program that we’re talking about starting. Arts is an economic activity. And from our perspective, a job’s a job. Any job is better than no job, and so we’re going to be out there looking for — even if the payoff may not be that great. I would like to know how much the cost is, but I agree . A lot of people go for that kind of stuff. Of course, I’m into George Jones. But if people actually want to go see that kind of stuff, I don’t see a problem with it. The way you get away from those decisions is you decentralize control. I mean, that’s what we’re seeing. We have tons and tons of questions we have to answer from one group or another, but one of the things that’s become very clear to me is that this state is very highly centralized and that’s put everybody in the position of one interest being pitted against another. Well, the way you get rid of that problem is you delegate. You decentralize so that everybody has more autonomy and more ability to control their own destiny. And this economic plan is a step in that direction.  ------------------------------------------------Bruce LunsfordDemocratBorn: Nov. 11, 1947Hometown: Piner, Ky., outside of Kenton CountyFavorite superhero: Superman (George Reeves version)Running mate: Greg StumboFurther:     www.lunsfordstumbo2007.com(Note to the reader: Greg Stumbo also provided some of the following answers.)  LOUISVILLE: ITS ROLE IN THE STATE, GIVE-AND-TAKE IN FRANKFORTI think you prime the pump of areas that can really have economic prosperity, because they can grow so much faster and they can fuel the rest of the state effectively. On the other hand, there’s some things that need to be done to let you do that quicker. a catch-up — a one-time catch-up . We do bonding for things — highways and roads. We’re so far behind in some things, at the rate we’re going, if we don’t do something about it, in 10, 15 years, Kentucky’s going to be like a third-world country. We’re really behind in the era of new technology. We’re behind in sewer and water access across the state. And these present limitations have hurt the local governments in terms of where they can raise money. We’ve got a third of the state that has just miserable cell phone service. We probably have a third of the state, as a result, that has no real high-speed access. We don’t have the adequate broadband to get where we need to get. This becomes a capital expense. We don’t have a long-range plan for where to take this state. If we don’t get one in a hurry, and really start up on that, we’re going to be left on the backside. What I want to do is get a group, in the four years that I’m there, to give us what it would take to do a one-time catch up and put Kentucky where it needs to be. You’d have to it with bond financing and you’d have to allocate proceeds — we are talking about doing a complete state audit.   ARTS: ROLE IN THE STATE, PUBLIC FUNDING FOR THE ARTSWhenever you support the arts, you always pull and tug at priorities. I think you have to be careful that you look at it in the proper order of preference. At this particular stage, I think the country is much more interested in healthcare, they’re much more interested in jobs, and they’re much more interested in education. Now, I consider arts to be part of that education process. I’ve been a great supporter and I think all of you know, a great interest in indie films (Lunsford is a partner in Hart-Lunsford Films, a Louisville-based production company). I think you got to have an arts community. You’ve got to have an active arts community.   ---------------------------------------------------Jonathan MillerDemocratBorn: July 24, 1967Hometown: Lexington, Ky.Favorite superhero: SupermanRunning mate: Irv MazeFurther: www.millermaze.com  LOUISVILLE: ITS ROLE IN THE STATE, GIVE-AND-TAKE IN FRANKFORTWith the Internet, geography matters a lot less, and the folks in the mountains in the Purchase area are going to, even though it takes a lot longer to drive to Central Kentucky, they can reach every corner of the state more quickly because of the Internet, and that’s something that we need to make sure, that everybody is wired to achieve that. The progress going on in China and India in some of the most remote areas of those rural countries is due to the fact that they’ve got innovative leadership, they’ve got a strong education system, and they’ve got universal connections to the Internet. Those are the three things we’re lacking right here, and those are three of the top priorities that I’m going to bring to office. I think that in that way, we’re going to bring the state closer together. But I think also, in more direct terms, it’s going to take a leader who’s not afraid of trying to avoid the polarization to say, “Listen, when we spend a dollar here in Louisville, it’s going to mean $8 or $9 to the rest of the state.” That Louisville is the economic engine that drives the state. That progress here does not mean it’s a zero-sum-game where you’re going to lose money out of Eastern Kentucky. Particularly when you get out into the mountains and into the far western part of the state, there still remains a culture that feels that, “We’re just never gonna catch a break.” Everything to me starts at education, because that provides folks with the opportunity they need. It means something when you know you might get a good job.   