Thursday, April 12, 2007

Northern Kentucky Regional Gubernatorial Debate Recap

The highlight of the night may have come from the guy doing sound. He addressed his comments to Campbell County Democratic Party Chairman Ken Mulliken: "I don't tell you how to do politics, you don't tell me how to do sound."

Sitting in the audience tonight was Kentucky Democratic Party Chairman Jerry Lundergan and Steve Beasher's running mate, Dr. Daniel Mongiardo.

Former Lt. Governor and current gubernatorial candidate Steve Henry was a no-show because today was the ONLY day that his production company could film for a commercial. I'm sorry but if you can't attend a debate to discuss the issues because you are too busy to film a commercial, you have no reason to be running for office. Could the production company not wait another day? Could it have been done earlier?

The seating order from left to right: Steve Beshear, Gatewood Galbraith, Otis Bullman Hensley, Bruce Lunsford, Jonathan Miller, and Jody Richards.

Ken Mulliken started the night off well, and while I couldn't write down every single word, I made sure to get the highlights or summarize. First and foremost, "we need a new governor."

Maryanne Zelznik introduced the candidates and panelists (Stephanie Steitzer, Jack Brammer, Pat Crowley, Misty Maynard).

Introductory remarks:
Hensley - Dead set against casino gambling and against placing it on the ballot.
Galbraith - Both parties are playing blood sports and should come together and unite.
Lunsford - Talks about how he worked for former Governor John Y. Brown, Jr. He decided to run for governor to make Kentucky competitive and because he claims he can get things done. No mention of his Ernie Fletcher endorsement in 2003.
Beashear - Mentions his running mate, Dr. Daniel Mongiardo. Bold, competent, and experienced leadership. Calls for an amendment for expanded gaming. He said we need to bring money back home instead of spending it in Illinois, Indiana, and West Virginia. Put Kentucky first.
Richards - Reach Kentucky's potential. Help all reach potential. Educational system is the foundation of the state, and we need to make it better. Proposes an affordable COB (I think I heard that right) program.
Miller - Appreciates the attendance and mentions his campaign slogan, "A Lot Less Talk, A Lot More Action." Mentions his past policy initiatives such as KAPT and the Military Family Bill of Rights. He's been in classrooms to teach financial education.

Panelist questions:
Kentucky Enquirer columnist Pat Crowley asked about replacing the Spence Bridge and whether or not there would be a toll placed on the road.
Galbraith - Would not support a toll.
Beshear - Fix the bridge. Sit down with the feds. Toll is a last resort.
Miller - Opposed to tolls. Essiential for the government to reach across the aisle. Willing to work with both parties and pledged to build a bridge.
Hensley - No toll.
Richards - Tolls are not the answer. Get the money from DC.
Lunsford - Mentions JYB2 again. Does not believe in tolls and talks about performing a comprehensive state audit.

Maysville Ledger Independent columnist Misty Maynard asked about an increase in cigarette taxes given the large amount of deaths caused by smoking effects in the commonwealth.
Beshear - No increase in taxes. Focus on gambling revenue to fund education and health care.
Miller - Amendment for gambling but layout terms for where the money would go, such as education and health care. Top to bottom look at the situation with everything being placed on the table.
Hensley - Healthcare to bring insurance rates down.
Richards - Comprehensive wellness program to increase prevention of smoking.
Lunsford - Serious problem in Kentucky. Universal healthcare plan that he is proposing would look at the tax. How much longer we deal with the problem would be solved immediately. He has a four point plan.
Galbraith - Against taxes in general. Choice belongs to the people. Education is the answer. Fully fund the health departments.

