Democrat in 50th House District race says incumbent put profits over seniors in new ad

10/16/2014 10:17 AM

State Rep. David Floyd’s Democratic opponent is taking him to task for votes on legislation that would have created fingerprint-based background checks for nursing home employees and a registry for workers who abused or molested residents, accusing the 10-year incumbent of keeping an eye on his profits instead of the state’s best interests.

But Floyd, R-Bardstown, called the 30-second spot misleading because the facility he owns, Windsor Gardens Retirement Communities, already performs background checks on applicants as required by law and Kentucky has a nurse aide registry to report resident abuse.

“Instead of protecting vulnerable seniors, David Floyd used his power as state representative to protect his nursing home’s profits,” the narrator in Democrat Audrey Haydon’s ad says.

The spot, produced by newSouth Strategies, can be viewed here:

Haydon, a Bardstown attorney who holds a $12,000 fundraising advantage on Floyd, said her opponents voting record should be scrutinized by the 50th House District’s electorate. She called the ad “100 percent factual.”

Floyd, however, disputes that. He said the three bills referenced in Haydon’s ad would require additional manpower from the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, Kentucky State Police and other government agencies, and he noted the bills died in the Senate without floor votes.

“Notice there’s an appropriation also in each of these bills,” Floyd told Pure Politics in a phone interview. “The appropriation does several things. One of them is it pays for the background checks, so the accusation was that I did it to protect my profits, but of course I already do background checks because it’s required by law, and if they pay for it, then I don’t have to.

“So it had nothing to do with profits. In fact, it would have been better for our bottom line if the bill had passed.”

Floyd also opposed a fingerprint-based registry for nursing professionals, saying such a system would treat “every prospective employee of any nursing home, assisted living hospital” as “suspects in a crime.”

He suggested that if he proposed such a system for all Kentucky’s teachers in response to those charged with sexual misconduct involving students “there would be, and rightly so, and outcry.”

“Yet it would be for the protection of children in the same way that this implied that we are fighting for protecting seniors,” Floyd said.

Haydon, however, said the legislation on background checks would have created a uniform system for all nursing home operators.

“It’s wonderful if he does a background check, but that doesn’t mean that he’s obligated to do the same kind of background check that would have been more extensive and would have pulled up a lot more data on the folks that are working with elderly individuals in nursing homes,” she said.

“And the fact of the matter is when you look at the voting record, both of the background checks are not exactly controversial bills. … I mean, (House Republican Floor Leader) Jeff Hoover voted for both of them. Both had a broad amount of bipartisan support, so I’m sure he wants to explain his way out of them.”

The bills referenced in the ad, 2012’s House Bill 250, 2013’s House Bill 73 and this year’s House Bill 277, passed the chamber by votes of 62-36, 85-14 and 87-11, respectively.

Don’t expect Floyd to counter with an ad of his own in response to Haydon’s.

“I could be reactive in all these accusations,” Floyd said, noting another ad attacking his vote against an omnibus bill that, among other things, created a voluntary pension relief fund that’s been empty since its launch. “There’s been two (ads) now, and the rest of the story is a complete vindication, and so I grow tired of it and I think that the people realize that they can’t trust these ads.”

Haydon, on her pension ad, said her campaign is holding Floyd accountable for taking credit for solving an issue that he voted against.

“He’s been there 10 years,” she said. “I suppose he’s got the double speak down pat.”

Kevin Wheatley

Kevin Wheatley is a reporter for Pure Politics. He joined cn|2 in September 2014 after five years at The State Journal in Frankfort, where he covered Kentucky government and politics. You can reach him at kevin.wheatley@charter.com or 502-792-1135 and follow him on Twitter at @KWheatley_cn2.

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