State of Kentucky Archives: on Government Reform


Amy McGrath: Implement term limits, require release of tax returns

TO CLEAN UP WASHINGTON, WE NEED TO: I have received donations from all 120 Kentucky counties--and the average donation is $36. That's democracy speaking and that kind of movement can inspire real leaders to run. Our country needs to get back to that. I pledge to work for you, not for corporations, lobbyists, or other special interests. I pledge to run a campaign that is financially transparent. And I pledge never to use my office for personal gain or to obtain special privileges not available to other Americans.
Source: 2020 Kentucky Senate campaign website AmyMcGrath.com Jun 30, 2020

Amy McGrath: We must protect election process from foreign interference

Additionally, we know that Russia tried to undermine one of our greatest treasures, our democratic process. As an American, I'm disappointed that Congress has failed to address this national security threat and deeply concerned given what is at stake. I will support legislation to protect our election process from foreign interference, legislation that Sen. McConnell single-handedly blocked for months.
Source: 2020 Kentucky Senate campaign website AmyMcGrath.com Jun 30, 2020

Amy McGrath: I served in the military for 24 years; I voted by mail

On voting: "Every Kentuckian needs to have a voice, and you should not have to put your health in danger to vote," McGrath said. "That's why we need more funding for mail-in voting. The federal government needs to help states now to be able to do this. We need to make sure we're supporting the United States Postal Service. The bottom line is that I served in the military for 24 years. I voted by mail for 24 years. It worked just fine for me. We can do this and it's the right thing to do right now."
Source: The Advocate-Messenger on 2020 Kentucky Senate race May 10, 2020

Steven Cox: Increase transparency in campaign finance

Campaign Finance Reform: We will increase accountability and transparency in campaign finance, making it easier for anyone to run for office. The candidates with the best ideas should win, not the biggest bank account.
Source: 2020 Kentucky Senate website CoxForUS.com Feb 6, 2020

Steven Cox: End Citizens United, remove corporate money from politics

End Citizens United: Corporate money should not be considered free speech. We need legislation to remove corporate money and dark interests from politics so everyone has a fair say in who wins elections.
Source: 2020 Kentucky Senate website CoxForUS.com Feb 6, 2020

Wesley Morgan: Supports term limits; repeal 17th amendment

Washington is controlled by career politicians. I support a constitutional amendment limiting time in office to 3 terms in the House and 2 terms in the Senate. I also support repeal of the 17th Amendment.
Source: 2020 Kentucky Senate website WesleyMorganForSenate.com Feb 6, 2020

Robert Goforth: Restore Felon Voting Rights

Q: Do you support a constitutional amendment to restore voting rights to felons who have completed their full sentence?

A: If someone has paid their debt to society and is obeying the law, I support their rights being restored. I would examine use of executive power to achieve this goal.

Source: KFTC.org on 2019 Kentucky Gubernatorial race Aug 7, 2019

Steven Cox: Supports any laws that ensure elections can't be bought

Campaign Finance & Election Reform: I'm for as much legislation that makes sure that elections can't be bought and sold, and reforming what current legislation allows. An individual can only contribute $2,800 per election. But if you are a Political Action Committee (PAC), you can contribute up to $5,000. If you are a Super PAC, the number is even more schemed.
Source: The Student Post on 2020 Kentucky Senate race Jun 23, 2019

Andy Beshear: Fight for every Kentuckian's right to vote

I believe that our democracy is strongest when more Kentuckians are involved in the process. As Attorney General, I launched a voting rights unit to protect and fight for every Kentuckian's right to vote. I also support the automatic restoration of voting rights for Kentuckians with a non-violent felony who have completed their sentences, and will sign an executive order doing so. We should implement automatic voter registration and make it easier for all voters to vote by absentee ballot.
Source: 2019 Kentucky Gubernatorial campaign website AndyBeshear.com May 2, 2019

Rocky Adkins: In-person early voting on three weekends prior to election

Rocky Adkins co-sponsored House Bill 253: Create a new section of KRS Chapter 117 to allow in-person early voting between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. on the three Saturdays preceding any primary, regular election, or special election; amend KRS 117.087, 117.165, 117.235, 117.995, and 118.035 to conform.