Lexington Herald-Leader columnist Jack Brammer asked about the beverage container fees.
Miller - Comprehensive tax reform with nothing off the table. Moral road for the environment. Reduce burden on the citizens with a lower income.
Hensley - Don't raise taxes.
Richards - Doesn't favor a container tax. Legislation has brought in tons of garbage which should be used for alternative energy.
Lunsford - Doesn't support the tax. Praises Mayor Abramson's Operation Brightside policy initiative in my hometown. Prefers the JFK method of tax-cutting to stimulate the economy which he says works.
Galbraith - Stay out of private business but enforce the litter laws.
Beshear - Litter and garbage is a problem. Government needs to set the tone and be a leader.

Louisville Courier-Journal columnist Stephanie Steitzer asked about what can be done with building schools fast enough given the growing development in areas like Northern Kentucky.
Hensley - If people want to sell their homes, he's all for it but don't go asking others for their land. Galbraith then comments to him that he misunderstood the question. He then says to start at the bottom and he's all for building new schools.
Richards - The Facilities Construction Commission is doing a good job but there is not enough funding. The SEEK formula does more harm than good in in fast growing areas like Northern Kentucky and Bowling Green.
Lunsford - Revise the SEEK formula. Areas are having strain when they should be fed more. There is an opportunity to grow more and you need to recognize the importance.
Galbraith - Education is the issue. $12-15 hour jobs are not coming in.
Beshear - Northern Kentucky is a prime example. There's not enough money and there needs to be a new revenue stream. Address teacher salaries and new schools.
Miller - We need money. Disagrees with Ernie Fletcher. The schools need it right now and he will fight for it as governor.

Pat Crowley then asked the biggest question of the night: where do the candidates stand on expanded gaming?
Richards - For it. Allow the people to vote on it. Limit the number of casinos. Prefers the racetracks as locations. Monitored and regulated by the state government. Be in local control.
Lunsford - It is time to let the people vote on it. Legislation is difficult to pass and there will be much debate over what should be presented. There should be resources to help the addicts.
Galbraith - If the people pass it, he recommends the racetracks. The state should own casinos so that the revenue brought in can fund the underfunded programs.
Beshear - "By now, you know where I stand." It takes leadership to bring the groups together. Race track locations preferred or free-standing locations. Open for the people to vote.
Miller - "You also know where I stand." Race tracks preferred. There will be a big political battle. These are different times and we are facing new challenges. It's an economic incentive.
Hensley - Mentions HB 725. Not in favor of expanded gaming.

Misty Maynard asks where the candidates stand on teaching Creationism in the schools.
Lunsford - Leave the curriculum up to the schools.
Galbraith - Keep it out of the schools. There is a religious and spiritual context.
Beshear - His father was a Baptist minister. Keep it to [insert religious place of worship] and home. Limit the testing for students given KERA, NCLB, and ACT.
Miller - G-d created Heaven and the Earth. Keep the subject to comparative religion or theology classes. Do not teach in science classrooms.
Hensley - Teachers are overworked.
Richards - The General Assembly has not meddled in curriculum as of late and they have resisted the idea of mandating curriculum.

Jack Brammer asks what the candidates will do about Governor Paul Patton's executive order to create an advisory council for collective bargaining.
Galbraith - Give them the right to bargain but not to strike.
Beshear - Reinstitute the council.
Miller - Reinstate the order. The minimum wage increase should be tied in to the cost of living.
Hensley - Wouldn't put it back.
Richards - Reinstate the order.
Lunsford - Reimplement the order. Plugs JYB2 again for having a strong secretary of labor.

Louisville Courier-Journal columnist Stephanie Steitzer then asked another heated question dealing with abortion.
Beshear - It's a family decision but we should work to reduce the number of abortions.
Miller - Reduce the number of abortions. Talks about a plan to empower the young teenagers, encourage adoptions, and fight poverty.
Hensley - Work on a compromise.
Richards - Pro-life. Encourage adoptions.
Lunsford - Listens to his daughters. Education is an issue. Lower the number of abortions. Attack poverty.
Galbraith - Against abortion. Family decision.

There were student questions and closing statements afterwards but I decided against taking notes of those. Photos will be online soon.

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