Little disagreement among candidates at 6th District primary candidate forum

04/11/2018 12:10 PM

Correction: Barr was unable to attend the event as Congress was in session on Tuesday.

FRANKFORT – Six of the seven candidates who hope to unseat U.S. Rep. Andy Barr, R-Lexington, in the 6th Congressional Dist. took part in a candidates forum at Kentucky State University sponsored by the activist group Together Frankfort Tuesday evening.

The candidates included one Republican, Chuck Eddy, along with five Democrats, Lexington Mayor Jim Gray, state Senator Reggie Thomas, Geoff Young, Daniel Kemph and Theodore Green, who tended to agree on most of the answers to questions posed by the Together Frankfort officials, as well as the audience.

Democratic candidate retired Marine Corps Lt. Col. Amy McGrath, whose father died on Monday night, was not in attendance, nor was Barr.

On the subject of reforms to the Affordable Care Act, both Thomas and Gray agreed that changes need to me made.

“I am for a single payer healthcare system,” Thomas said. “We need Medicare for all. It’s worked very well in many countries throughout this world, it can work here in America.

“I believe in continuous improvement, and I believe in fixing. If you haven’t got something right then you work on it and you fix it, you improve it, and that’s what we ought to be doing with the Affordable Care Act,” Gray said.

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Another topic was removing money from the world of politics, and all of the candidates agreed that it has become a huge problem in the political arena.

“Money is the poison of politics, and we see it play out here every day in Frankfort,” Thomas said. “Look at what’s going on with charter schools and that agenda which comes directly from people being bought off, money in politics.”

“The first thing that I would do is co-sponsor legislation which would call for a Constitutional amendment to overturn Citizen’s United,” Gray said. “Now, we’ve already got Paul Ryan’s Super PAC which has already set up an office in the 6th district, so, that tells you where it’s going right now.”

The candidates all agreed on securing the borders, but also for allowing DACA students to stay in the country and become citizens.

“I am for the dreamers,” Gray said. “It would be simply wrong to take the 800,000 children away and split up families.”

“These nearly one million children have grown up in one country and one country only, and that’s the United States,” Thomas said. “They are Americans. They’re just like my children, they’re just like your children, this is the only homeland that they’ve ever known, and yes, they deserve a path to citizenship.”

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Another topic that is of concern in the country today is the growing outstanding student loan debt carried my many college students, and what might be some of the solutions.

“I think at a minimum, the opportunity to refinance student loans, the same way we’re able to refinance a home loan, should be offered and is not being offered today,” Gray said.

“There’s a bill in Congress now, sponsored by a congressman in Michigan, that once elected, I’m going to go up and co-sponsor and get passed, and what that bill does is simply this, in those complex New York brokerage transactions, those hedge fund transactions, we’re going to add a surtax of .25 of one percent, and what that’s going to do over the course of a year is bring in over one billion dollars each year in America and we’re going to use that money, without adding a dime to our deficit, to reduce this student debt,” Thomas said.

Young, used his closing comments to take shots at both the Republican and Democratic parties, he’s suing the KDP as well as more than 100 other Democratic officials.

Kemph, Green and Eddy told the approximately 150 in attendance about their qualifications which they say make them the best choice for the job.

With a little over a month until the May 22 primary, internal polling shows that Gray is leading the Democratic field, followed by McGrath and Thomas.

Don Weber

Don Weber is a Video Journalist for Spectrum News and covers politics and education on Pure Politics, Kentucky’s only nightly program dedicated to state politics. Don is a lifelong Kentuckian and a graduate of Northern Kentucky University. He spent many years covering sports in the Northern Kentucky area before shifting primarily to politics. You can watch Don’s work weeknights at 7:00 and 11:30 on Pure Politics, available exclusively on Spectrum News, HD Channels 403 and 715. If you have a story idea you can reach Don at donald.weber@charter.com.

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