GOP candidates for Congress in N.Ky. say debt is No. 1 issue but highlight different backgrounds

01/22/2012 01:47 PM

(WITH VIDEO) MAYSVILLE — The trio of Republican candidates seeking the GOP nomination for Congress in Northern Kentucky each tried to stake out fiscally conservative positions in their first joint appearance Saturday.

State Rep. Alecia Webb-Edgington of Fort Wright, Boone County Judge-Executive Gary Moore and Lewis County Judge-Executive Thomas Massie then tried to subtly distinguish themselves from one another with their personal experiences as they addressed the crowd at the Buffalo Trace Lincoln Day dinner at the Maysville convention center.

All three talked about the need to cut the nation’s spending in order to rein in the $15 trillion dollar debt.

Webb-Edgington, the first one to announce for Congress following U.S. Rep. Geoff Davis’ decision not to run again, touted her background as a former Kentucky State Police major to underscore her toughness in the face of pressure.

“Even though (some criminals) were a lot bigger than me, I’ll tell you, if I decided somebody was going to jail, they went to jail,” she said, prompting some laughs. “As you can imagine, that led to a few altercations in life. And two broken noses later, I never backed down from fulfilling those responsibilities.”

Webb-Edgington has served in the General Assembly since 2008. She voted with 35 other Republicans against a measure in 2010 that would have raised $300 million in revenue and ultimately supported the 2011-2012 budget that made cuts to state programs — but did increase the amount the state borrowed.

Webb-Edgington also punctuated her remarks with a warning that the United States “cannot ignore the threat of a nuclear Iran and we must stand up for Israel — our greatest ally in an increasingly unstable Middle East.”

Moore, who is in his fourth term as Boone County judge-executive, was the second Republican to get in the race. He told the group of Northern Kentucky Republicans that he brings a mix of government experience and 35 years of business experience in the housing construction supply industry. He said he and his wife, Court of Appeals Judge Joy Moore, deliberated through prayer about making the run.

“It was over that prayer that we decided this is where we needed to be — that I needed to be in this race,” Moore said at the beginning of his remarks.

Moore focused part of his speech on the economic growth in Boone Count over the past 12 years and how property taxes are 7 percent lower now than when he took office in January 1999. He also said he “never applied a new tax in my tenure.”

But, as the Kentucky Enquirer reported last April, Moore’s vote to increase sewer fees for a sanitation district sparked criticism from the tea party movement. Moore said he voted for the increase to pay for U.S. Environmental Protection Agency requirements, which he says needs to be reined in.

And Moore also publicly supported a parks tax, which voters rejected in the 2008 election. That also was a controversial issue in Moore’s 2010 re-election in which he narrowly defeated then-County Commissioner Cathy Flaig by 74 votes.

Massie, meanwhile, has just one full year of being judge-executive under his belt.

He has touted his moves to find efficiencies in government, which he has said was more than $210,000 so far.

Massie has strongly backed U.S. Sen. Rand Paul and contributed to U.S. Rep. Ron Paul’s 2012 run for president and has gathered early tea party support. A graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Massie co-founded a three-dimensional imaging technology company in 1993 after raising $32 million in venture capital funds.

He outlined his reasons for running, some of which he discussed earlier this week on Pure Politics.

- Video produced by Don Weber with additional reporting by Ryan Alessi

About Pure Politics

Pure Politics airs Monday through Friday at 7 p.m. ET and again at 11:30 p.m. ET in all of cn|2's Kentucky markets. The program features political analysis and news, as well as interviews with officials, candidates, policy makers and political observers.

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