Geoffrey Young | Kentuckians For The Commonwealth

Geoffrey Young

Political party: 
Question 1: 

What’s your vision for Kentucky? How will our commonwealth be better in four years if you’re elected?

My vision is of a Commonwealth that is much more democratic and cooperative. The people, not money or lobbyists, should govern our Commonwealth. The Republican Party of Kentucky needs to become much weaker and smaller because almost everything it proposes is profoundly immoral and damaging to Kentucky's poor and working people. Josh French and I have a very progressive platform:

1) Strengthen unions. 2) Stop corruption in the Executive, Judicial and Legislative Branches. 3) Legalize cannabis. 4) Support Planned Parenthood. 5) Stop supporting Israel's violent policies. 6) Move toward Medicare-for-All. 7) Comprehensive tax reform; tax the super-rich more and the poor less. 8) Promote energy efficiency and renewable energy. 9) Promote worker-owned businesses and co-ops. 10) Keep the National Guard from being sent out of the US. 11) Abolish the death penalty.

It pains me to say that although Rocky Adkins and I are honest Democrats, Adam Edelen (D) and Andy Beshear (D) are crooks. They conspired with other Democrats to rig important Democratic primaries in 2015 and 2018. I have filed criminal complaints and lawsuits against several dozen Democrats, and I will not rest until they are brought to justice for attacking democracy itself. Details available on request.

Question 2: 

If you are elected Governor, what steps will you take to encourage transparency, media access and meaningful public participation in decisions made by state government?

Corruption thrives on secrecy. I was inspired by the measures the Governor of Michigan recently took: “Michigan's Executive Directive 2019-11 will expand the reach and effectiveness of the Freedom of Information Act and Open Meetings Act to create a more transparent state government by: 

  • Designating a transparency liaison within departments and agencies to facilitate Freedom of Information Act requests and find ways to disclose public records in a cost-efficient manner.
  • Limiting the use of extension periods to grant Freedom of Information Act requests in a timely manner.
  • Encouraging all Freedom of Information Act requests to be fulfilled by, or before, the deadline. 
  • Requiring departments and agencies to send a notice if the request will take longer to fulfill. 
  • Prohibiting members from using electronic communication to conduct business during public meetings. 
  • Urging the use of live streaming to broadcast public meetings to anywhere in the state. 
  • Requiring the Department of Technology, Management, and Budget to devise an online system where public notices and records can be uploaded.”

In addition, all financial transactions of the Democratic and Republican Parties should be reported publicly because their primaries are funded by taxpayers.

Question 3: 

Do you believe that we have an obligation and opportunity to act on climate change? What actions would you take to ensure that solutions, such as clean energy jobs and reducing high energy bills, benefit all Kentuckians, including low-income communities, communities of color, and those who are most impacted by the changing climate?

Global overheating is a real problem. I worked for 15 years in state government in Frankfort, most of that time as the assistant director of Kentucky's state energy office. Energy efficiency is a key part of our economic development strategy. No one benefits from wasted energy, and many sustainable jobs can be generated by weatherizing homes and businesses, manufacturing solar panels, and installing hydroelectric turbines at existing dams.

Over the last century, coal industry and utility company lobbyists have managed to pass laws that actually prevent us from eliminating waste. One example is the lobbying going on right now to discourage solar energy technologies by gutting the existing net metering law. Our administration will work for what's best for people and the environment – regardless of short-sighted corporate interests.

I will appoint commissioners to the Public Service Commission (PSC) who understand that energy efficiency can sustainably lower the electric and gas bills of all Kentuckians.

Question 4: 

Do you support a constitutional amendment to restore voting rights to tens of thousands of Kentuckians with felonies in their past who have completed their full sentence? If the state legislature remains locked on this issue, would you use executive power to restore voting rights to all Kentuckians with felonies in their past who are currently restricted from voting? Please explain.

Definitely yes to both parts of that question. Kentucky is one of the worst states for taking away the voting rights of former felons.  I strongly support the bill filed by Representative George Brown Jr., D-Lexington, which would restore voting rights to felons who have served their time, were not convicted of violent sex offenses or homicide, and have completed restitution and parole. Because it would be a proposed amendment to the state Constitution, it would require the approval of 60 percent of lawmakers and ratification by Kentucky's voters. 

If the General Assembly fails to act, I will restore former felons' voting rights by executive action.

Question 5: 

Will you protect or even expand access to Medicaid for the nearly 400,000 low-income Kentuckians who qualified for health care – including vision, dental and mental health – for the first time under the Affordable Care Act? What is your view of the current administration’s efforts to limit access to Medicaid, including new co-pay requirements, restrictions on vision and dental coverage and work requirements?