Legislative outcome: Referred to Elections, Const. Amendments & Intergovernmental Affairs (died in Committee)

Source: Kentucky legislative voting records: HB 253 on KRS 117 Feb 7, 2019

Adam Edelen: Zero Tolerance: put crooked politicians behind bars

As State Auditor, Adam Edelen took corruption head on and put crooked politicians behind bars. His record of fighting those who pad their wallets at taxpayer expense will expand with a new era of Zero Tolerance for corruption in Frankfort. Kentucky has waited long enough for an honest and ethical government that puts people first.

Money from faceless PACs has helped corrode our political system and shake the faith Kentuckians have in their government. To bring real change to Kentucky, the voices of hard working people need to be heard, not drowned out by special interests. Adam Edelen is committed to running a campaign powered by people, and is the only candidate for Governor who won't take a dime of PAC money.

Source: 2019 Kentucky governor campaign website AdamEdelen.com Dec 31, 2018

Adam Edelen: Restore Kentucky Commission on Women; 50% women in Cabinet

In his last proposed budget, Matt Bevin shamefully gutted funding to 70 programs under the Kentucky Commission on Women. These important programs did everything from combating domestic violence, working to stop the evil or human trafficking as well as funding programs to encourage young women to pursue an education in the sciences or engineering.

Adam Edelen will not only restore funds for these vital programs but also promote the Executive Director of the Kentucky Commission on Women to a member of the Governor's Cabinet. Programs that are there to empower and provide Kentucky women and girls real opportunities and needed protections will no longer be treated as optional or as bargaining chips in a state budget.

Adam is committed to ensuring that the leadership in his administration represents all Kentucky, including Kentucky women. Under an Edelen administration no less than half of the Cabinets will be led by women as its past time we ensure everyone's voice is being heard in Frankfort.

Source: 2019 Kentucky governor campaign website AdamEdelen.com Dec 31, 2018

Andy Beshear: State government operates in secret: push for transparency

Andy knows that state government is simply not working for the people. It operates in secret, and refuses to do the will of the people. He has pushed for transparency as Attorney General and believes that Kentucky should pass term limits for all public officials.
Source: 2019 Kentucky governor campaign website AndyBeshear.com Dec 31, 2018

Matt Bevin: Vetoed proposal to prevent party change before primary

Legislative Summary: House Bill 273: Ensure that any qualified voter who voluntarily removes his or her name from the voter registration list after December 31 and who subsequently wishes to register to vote prior to the next scheduled primary, shall not be considered as a "newly registered voter" for purposes of party eligibility.

Analysis by WAVE-3 News: HB 273 prevented voters from removing their names from the state's voter registration list and subsequently registering to vote in the next primary as a newly registered voter. The goal was to prevent voters from circumnavigating existing law which prevents switching registration just to vote in another party's primary. Bevin said the measure would make Kentucky's "closed primary" system even more closed.Legislative Outcome: Passed House 84-5-10 on Mar/5/18; Passed Senate 38-0-0 on Apr/14/18; Vetoed by Governor Matt Bevin on Apr/26/18

Source: WAVE-3 News analysis of Kentucky HB 273 voting records Apr 26, 2018

C. Wesley Morgan: Make it hard to switch party registration before primary

Legislative Summary: House Bill 273: Ensure that any qualified voter who voluntarily removes his or her name from the voter registration list after December 31 and who subsequently wishes to register to vote prior to the next scheduled primary, shall not be considered as a "newly registered voter" for purposes of party eligibility.

