FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 23, 2015 – Earlier today, gubernatorial candidates Matt Bevin and Jack Conway debated agriculture issues at the Kentucky Farm Bureau’s Measure the Candidates forum. As an Independent candidate, Drew Curtis was refused an invitation. However, in the interests of informing voters about all candidates, we would like to take this opportunity to briefly share some of Curtis’s views on the questions that were asked.
Will you support allocating 50 percent of the Master Settlement Agreement fund to farm development?
“This is another instance where we need to act on data, not ideology. It sounds good to say that we want to give more money to farmers, but we also have the duty to ask what, specifically, will be done with these funds. If more funding is allocated to farm development, what other programs get cut? Lung cancer research? Critical health care programs for young children?”
How will your administration contribute to developing agricultural business and productivity?
“The best thing we can do to help rural and agricultural development is to ensure that all Kentuckians have access to broadband internet. I’m an internet entrepreneur who created and ran Frankfort’s first successful internet service provider–I have the knowledge to help bring Kentucky into the 21st Century.”
Kentucky Farm Bureau supports an adequately funded Department of Agriculture. We urge adequate funding for research facilities, agriculture programs at colleges, etc. As governor, will you support adequate funding for those programs?
“Yes, so long as the state has enough money to fund them and the funds are being used in a way that benefits everyday Kentuckians. If they can prove greater returns on investment I’m open to it, but nobody is getting checks for doing nothing.”
Will you support the full intent of HB 44?
“I’m strongly opposed. HB 44 capped property taxes at 4 percent per year. When it was enacted, property taxes were more than 30 percent of revenues. Today it’s 9 percent and falling. It’s decimating our school system; several failed county school systems have resulted from this, in fact.”
Will you continue the initiative that dedicates 22.2% of gas tax revenues to rural road development?
“We need to make sure Kentucky has a solid infrastructure plan. Not only is this a safety issue for Kentuckians, but better roads also make us more attractive to businesses wanting to expand here. It just makes sense.”
Farmers depend on the environment to make our living. Unreasonable environmental regulations are bad for us. What will you do to protect farmers from unreasonable regulations?
“It depends on which specific environmental regulations you mean. In general though, we can surely be smart enough to figure out how to balance farm profits with preserving Kentuckians’ health, property value and our land’s natural beauty. It does not profit Kentucky in the long run to have poorly contained manure from CAFO’s polluting our waterways, for example.”
What will you do to emphasize tech ed?
“Not everyone wants or needs to go to college in order to succeed, so we should absolutely emphasize and fund more vocational and tech training. It’s just a better use of the state’s money. I’m a member of the Lexington Economic Development Board, and part of that is helping small business owners get started. As a successful entrepreneur, I know what skills we need to be teaching to help Kentuckians succeed.”
Will extended employment for ag teachers be a priority?
“Sure, they should be paid for the work they do.”
Would you support tort reform in Kentucky to help make us more business friendly?
“I’m staunchly opposed to trial attorneys abusing the courts system, but the lifetime loss of earning potential for a serious injury can be way more than $250,000.”
Kentucky will have to start paying for Medicaid expansion. What’s your plan?
“At the most, Kentucky will be on the hook for 10 percent of that cost. The best thing we can do is to improve Kentucky’s economy so that not as many people will need Medicaid, and reform the pension system so the state doesn’t go broke.”
Would you support continuing involvement with the Water Management Working Group to develop a plan to mitigate drought?
What will you as governor do to support and regrow the tobacco industry in Kentucky?
“That ship has sailed. Tobacco consumption in the US has been declining for years, and the use of neonicotinoid pesticides isn’t enough to sustain tobacco farmers. Tobacco farmers need to diversify with crops such as hemp and medical marijuana in order to prosper in today’s economy.”
“Bevin and Conway spent the debate trying their hardest to trash talk each other while agreeing on just about every single point. What else is there to say about the two of them? Bevin is a Tea Party extremist and Conway is trying so hard to get Republican swing voters that he was actually quoting Reagan. If Kentucky voters want a real change in Kentucky, they need to vote for a candidate who looks at facts first, not party politics.”
Drew Curtis is a Lexington businessman, digital entrepreneur, and the independent candidate for governor of Kentucky. He has been the sole owner and chief operator of Fark.com, one of the world’s most popular news aggregator websites, since he founded it 16 years ago. In addition to being an expert on the subject of mass media and news, he is a member of Lexington’s Economic Development Investment Board and the University of Kentucky’s Innovation Network for Entrepreneurial Thinking. He holds an MBA from Columbia Business School.
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Drew Curtis for Governor