Heiner tries to paint Comer as Frankfort establishment; Makes pitch to improve business climate

05/23/2014 09:57 AM

Republican gubernatorial candidate Hal Heiner is staying on message and touting his business roots and his time outside of Frankfort when asked about potential challengers for the GOP nomination.

Heiner, a Louisville developer, is currently the lone Republican to form a slate and file to run in the 2015 race for governor, but Agriculture Commissioner James Comer has been hinting for more than a year that he might run.

In a recent interview on WKYT’s Newsmakers with Bill Bryant, Comer took a swipe at Heiner calling him not inspiring.

When asked about the comment this week, Heiner chose not to fire back at Comer but said voters will have a “clear choice” in the election.

“My background is in business and in job creation for the last 30 years of my life. I’ve been an advocate for education reform — I’ve been outside of Frankfort,” Heiner said. “As I talk to Kentuckians they’re looking for someone with a new higher vision for Kentucky that’s been outside of Frankfort to bring those business principles into government.”

Comer has been a vocal advocate for the production of hemp as way to grow jobs in Kentucky, and has even been battling the Drug Enforcement Agency in court to gain access to hemp seeds.

Heiner said he recognized the need for the initiative, but implied the crop was antiquated.

“It’s big in Kentucky in the 1840’s, you know it has some possibilities for the future. My focus is how do we bring in jobs so we can get Kentuckians back to work,” Heiner said.

The Louisville businessman so far has focused his pitch toward job creation and possible regulatory reforms to make the state more business friendly.

Part of the way Kentucky can grow jobs is to become more business friendly, Heiner said. When asked about the need for tax reform Heiner said there was a “whole host or areas” that included tax structure and business regulations to which reforms are needed.

“If we change the structure in Frankfort. We can very quickly get Kentucky into the top ten list for business friendly states,” he said.

When asked if the state should allow corporations to not pay income tax, Heiner did avoided the question saying that he would “have a full policy” when it came to tax reforms.

“The important part on Kentucky from the tax structure in Kentucky is that we are competitive from other states,” Heiner said adding that he would take cues based on what was working in other states.


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