Analysis by WAVE-3 News: HB 273 prevented voters from removing their names from the state's voter registration list and subsequently registering to vote in the next primary as a newly registered voter. The goal was to prevent voters from circumnavigating existing law which prevents switching registration just to vote in another party's primary. Bevin said the measure would make Kentucky's "closed primary" system even more closed.Legislative Outcome: Passed House 84-5-10 on Mar/5/18; State Rep. C. Wesley Morgan voted YES; Passed Senate 38-0-0 on Apr/14/18; Vetoed by Governor Matt Bevin on Apr/26/18

Source: WAVE-3 News analysis of Kentucky HB 273 voting records Mar 5, 2018

Rocky Adkins: Make it hard to switch party registration before primary

Legislative Summary: House Bill 273: Ensure that any qualified voter who voluntarily removes his or her name from the voter registration list after December 31 and who subsequently wishes to register to vote prior to the next scheduled primary, shall not be considered as a "newly registered voter" for purposes of party eligibility.

Analysis by WAVE-3 News: HB 273 prevented voters from removing their names from the state's voter registration list and subsequently registering to vote in the next primary as a newly registered voter. The goal was to prevent voters from circumnavigating existing law which prevents switching registration just to vote in another party's primary. Bevin said the measure would make Kentucky's "closed primary" system even more closed.Legislative Outcome: Passed House 84-5-10 on Mar/5/18; State House Minority Leader Rocky Adkins voted YES; Passed Senate 38-0-0 on Apr/14/18; Vetoed by Governor Matt Bevin on Apr/26/18

Source: WAVE-3 News analysis of Kentucky HB 273 voting records Mar 5, 2018

Alison Grimes: Presidential Commission on Election Integrity is a sham

Kentucky's secretary of State delivered a biting rejection of a presidential voter fraud commission's broad request for voter registration information, saying she will not comply with the demand.

"There's not enough bourbon here in Kentucky to make this request seem sensible," Alison Lundergan Grimes (D) said on MSNBC. "Not on my watch are we going to be releasing sensitive information that relate to the privacy of individuals. Not on my watch are we going to be turning over something that's left to the states to run." Kentucky is among at least 24 states that have either wholly or in part rejected a request by the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity to hand over key voter registration information as part of its investigation into President Trump's claims of widespread illegal voting.

Lundergan Grimes told The Hill that the commission was "formulated on a sham premise" and its mission goes against states' right to run their own elections and voter registration.

Source: The Hill coverage of 2019 Kentucky Governor race Jun 30, 2017

James Comer: Self-imposed term limit of 6 terms

Our founding fathers never envisioned a Congress where elected officials stayed in office for decades. In fact, most of the founding fathers were farmers. I support term limits and pledge to take a self-imposed term limit of 6 terms. I have also signed the U.S. Term Limits Amendment Pledge to co-sponsor and vote for the U.S. Term Limits Amendment.
Source: 2016 Kentucky House campaign website JamesComer.com Nov 8, 2016

C. Wesley Morgan: Redistricting based on realistic boundaries

Q: Do you support limits on the following types of contributions for state candidates: Individual?

A: No.

Q: Political Action Committee?

A: Yes.

Q: Corporate?

A: Yes.

Q: Political Party?

A: No.

Q: Should candidates for state office be encouraged to meet voluntary spending limits?

A: No.

Q: Do you support requiring full and timely disclosure of campaign finance information?

A: No.

Q: Do you support the use of an independent AND/OR bipartisan commission for redistricting?

A: Yes. I support it but I believe all citizens are equal so redistricting should be based only upon realistic boundaries and not manipulated to the advantage of a political party.

Q: Do you support requiring a government-issued photo identification in order to vote at the polls?

A: Yes.

Source: Kentucky State Legislative 2016 Political Courage Test Nov 1, 2016

Jim Gray: Campaign finance system is broken; root it out

Super PACs are running amok, and anonymous donors have too much control over our political system. Let's put the American people back in charge of elections. It's time to clean it up and get the government working for the people again.

Kentuckians are fed up with Washington and politicians that are out to help themselves and their cronies. It's clear that our campaign finance system is broken, and we need to elect new leadership to root out this rigged system.