Healthcare should be a right of every citizen in the wealthiest nation on the planet. Until that becomes a reality federally, the Young/French administration believes we can accomplish that at a state level. It is the duty of government to support the general welfare of its citizens. All Kentuckians should have access to mental health, dental, and vision coverage. Our citizens are happiest when they’re healthy.

Healthcare shouldn’t be tied to your employment. When in between jobs or temporarily out of work, we shouldn’t have to shell out the majority of our income to sustain some form of health coverage through the COBRA program. They also shouldn’t have to face financial hardship during those same circumstances for having a health procedure performed. There should be no added stress to the already stressful situation of losing an income. Without healthcare being tied to employment, those worries disappear and coverage remains the same.

This also benefits employers immensely by freeing up capital that would be used to otherwise secure health benefits for their employees. Businesses will then have more money to increase the wages of their employees, adding other economic benefits. It’s a win-win scenario for Kentucky.

Question 6: 

What is the Governor’s role in opposing white supremacy, addressing racial inequality and supporting racial justice for black people, Latinx people, immigrants, those who are undocumented, and all people of color in Kentucky? Please identify at least two policy initiatives you would propose as Governor to address racial and systemic inequalities.

Comprehensive tax reform – raising taxes on huge corporations, the rich, and the super-ultra-rich – will help all low-income Kentuckians, regardless of their ethnic, gender, or national identities. The Young/French Administration will work to end race-based gerrymandering and voter suppression in general and primary elections. The state's budget illustrates whether the General Assembly is moral or immoral, but recent budgets have been more and more immoral. Kentucky's law enforcement agencies simply do not protect Kentuckians' civil rights; that critically important function has been foisted off on the FBI and federal prosecutors, neither of which do a good job. We will promote unions, which protect all workers regardless of their ethnic identities. To protect Kentucky's environment is to protect the health of minorities and low-income white people. Kentucky should cooperate as little as possible with ICE and should encourage sanctuary cities; eventually, Kentucky should become a sanctuary state. That's eight policy initiatives right there.

Question 7: 

Kentucky has a tax code that does not raise enough revenue to meet the Commonwealth’s budgetary needs. After years of budget cuts, public education, infrastructure, state worker pensions and other essential programs have reached dangerous levels of disinvestment. What solutions would you support to raise the necessary revenue for the public investments Kentuckians need and deserve?

Tax the ultra-rich, tax huge corporations, and reduce taxes on poor and working-class people. The proposals of former State Representative Jim Wayne and the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy represent a superb foundation on which to build comprehensive tax reform. See the April, 2017 document, “What Good Tax Reform Looks Like” at this web site: 

I will explore the following options in addition to getting something like the 2017 bill, HB 263, passed: doing away with Kentucky's regressive sales tax entirely and replacing it with a more steeply graduated state income tax, raising property taxes on wealthy homeowners, raising taxes on huge corporations, and instituting a state wealth tax.

Question 8: 

Do you support Kentucky’s public workers having a quality public pension? What do you consider to be a quality public pension?

Kentucky made an inviolable contract with state workers, and it is immoral to break that promise. I support Chris Tobe's pension reform proposals. Mr. Tobe, CFA, who is running for State Auditor this year, is the author of “Kentucky Fried Pensions” and is probably the Commonwealth's foremost expert on the pension crisis. Whether or not he wins in November, the Young/French Administration will work with him to implement as many of his proposals as possible.

Question 9: 

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?

I will work with the new Attorney General, the Chief Justice of the Kentucky Supreme Court and all of Kentucky's judges to get the Commonwealth's Judicial Branch to enforce all civil rights laws. I support all local fairness ordinances and a proposed statewide fairness law that would eventually give LGBTQ people equal rights with all other Kentuckians, particularly in the areas of employment and housing. It is immoral to fire an LGBTQ person or deny them a place to live solely on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity; it should be illegal as well.

Question 10: 

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 makeup 8.3% of the state population but 21% of the state’s incarcerated population. Are you committed to ending mass incarceration in Kentucky? If elected, what will you do to make strides toward ending mass incarceration?

I am strongly committed to ending mass incarceration in Kentucky. It is one of the most damaging consequences of systemic racism in our society, and it's a tremendous drain on the state's budget. The role of private corporations in our prisons and jails must be reduced and eventually eliminated. The war on drugs, especially non-addictive drugs such as marijuana, has conclusively failed. No county's economic development strategy should be based on getting a state or federal prison built there. Those jails and prisons that remain should have their budgets increased for the purpose of helping prisoners develop skills that will help them get and keep a good job 

Our platform calls for the permanent abolition of the death penalty in Kentucky and lists ten excellent reasons to do so: