Dr. Alexandra Owensby | Kentuckians For The Commonwealth

Dr. Alexandra Owensby

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?

One of the things most of us love best about Kentucky is the sense of community here. Our current political environment threatens that sense of community. When elected, I will pull Democrats and Republicans together to find common ground on our most pressing issues. Only by finding common ground can we truly move Kentucky forward.

I will also fight to resolve pressing public health issues such as the exorbitant cost of medical care compared to income, the opioid epidemic, insulin pricing, and mental health issues. Kentuckians deserve an affordable healthcare system that works for all citizens. Furthermore, I will fight to ensure adequate funding for public education in Kentucky. My two children both attend public schools, one attends a brick and mortar school, and one attends an online public school. I understand different children have different learning needs, but at the heart of all these needs are our teachers. They, too often, put their own needs and their family's needs on hold to provide their invaluable services. I will fight to give teachers the funding, respect, and resources they need, knowing it saves America money in the long run.

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?

By electing representatives who represent working and middle-class families, we place the power back in the hands of real, everyday people. Kentucky needs to get away from electing rich, white men who only represent the whims of their privileged social groups. It has always been somewhat ironic to me that when affluent people hire accountants to maximize their tax deductions and reduce their taxes through any means possible, they are “savvy.” However, when low-income citizens maximize the benefits allowed to them, they are “taking advantage of the system.”

The reality is we need to ensure no citizen, affluent or not, takes advantage of the system. We need to close tax loopholes, and we need to acknowledge corporations who place their money in offshore bank accounts to avoid taxes are traitorous and should be held accountable for their treason of depriving America of the resources owed to us.

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?

As a nurse and a healthcare provider, this issue is near and dear to my heart. Top healthcare priorities for me are affordable healthcare, mental health access, addressing the opioid epidemic, and advancing technology in health care. I believe it has become increasingly harder for average Americans to take time off work to visit a healthcare provider in person.

Ultimately, we need to get to a single-payer system. The social structure of America has changed. No longer do employees work for one company their entire lives, motivating the insurance company to address preventative health, knowing they will be the ones responsible for the employee twenty years down the line. Having a healthcare system responsible from birth to death will motivate the company to address issues in advance, and help keep all citizens healthier.

However, the government has not proven itself worthy of providing quality healthcare yet. Undoubtedly, there will be some bumps in the road getting there. I am in favor of citizens being able to purchase private insurance until the single-payer system becomes competent enough to replace private insurance.

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?

America is a land of immigrants. The desire to reach outside of our comfort zone, rebel against authority, and say ‘I want more than what I have, and I will do WHATEVER it takes to get there’ is the very foundation of America. The diversity and wisdom of varied cultures make America stronger on every level.

I do know, as a healthcare provider, the reality of compassion fatigue. America is unable to help others if we are not in a healthy place ourselves. If America cannot afford our current citizens, we should not add on additional citizens.

The tricky thing is that I believe America CAN afford our current citizens. While we have a national deficit, the deficit is a making of our corporations and wealthiest members not paying their fair share. It is a deficit of elected officials taking an excessive number of vacations.

Regardless of whether we plan to reduce immigration or not, our current policies on immigration are unethical. Children should be with their parents. People fleeing unsafe situations should not be turned back to end up murdered. America must remain the land of opportunity.

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?

I have children, so most of what I do is based on ensuring their future is protected. Climate change is essential for us to address. As a mother and as a scientist, this cannot be ignored any longer!

Climate change begins with every one of us. We all have a personal responsibility to reduce our environmental impact. Climate change is also the responsibility of the government. We need to ensure standards are in place to ensure corporations do the right things for our environment instead of what saves them the most money.

The Green New Deal is a high starting point… while I understand the fears of how to finance the Green New Deal, I would argue that the cost of ignoring climate change is beginning to surpass the cost of addressing climate change. Natural Disasters have increased significantly over the last three years, with the total cost of natural disasters in America in 2018 being about $91 billion. While some may argue we cannot afford to address this crisis, I would say we cannot afford to ignore it.

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.

Congress has a role in addressing any terrorist organization. White supremacists are, undoubtedly, included in this category. The solutions to racial justice are as complex as the problem itself. Racial injustice spans many domains, including health, environment, economic, legal, political, and educational disparities. Therefore, there is no one solution to solving this problem. However, because our system is so broken in regards to racial equality, there are many solutions to get America heading in the right direction. The first policy I would address is ending the system of cash bail for non-violent offenses. Cash bail disproportionately disadvantages African-Americans and those of lower economic standing. Studies have shown that not being able to post cash bail has effects on the defendant years down the line, including making conviction more likely, and higher rates of unemployment and further criminal behavior. The second policy involves making sure every child has a right, regardless of race or class, to quality education.

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 am committed to ending mass incarceration. While I do believe people should pay the price for breaking the law, the price should be comparable to the crime and should not seek to disadvantage the person for years down the line. The focus of the penalty should be consistent with keeping the person active in society and reducing the chances incarceration will lead to unemployment down the path. Mass incarceration adds to the federal deficit on several levels, from the cost of retaining inmates to the cost of an unemployment/underemployment as a result of the imprisonment.

As mentioned above, I support ending the system of cash bail.

Furthermore, I support the legalization of marijuana and the automatic release from imprisonment and expungement of records for those jailed for personal possession marijuana-related offenses.

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.

Yes, yes, and yes. All citizens deserve a voice. I will fight to retain their voices.

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?

Yes. These workers and communities have earned our support.

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?

The number one thing I promise to do is listen. I will also fight to ensure the right to claim one's true identity will not be infringed. Once elected to Congress, I will fight to ensure their medical rights are not restricted, that public bathrooms are accessible and welcoming for all, and to ensure the antiquated biases of the past are forever put behind us.