.....Advertisement.....
.....Advertisement.....

Chandler, Barr face off again next Tuesday for seat in Congress

-A A +A
By Ben Carlson

By Ben Carlson
News staff
Incumbent Congressman Ben Chandler (D-Versailles) scored a narrow victory challenger Andy Barr (R-Lexington) two years ago to retain his seat in Congress, and the two are squaring off again next Tuesday in one of the most anticipated races of the year.
The Anderson News asked each candidate the same questions to preview their race, and their responses are as follows.

Ben Chandler
What are the top three reasons people in Anderson County should vote for you?
First, I have a history of working to help the people of Anderson County. From helping the Lawrenceburg Fire Department receive a new fire truck to working with the county to expand the water district, I am proud of the work I’ve done to help this county.
Second, I promise to continue standing up for Kentucky jobs, as I have in the past when I stepped in to block China’s unfair trade practices and save 300 jobs in Central Kentucky.
Finally, I will continue to work across party lines to move our country forward.

 Name one thing you will do to help bridge the divide between political parties.
One common thread throughout my time as Auditor, Attorney General, and as your Congressman is my willingness to work with both sides of the aisle to get things done.
Our country need more folks in Washington who are willing to compromise, and I will continue to work with anyone who has good ideas that work for Kentucky, regardless of party.
 
Please discuss what impact the increases in electric rates will have on Kentucky, which has been historically attractive to businesses looking to relocate based on having low utility costs.
Kentucky’s low cost energy advantage is a tremendously important reason why businesses choose to invest in the commonwealth.
As Attorney General, I saved Kentuckians $214 million by intervening against electric rate increases, and we need to do whatever we can to protect our low cost advantage.
 
If Romney wins  and keeps his pledge to overturn Obamacare, will you support that measure? Please explain your answer.
I voted against the Affordable Care Act because I thought it hurt our rural hospitals and didn’t address the issue of cost, but I don’t think wholesale repeal is the right answer.
I have always said the bill addressed some much-needed changes, such as preventing insurance companies from dropping people if they get sick or have a pre-existing condition, providing women with access to breast cancer screenings, ending lifetime caps on coverage, and closing the donut hole for seniors.
I think we can fix the bad parts of the bill, such as those that hurt rural hospitals and small businesses, while leaving the parts that help people intact.
 
Name one thing voters in Anderson County would be surprised to know about you either professionally or personally.
Most folks know I’m a huge baseball fan, but I think many would be surprised to learn that I was chosen as the MVP of the Congressional Baseball Game this year. I even threw out Senator Rand Paul on a close play at first base.
 
What can you do, as a congressman, to help drive economic development specifically into Anderson County?
If we’re going to make Anderson County an even better place to live, work, and raise a family, we have to invest in our communities.
New businesses are likely to choose Anderson County if we invest in projects that improve things like our infrastructure and our schools.  
 
The local school district has seen significant cuts in SEEK funding in each of the past several years. Should local taxpayers be forced to pick up that slack, or should the federal government earmark money to make up the difference?
Our country will rise or fall based on how well we educate our kids, and I believe we need to prioritize investing in education. It costs nearly $9,000 on average to educate one student in a Kentucky public school, and I think that is too large of a financial burden to place solely on our state and local governments.

Andy Barr
What are the top three reasons people in Anderson County should vote for you?
A) I will make putting Kentuckians back to work my top priority, fighting for tax reform, regulatory relief, and other policies that will enable small businesses to start hiring again.
B) I will promote and protect Kentucky’s signature industries, like coal, bourbon, tobacco, and auto manufacturing.
C) I will be an accessible representative of the Sixth Congressional District, working hard to stay in touch with Democrats, Republicans, and Independents alike. Unlike my opponent, I will conduct town hall meetings, and my staff will offer regular office hours in every county.  

Name one thing you will do to help bridge the divide between political parties.
I will listen to my constituents, regardless of party or ideology; making a specific effort to engage those who disagree with me in an effort to find common ground.  
I believe that being a genuinely independent congressman requires more than lip service and politically calculated votes; it requires a willingness to speak with anyone and a desire to represent everyone.

Please discuss what impact the increases in electric rates will have on Kentucky, which has been historically attractive to businesses looking to relocate based on having low utility costs.
Increases in the cost of electricity would have a devastating impact on Kentuckians. We currently enjoy the fourth lowest rates in the nation, which gives us a significant competitive advantage as we strive to attract and retain major employers like Toyota.
Accordingly, I am fighting hard to end the Obama administration’s war on coal. My opponent has done just the opposite, having voted for cap and trade (which would double our electric rates) and other measures which are killing the coal industry.

If Romney wins and keeps his pledge to overturn Obamacare, will you support that measure? Please explain your answer.
I support the complete repeal of ObamaCare, and its replacement with real health care reform that makes health insurance more affordable and reduces health care costs.
Far from fixing the deficiencies in our health care system, ObamaCare has made them worse. It places a massive new tax on Americans can least afford it, while imposing federal mandates that are leading to rising health care costs, skyrocketing insurance premiums, accelerating job losses, and an exploding federal deficit.
Moreover, due to ObamaCare’s $716 billion in cuts from Medicare and the establishment of the Independent Payment Advisory Board (an unelected and unaccountable group of 15 federal bureaucrats with the power to ration health care and interfere with the doctor-patient relationship), our seniors confront the terrifying prospect of denied care.

Name one thing voters in Anderson County would be surprised to know about you either professionally or personally.
Anderson County voters might be surprised to know that my grandfather, J.B. Faulconer, preceded Cawood Ledford as a play-by-play announcer for Kentucky Wildcats basketball and football. He assumed this role after returning from his service in World War II’s Pacific Theater. He later became known as one of thoroughbred horse racing’s great innovators.  

What can you do, as a congressman, to help drive economic development specifically into Anderson County?
As the representative of all 19 counties of the Sixth Congressional District, my job will be to help improve the economy throughout those counties. We can achieve this goal by capitalizing upon the natural strengths, resources, and traditional economic base of each county while spurring the investment and entrepreneurship that creates new economic opportunities.
One of my top priorities will be helping tobacco farmers prepare for the end of tobacco buyout payments in two years. I believe that the time has come to seriously explore the viability of industrial hemp production, which could thrive in Anderson County and throughout the region. Industrial hemp possesses a wide variety of potential applications and potential markets, and is sufficiently distinguishable from marijuana so as to not impair law enforcement.

The local school district has seen significant cuts in SEEK funding in each of the past several years. Should local taxpayers be forced to pick up that slack, or should the federal government earmark money to make up the difference?
As we fight to end the Obama administration’s spending spree, balance our federal budget, and begin paying down our national debt, we will have to make hard, disciplined choices. There must be no “sacred cows.”
Education funding has historically been the responsibility of the states. As we have striven to improve achievement, we have sought additional federal dollars for education, which come attached with substantially more federal rules.
I believe that the federal government should provide sufficient support for education without diluting local control of our schools.