John Yarmuth

District/Office: 
Political party: 
Democrat
Incumbent: 
Yes
Question 1: 

What is your vision for the role of U.S. Congressman from Kentucky? How will our Commonwealth be different in two years if you are elected?

My role as a U.S. Representative is to serve the people of the Third District and ensure that their worries become the priorities of Congress.  Representing my hometown in Congress has been one of the greatest honors of my life, and I hope to spend the next two years continuing to build on the progress we’ve made.  We’ve expanded access to education and health care, invested in new industries, and helped countless constituents get the help they need and deserve.

Question 2: 

What are your ideas for building a healthier and more diverse economy in Kentucky? Specifically in Eastern Kentucky?

While I don’t represent Eastern Kentucky, ensuring a healthy and diverse economy across the state is something I have been committed to during my time in Congress.  I will continue to pursue policies that will grow our economy, specifically by investing in education, job training, infrastructure, and health care. 

Communities whose economies are dependent on coal have experienced difficulties as cheaper and more abundant sources of energy have emerged.  That’s why I support bipartisan legislation, the RECLAIM Act, that would provide federal assistance to help revitalize and diversify the coal country economy, and H.R. 2403, the Coal Healthcare and Pensions Protection Act, that would help ensure that retirees receive the benefits they earned.  I will continue to support these proposals and work with my colleagues to grow Kentucky’s economy across-the-board.

Question 3: 

What measures would you take as Congressman to ensure access to affordable health care for all Kentuckians?

I voted for the Affordable Care Act and have fought to protect the gains we’ve seen in Kentucky, where more than half a million people – many for the first time – have gained access to quality, affordable health coverage.  While Republicans at all levels of government in Kentucky are trying to roll back those gains, I will continue to do all I can to protect the progress we have made in the Commonwealth under the Affordable Care Act.

Question 4: 

Do you support implementation of the Clean Power Plan? What opportunities do you see in the CPP to create new jobs and energy savings for Kentuckians?

I believe our country must have a more balanced energy policy that maximizes our domestic energy resources – including clean and renewable sources of energy – and promotes conservation. We need to be doing more to develop alternative, clean, and affordable energy sources. That is why I have supported legislation and proposals, like the Clean Power Plan, that make historic investments in new energy-efficient technologies, reduce emissions, and move us toward a greater state of energy independence.

Question 5: 

As a Congressman, what policies would you support to protect public health and ensure access to clean water and air for all Kentuckians?

We have an obligation to ensure access to clean drinking water, promote public safety and health, and protect our environment. I believe we need to halt the devastating and irreversible damage of mountaintop removal. That is why I have called on the Obama Administration to take steps to ensure that this irresponsible practice no longer threatens the Appalachian region or the health and security of its residents. I have also consistently supported legislative efforts that make critical investments in the air we breathe and the water we drink. I am a lead cosponsor of the Appalachian Communities Health Emergency Act, which would place a moratorium on all new mountaintop removal mining permits until federal officials examine health consequences of this harmful practice.

Question 6: 

How would you increase economic opportunity for Kentuckians, and reduce income and wealth inequality? Do you support a minimum wage increase?

I believe that all families deserve a fair chance at achieving the American Dream. We need to be doing more to make college affordable and job training available, while investing in the jobs of the future.  I am also a cosponsor of H.R. 2150, the Raise the Wage Act, and have long supported raising the minimum wage both at the federal and local level.  If you put in 40 hours a week, you should be able to put food on your family’s table every day.  I also believe we need to end the policies that have allowed companies to ship jobs overseas and crackdown on unfair labor practices, so that we help protect Kentucky workers and better position them to build strong and successful futures.

Question 7: 

As a Congressman, what would you do to support greater racial justice and address racial inequality in the United States?

I believe our government has a responsibility to protect all Americans from discrimination and we should be doing more to ensure racial equality. Action is needed in several areas, including within our criminal justice system. It is my hope that we can continue working together and enact bipartisan legislation to reduce recidivism and our growing prison population, while ensuring that when individuals are sentenced the punishment is fair and fits the crime. This is an issue that impacts people across the country and can only be solved if everyone comes together to advance comprehensive reform efforts.

Question 8: 

Do you support the restoration of voting rights for former felons who have served their full sentence? Are there other policies you support to increase voting rights and access to voting?

The right to vote is an empowering tool for citizens and helps individuals become engaged in their community and nation. I believe that people who have completed their sentences and have proven themselves rehabilitated should regain the right to vote. By strengthening social ties and providing a means for positive community engagement, reinstating this right will help reintegrate ex-offenders into free society.