Latest statewide TV ad from Heiner focuses on job creation including e-verify program

03/19/2015 01:59 PM

UPDATED: With 60 days until the May 19 primary for governor, GOP candidate Hal Heiner is sharpening his policy message as a job creator by laying out an e-verify plan to “protect jobs for legal Kentuckians.”

Heiner’s latest 30-second statewide television ad re-emphasizes his business background laying out part of his “Kentucky First” plan for the state.

The ad mention three main points in his jobs plan: fighting Obama’s mandates, reducing personal taxes and implementing e-verify to prevent illegal immigrants from taking Kentucky jobs.

Heiner said Washington is struggling to address illegal immigration so he will focus on the issue in the commonwealth with the e-verify program.

“E-Verify is a simple, commonsense measure we can put in place at the state level to protect employment opportunities for Kentucky citizens and legal immigrants,” Heiner said in a statement. “It comes at no cost to employers, makes it easier for them to comply with existing employment law and rewards our current citizens and those who have immigrated to the US legally.”

Heiner’s campaign said the program would be mandatory, but that there are already 2,500 businesses voluntarily participating in an e-verify program in Kentucky. As governor, Heiner’s campaign said he would work with the business community to phase in the law.

At least 19 states require some form of a worker e-verification program.

At least one GOP candidate for governor thinks Heiner has the wrong idea.

““Forcing employers to serve as border security guards through a very questionable federal program is not much of a jobs plan,” former Kentucky Supreme Court Justice and GOP candidate for governor Will T. Scott said. “I’m opposed.”

Other GOP candidates did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the e-verify program.

Kate Miller, the program director for The Kentucky American Civil Liberties Union, said the program, which is administered by the Department of Homeland Security and subsequently President Barack Obama, is “burdensome and bureaucratic. For example, it has already erroneously put native born Americans out of work because of incorrect information in the system.”

“Furthermore, the scope of private information it houses creates enormous privacy and security risks,” Miller said. “While we agree with Hal Heiner that our immigration system is not currently meeting our country’s needs as it was designed for earlier times, and laws should be updated, his recommendation of mandatory E-Verify for Kentucky business owners isn’t very practical.”

“Kentucky is only able to move forward when we focus on putting in place a common sense immigration system that fully captures all Kentuckians talents, ideas and entrepreneurship. Hal Heiner’s proposal falls far short of the workable reforms needed to build a shared prosperity among all Kentuckians.”

See the ad here:

In the ad Heiner points to 20,000 fewer jobs in the state, something Gov. Steve Beshear says is “just plain wrong.”

“Hal Heiner is just plain wrong — either he’s intentionally misleading Kentuckians or he can’t do math,” Beshear said. “The facts are we have added thousands of jobs. Look at today’s report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics — Kentucky has added 50,000 jobs since February 2012.”

“Our unemployment rate just dropped again to 5.2% — that’s lower than the national average for the seventh month in a row. Once again, political candidates are entitled to their own opinions but not entitled to their own facts — and these facts override Hal Heiner’s political ambition.”

Heiner’s campaign looked at Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers from December 2012 to December 2014. The official numbers show Kentucky’s unemployment rate at 8.1 percent in December 2012 and falling to 5.5 percent in December 2014.

To get to 20,000 fewer jobs Heiner’s campaign subtracted the overall employment numbers which were 1,885,081 in 2012 and 1,865,564 in 2014 — a reduction of 19,217 people employed.

In December 2012, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 165,326 Kentuckians unemployed at the time which dropped to 107,663 in December 2014.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics also shows an overall drop in the labor force of 76,880 with 2,050,407 people in the labor force in Dec. 2012 and 1,973,527 in December 2014.

The unemployment rate in Kentucky has continued to improve after a drastic fall across the nation thanks to the 2008 recession. At its worst the unemployment rate in Kentucky hit nearly 11 percent in June of 2009. Since that time Kentucky’s unemployment rate has continued to rebound with a preliminary rate of 5.2 percent in January 2015, a rate not seen in Kentucky since before the recession.

Heiner faces former U.S. Senate candidate and Louisville investment manager Matt Bevin, Agriculture Commissioner James Comer and former Kentucky Supreme Court Justice Will T. Scott in the May 19 primary.

About Nick Storm

Nick Storm is the Anchor and Managing Editor of Pure Politics, the only nightly program dedicated to Kentucky politics. Nick covers all of the political heavyweights and his investigative work brings to light issues that might otherwise go unnoticed, like the connection between the high profile Steubenville, Ohio rape and a Kentucky hacker whose push for further investigation could put him in federal prison. Nick is also working on a feature length bio documentary Outlaw Poet: A documentary on Ron Whitehead. Follow Nick on Twitter @NickStorm_cn2. Nick can be reached at 502-792-1107 or nicholas.storm@twcnews.com.

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