Our future depends on an educated and skilled populace. Fully funding public education, from pre-K to higher education, is vital to this goal. Slashing school budgets hurts students, teachers, and our communities. For 2018-2019, public schools in Kentucky had their entire funding for textbooks and teacher professional development eliminated. There were also cuts to funding for preschool. And any increase in SEEK funding, when adjusted for inflation, is lower than pre-2008 levels. SB1 mandated safety measures for school districts, but did not provide any funding. We need to increase funding for our public schools.
When higher education budgets are cut, it means two things: 1) a reduction in staff & services and 2) increased tuition. When I started NKU in 2001, a full-time semester cost $1,200. Now it costs more than $4,800. If obtaining a college degree becomes out of reach for more and more families, our workforce suffers. I will work toward restoring funding for public higher education to pre-2008 levels.
The heroin epidemic is the number one issue facing our community today. Northern Kentucky has been hit especially hard. Everyone knows someone who has been impacted by this issue. In order to combat this epidemic, and to stop the spread of Hepatitis C and HIV in our community, we must implement research-based solutions.
There are talks of raising the sales and gas tax, implementing a tax on groceries and prescription medicine, and cutting services at the state level (causing taxes at the local and county level to increase). These increases hurt middle and working class families. I support keeping taxes low for everyday Kentuckians along with equitable tax reform.
Kentucky has more than 36,000 public employees, and 41,000 retirees, whose pensions and benefits are in jeopardy. Teachers, police officers, fire fighters, social workers, and others dedicate themselves to making our lives better and deserve what was promised to them. In order to attract and retain quality workers in these fields, most of whom do not collect Social Security, a strong pension system is needed. These people are our family, our friends, our neighbors, and they make our communities a safer and better place.
I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for the small business owners in my family. My grandfather owns a roofing business. My great uncle owned a body shop. My aunt and uncle own a real estate business. All in Kenton County. Working people are the backbone of our economy, and small businesses make up more than 96% of the employers in Kentucky, employing nearly 50% of the private-sector workforce.
As the U.S. Small Business Association states, “Small businesses are crucial to the fiscal condition of (Kentucky).” They deserve our support. Multi-million dollar handouts to large corporations not only waste tax payer dollars, but also hurt Kentucky’s small businesses and hinder them from thriving. I strongly support our local businesses.
I’ve been a dog lover since I was a little kid. We had a sheep dog named Molly who I would ride like a horse. My golden retriever, Ruby, is a part of my family and I love her dearly. I would do anything to keep her safe.
That’s why I find it both shocking and embarrassing that the Animal Legal Defense Fund has ranked Kentucky the worst state in the nation for animal protection laws for ten years in a row. The ALDF writes, “The bottom-tiered states have inadequate standards of basic care for animals, limited authority given to humane officers, and lack of mandatory reporting when veterinarians suspect animal cruelty.”
We can take a few steps to improve animal welfare in Kentucky at NO COST to taxpayers. Join me in fighting for our furry companions. Ruby and I thank you.