Amy McGrath | Kentuckians For The Commonwealth

Amy McGrath

Political party: 
Democrat
Incumbent: 
No
Question 1: 

What’s your vision for Kentucky? How will the lives of Kentuckians be improved as a result of your time in office?

I’m running because like most Kentuckians, I’ve had enough of the D.C. establishment and the dysfunction where nothing gets done. If we keep the same people in power, nothing will change. Mitch McConnell is everything that is wrong with Washington. Kentucky needs a new generation of leaders, specifically someone who has worked in the 21st century global economy and world. I am running for Kentucky’s future, for my kids’ future. Working Kentucky families demand and deserve respect, and I will work to ensure their voices and concerns are heard in D.C. Let’s just take one example, many Kentuckians have to decide whether they can pay the rent or pay for their prescription medication each month. I’ll be a senator who will not be bought off by Big Pharma and will actually fight to get these prices down. We need to put country over party and take on the special interests running Washington.

Question 2: 

How would you create a more equitable federal tax structure – where everyone pays their fair share – that raises adequate revenue, fights poverty,  and invests in under-resourced communities and the services we all need?

Kentucky deserves a leader who will work toward fair and comprehensive tax reform. The only thing Sen. McConnell did when he led his party and it had the full power of both chambers and the presidency was to pass a massive tax scam that showered tax cuts and benefits on corporations and the wealthiest 1 percent. I am not bought off by special interests and will work toward a more equitable tax structure that will benefit everyone, not just the wealthy few.

Question 3: 

What would you do to make sure that every Kentuckian has quality, affordable health care? What are your top health policy priorities, and what approaches to health care coverage do you support? Do you support Medicare For All?

I remain committed to fixing, in a bipartisan way, the problems with the Affordable Care Act, which brought down Kentucky’s uninsured rate in a dramatic way. Every Kentuckian needs access to high-quality, affordable health care and that includes a government insurance plan like the one I purchase for my family as a military retiree. A public option would lower premiums and guarantee that in those counties with just one or two insurers, rates would not artificially spike with a lack of competition.

The average Kentuckian spends over $2,000 annually on prescription medications—the second highest in the nation. We must address the rising cost of prescription medications. There are bipartisan bills to fix this issue sitting on Sen. McConnell’s desk that he is actively blocking. That is inexcusable.

Question 4: 

Do you support comprehensive immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship for young people and adults? What are your plans to expand support and resources for immigrants and refugees, undocumented or otherwise?

I’ve been to the border. I’ve talked with Border Patrol officers. The entire immigration issue is manageable if we’re just sensible about how we handle it. We need leaders with the courage to stand for secure borders but who will do so in a humane way in accordance with our American values. We will only solve this issue if Congress is willing to act on meaningful, comprehensive immigration reform.

Question 5: 

Is dealing with the climate crisis a high priority for you, and if so, do you support federal legislation for a Green New Deal? How would you ensure that solutions to the climate crisis benefit all Kentuckians – no matter the color of our skin, income, immigration status, or zip code?

Climate change is intricately tied to our national security. Climate change and resource scarcity are with us today—we already have climate change refugees in America. Scientists around the world know it, and the United States military is already testing, adapting, and researching how to operate and succeed in these rapidly changing environments.

Our naval bases around the globe are seeing the effects now. In the past 10 years, nine major floods crippled Norfolk Naval Shipyard. Key West Naval Air Station (where I learned to dogfight in the F/A-18) will be almost completely under water in the next 80 years. Weather patterns are changing as well, with tragic effects. We are seeing hurricanes, floods, and fires in ways we’ve never seen before. Large parts of the world (the Middle East, Africa, Southeast Asia) are experiencing dramatic desertification at an alarming rate. This means less food will be produced and large migrations of people will be forced out of the lands they occupy today. In the 20th century, we fought wars over values or economic clashes. In the 21st century, it will be over water and resources.

This is the world we will live in. This is the world our children and grandchildren will face and it is one of the top problems facing our globe, and we need leaders that understand that. The Green New Deal is a resolution; I need to see actual legislation that would move the needle in the right direction.

Question 6: 

What is the role of the U.S. Congress in opposing white supremacy, addressing racial inequality and supporting racial justice for Black people, Indigenous people, Latinx people, immigrants, those who are undocumented, and all people of color in our country? Please identify at least two policy initiatives you would propose while in office to address racial and systemic inequalities.

I will be a leader who has the courage to speak out against injustice, prejudice and racism. I will be a leader who celebrates diversity, pushes for inclusion, and encourages people to speak out and speak up when injustice is occuring. And further, speak out and speak up when our government tries to pass harmful legislation in education, health care and other areas vital to the well-being of minority communities. Kentucky needs a senator that will work to ensure economic justice and opportunity for all, no matter where you live, where you come from, or what you look like.

Question 7: 

Kentucky has the ninth highest incarceration rate in the nation, is second in the nation for incarcerating women, and has the second-highest rate in the country of children separated from a parent due to incarceration. In addition, Black Kentuckians make up 8.3 percent of the state population but 21 percent of the state’s incarcerated population. Are you committed to ending mass incarceration in Kentucky and in the United States as a whole? Why or why not? If elected, what will you do to make strides toward ending mass incarceration and reinvesting resources into the communities most impacted by this system?

I will work to reduce our prison population through increased federal funding for state and local rehabilitation programs and opioid treatment centers. We also need to look at reduced sentences for non-violent offenders. I applaud the Senate for passing the First Step Act, since it was a crucial step toward comprehensive criminal justice reform.

Question 8: 

Do you support restoring voting rights to Kentuckians with felonies in their past? Specifically, do you support the Democracy Restoration Act to restore voting rights to people upon release from prison for purposes of voting in federal elections? Do you support restoring the Voting Rights Advancement Act to ensure strong federal oversight of state and local governments with a history of voter suppression aimed at communities of color? Please explain.

Formerly incarcerated individuals have paid their debt to society. Giving non-violent offenders a chance to become full citizens again aligns with the American principles of due process and fairness. It only hurts our Democracy to prevent people from participating and contributing to our election process.

Question 9: 

Do you support proposed Just Transition bills in Congress to take care of coal miners and communities by investing in abandoned mine land reclamation (H.R. 2156 and H.R. 4248) and extending current funding for the Black Lung Disability Trust Fund for another 10 years (H.R. 3876 and S.3171)? Why or why not?

Kentucky coal miners have powered this nation for generations. The country now owes a debt to Kentucky’s coal regions for their service in the construction of America. When paid, that debt will help build a new economy for the future of Kentucky’s coalfields. One way we can do this is by passing the RECLAIM Act.

I will work to make sure coal miners’ and their families are guaranteed the benefits and pay they earned through years of hard work. That’s why I support extending current funding for the Black Lung Disability Trust Fund.

Question 10: 

What will you do to support LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning, queer) Kentuckians? What will you do to protect people from discrimination in housing, employment and public accommodations based on sexual orientation and gender identity?

No Kentuckian should be discriminated against because of their sexual orientation and I will support legislation that protects LGBTQ Kentuckians from any discrimination they may face whether in housing or employment or public accomodations.