The Supreme Court decision in Citizens United has opened the floodgates for billionaires and special interests to spend unlimited, untraceable money in America's elections. It is a cancer in our democracy that billionaires are using to tip the scales in their favor.

The voters deserve to know who is influencing their elected leaders, which is why Jim supports increased disclosure. There's no good reason why political spending should be kept secret.

Source: 2016 Kentucky Senate campaign website, GrayForKentucky.com Aug 8, 2016

Adam Edelen: Bring transparency to $2.7B layer of "ghost government"

GHOST GOVERNMENT REFORM: Adam's proudest accomplishment of his first two years in office is a historic, award-winning effort to reform a $2.7 billion layer of "ghost government" in Kentucky. His leadership has made the Commonwealth a national model for bringing transparency and accountability to special districts.
Source: 2015 Kentucky campaign website Adam Edelen for Auditor Nov 1, 2015

Mitch McConnell: Federal shutdown was just a 2-week paid vacation: bad policy

Q: What about this Republican brawl over trying to tie the defunding of ObamaCare to shutting down the U.S. government?

McCONNELL: You know, one of my favorite old Kentucky sayings is there's no education in the second kick of a mule. The first kick of the mule occurred back in 1995 when the Republican House shut down the government. Shutting down the government, in my view, is not conservative policy. I don't think a two-week paid vacation for federal employees is conservative policy. A number of us were saying back in July that this strategy could not and would not work, and of course it didn't. So there will not be another government shutdown. You can count on that.

Q: Well, how badly do you think the country was hurt by all of this?

McCONNELL: It certainly didn't do the country any good to have both a government shutdown and a pending fiscal crisis right on top of it. I think it was important to do the right thing for the country [by ending the shutdown]. And we did it.

Source: CBS Face the Nation 2013 series: 2014 Kentucky Senate race Oct 20, 2013

Alison Grimes: Lifelong commitment to protecting the right to vote

Secretary Grimes has a lifelong commitment to public service and, in particular, protecting the right to vote. She grew up canvassing Kentucky's precincts to make sure all citizens had access to vote. Additionally, she has served as a precinct officer for the 75th Legislative District and a member of the 2008 DNC Rules Committee.

In 2011, Grimes [ran for office with a] commitment to creating jobs, encouraging business growth, promoting civics education and increasing participation in elections.

Source: Kentucky Secretary of State website, "Biography" Jun 6, 2013

Steve Beshear: Smart Government: sell surplus land, buildings and vehicles

The biggest challenge is finding the resources we need to strengthen our core. After inheriting a global recession, we spent five years bringing common sense to state spending--and we've done so in three ways:
  1. Cuts. We reduced the state budget 13 times in five years, cutting spending by $1.6 billion and trimming the state workforce to its smallest size in nearly four decades. Some agencies have been slashed up to 38%.
  2. We found more efficient ways to run daily operations. Through our multi-year Smart Government Initiative, we've realized both one-time windfalls and annual savings by selling surplus land, buildings and vehicles, consolidating offices, renegotiating contracts and bids, and changing how we buy goods and services.
  3. And we made revolutionary changes to huge budget drains--closing a state prison as part of a wider Corrections reform, privatizing Medicaid and reining in benefits for public employees.
Source: 2013 State of the State speech to Kentucky Legislature Feb 6, 2013

Steve Beshear: 6-day furlough for state workers; cut top staff salaries 10%

Talking about shrinking government is easy. Actually doing it requires courage and commitment. Faced with crushing shortfalls, we have balanced Kentucky's budget eight times in three years, slashing over a billion dollars in spending.

We have reduced the executive branch to its smallest size in decades, including a reduction in the so-called non-merit work force by an additional $5 million, starting at the highest levels. In my own office, six of the most important jobs--including budget director and chief of staff--are being performed by three people. Perks like take-home cars are a thing of the past. And when we made the tough decision to save $24 million by furloughing most state workers for 6 days, we included my entire staff. I'm taking the 6 days without pay myself, & I also voluntarily cut my own salary an additional 10%--as have my top staff and cabinet secretaries. My message to the people of the state is this: We are in this together. We will share your sacrifice because we work for you.

Source: 2011 Kentucky State of the State Address Feb 1, 2011

Jack Conway: I stood up for the people against price-gouging & lies

Q: What's the choice for Kentucky voters?

CONWAY: We need to put the people of Kentucky first. The special interests in Washington have enough people standing up for them. As attorney general, I have stood up for the people of Kentucky. I've taken on pharmaceutical companies when they have lied to our Medicaid program. I have taken on oil companies that have gouged us. There's a real clear choice between someone who has taken on the drug issue and someone who says that drugs aren't a pressing issue in Kentucky, someone who stands up to criminals and someone who says that nonviolent behavior shouldn't be a crime. I mean, that's a really clear choice.

Q: Attorney General Conway, you have even gone further than that. On the campaign trail you have called Dr. Paul "crazy." Your campaign ads call him "out of touch."

CONWAY: I'm not saying Dr. Paul is crazy. I think some of his ideas are out of the mainstream and they're out of touch with the values of normal Kentuckians.

Source: Fox News Sunday, 2010 Kentucky Senate debate Oct 3, 2010

Steve Beshear: Comprehensive ethics package to restore trust

It is critical that trust and credibility be restored if weíre to accomplish anything else. Thatís why I announced just last week a comprehensive ethics package that includes a Constitutional amendment to limit a Governorís power to pardon. It reduces th Governorís influence in making appointments to the Executive Branch Ethics Commission and requires more disclosure of donations to a public officialís legal defense fund while banning lobbyists and those doing business with the State from contributing.
Source: Kentucky 2008 State of the State Address Jan 14, 2008

  • The above quotations are from Commonwealth of Kentucky Politicians: Archives.
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2020 Presidential contenders on Government Reform:
  Democrats running for President:
Sen.Michael Bennet (D-CO)
V.P.Joe Biden (D-DE)
Mayor Mike Bloomberg (I-NYC)
Gov.Steve Bullock (D-MT)
Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D-IN)
Sen.Cory Booker (D-NJ)
Secy.Julian Castro (D-TX)
Gov.Lincoln Chafee (L-RI)
Rep.John Delaney (D-MD)
Rep.Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI)
Sen.Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)
Gov.Deval Patrick (D-MA)
Sen.Bernie Sanders (I-VT)
CEO Tom Steyer (D-CA)
Sen.Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)
Marianne Williamson (D-CA)
CEO Andrew Yang (D-NY)

2020 Third Party Candidates:
Rep.Justin Amash (L-MI)
CEO Don Blankenship (C-WV)
Gov.Lincoln Chafee (L-RI)
Howie Hawkins (G-NY)
Gov.Gary Johnson(L-NM)
Howard Schultz(I-WA)
Gov.Jesse Ventura (I-MN)
Republicans running for President:
Sen.Ted Cruz(R-TX)
Gov.Larry Hogan (R-MD)
Gov.John Kasich(R-OH)
V.P.Mike Pence(R-IN)
Gov.Mark Sanford (R-SC)
Pres.Donald Trump(R-NY)
Rep.Joe Walsh (R-IL)
Gov.Bill Weld(R-MA & L-NY)

2020 Withdrawn Democratic Candidates:
Sen.Stacey Abrams (D-GA)
Mayor Bill de Blasio (D-NYC)
Sen.Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)
Sen.Mike Gravel (D-AK)
Sen.Kamala Harris (D-CA)
Gov.John Hickenlooper (D-CO)
Gov.Jay Inslee (D-WA)
Mayor Wayne Messam (D-FL)
Rep.Seth Moulton (D-MA)
Rep.Beto O`Rourke (D-TX)
Rep.Tim Ryan (D-CA)
Adm.Joe Sestak (D-PA)
Rep.Eric Swalwell (D-CA)
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