ARTS: ROLE IN THE STATE, PUBLIC FUNDING FOR THE ARTSEvery study you ever read about education will tell you there’s a clear correlation between arts and music and student achievement, that those students who learn how to play an instrument are always, consistently advantaged for any category, whether it’s reading, math or any other higher education measurement. So it’s essential that we remind, as we get through this reform process, that arts and music are a part of our children’s curriculum. But second, I think that arts and music as a principle has a key role in economic development. We are only going to attract the best industries and the highly educated workforce if we have a thriving arts and music community. Now, we’ve got a great community here in Louisville, we’ve got a developing one in Lexington, we’ve got a mayor and vice mayor down there who are really dedicated to it. Paducah has got a tremendous focus on the arts, and I think that all of those things are really helpful when we are trying to attract those industries here.I feel very strongly that we — this is something that’s been around for thousands of years. Da Vinci and Michelangelo, we never would’ve heard of them if it weren’t for government funding. We’re going to improve economically when we are a more vibrant arts community. There’s a direct correlation, you can look at any state — it’s a good investment, it’s not just something where we can pat ourselves on the back and say we’ve done something good and charitable, but for the bottom line it’s a good thing as well. I think some more state funding can be loosened up in that regard for the arts, but also it’s the federal level.   ---------------------------------------------------------Jody RichardsDemocratBorn: Feb. 20, 1938Hometown: Bowling Green, Ky. (born in Louisville)Favorite superhero: Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Atticus Finch (“To Kill a Mockingbird”)Running mate: John Y. Brown IIIFurther: www.jodyandjohny.com  LOUISVILLE: ITS ROLE IN THE STATE, GIVE-AND-TAKE IN FRANKFORTLouisville is our economic engine and it drives the state. During this session we passed a tax increment-financing bill that will help the Museum Plaza project, which is just awfully, awfully important. Of course, we have the bridges project here that is very important. In past years, I voted for the Kentucky Center for the Arts, the Zoo to help it financially. I would like to form a partnership with Louisville and that partnership would bring more money to Louisville. Of course, Louisville has long been concerned about the amount of money it sends and the less money it gets back. I would work with the mayor and the Metro Council to develop a plan for future growth of Louisville, and we would try to fund it.You know, I don’t really — anecdotally I have never really had that happen to me. I don’t have people saying, “I don’t want Louisville to grow,” or being jealous of it. I think this is a product of leadership. You just simply have to say, we have to make Louisville grow. It is our economic engine. It is our flagship city. And it needs to grow and develop, and it’s one of the places where the jobs are. And you just simply have to lead and tell other people , you get a lot of money from Louisville to equalize your educational opportunities. So, when Louisville has something important, we have to help them. And leadership can do that.   ARTS: ROLE IN THE STATE, PUBLIC FUNDING FOR THE ARTSWhen the education reform act was passed, I inserted a statement about developing each young person in Kentucky in the area of arts as far as they were willing to go and were capable of going. I also have been — I was there and very supportive of the development of the Kentucky Center for the Arts. It is our state arts center, and young people come by the droves to see plays and musical programs and other kinds of things there. We’re active in funding the Riverpark Center in Owensboro, which is very important in that section of Kentucky. And the Four Rivers Center for Performing Arts in Paducah. We also have those kinds of arts centers at many of our community colleges, including Madisonville, Henderson and many others. And I’m trying my best. I put $6 million into establishing one in Bowling Green. There’s so much pressure on the state budget. We have over 700,000 people on Medicaid in Kentucky, and we only have 630,000 kids in school. Just think of the enormity of that problem with the cost of Medicaid. Of course, Medicaid is an umbrella term for all kinds of people with disabilities, from children that are born with mental and physical disabilities all the way to extended care, nursing homes for the elderly. So we have to — I’m simply saying you have to — to make the budget work right, you have to deal with those things, too. I do know some places we could cut and change to put more money into education and more money into the arts, and a Jody Richards and John Y. Brown III administration will do that.   ------------------Ernie FletcherRepublicanDID NOT RESPOND  -----------------------Anne NorthupRepublicanDID NOT RESPOND