John Hicks | Kentuckians For The Commonwealth

John Hicks

Political party: 
Question 1: 
What’s your vision for Kentucky? How will our commonwealth be better in four years if you’re elected?

Let's stop the shouting and get to work.

I've worked all my life as a communicator, team builder, and problem solver. I can work with our legislature, empower our state employees, and lead all Kentuckians toward a harmonious and prosperous future.

My priorities are three-fold:

LIBERTY. I'll fight the tendency for government to grow in power, diminishing individual freedom. I will work to once again make the Cannabis plant (hemp) fully legal for all purposes, expunge any Cannabis-related convictions, and carefully and gradually decriminalize drugs so any related social problems are not hidden in an underworld of crime.

CIVILITY. I promise to be a leader and facilitator for all Kentuckians and never to pit one faction against another for partisan gain.

As a former schoolteacher, I'll work to empower all teachers to radically reform education.

ELECTION REFORM. Today's political polarization and alienation doom civil society. I'll work for instant runoff elections and proportional representation, so every voter can point to someone in the legislature that they voted for.

I'm very proud that my campaign has been grassroots based and not the product of multi-million dollar funding by special interests.

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?

Most of my life has been devoted to good communication, openness, and transparency.

I began my adult career as a public schoolteacher, where my goal was to inspire my students to be curious about the world they were entering so they could enjoy a lifetime of learning.

For ten years, I published a community newspaper in Fern Creek, Kentucky, where my mission was to inform my readers so they could make good decisions and feel a part of their community. I know first-hand the frustrations the media face in gaining access to what is going on in state government.

For most of my life I have worked in the IT industry as a consultant and project leader. For most projects, my job has been to quickly organize and lead a team of people in making fact-based design decisions. A

long the way I discovered the joy of open source software and, for the past 15 years, I have run a small organization of computer geeks called the Kentucky Open Source Society, dedicated to supporting open source software and "all things open". Open-source software is a beautiful example of how transparency benefits all.

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?

Like all Kentuckians, I believe we should all be good stewards of our environment. This means being mindful of the ways we affect the Earth's atmosphere as well as our water and land. (In my travels throughout Kentucky during this campaign, I have not met one Kentuckian who does not agree with this.)

Kentuckians want their state government to act responsibly toward the environment, just as any good citizen would do. The state can also help by gathering data about changes in our land, air, and water, analyzing such data, reporting any apparent problems to the public, and then taking appropriate action.

Regarding equity, good governance requires that any actions taken by the state (for any reason) be equitable for all.

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.

I believe in ultimately abolishing all victimless crimes, clearing our prisons of anyone imprisoned for them, and restoring their full rights to them.

I am the only candidate who is calling for the immediate full legalization of Cannabis/hemp and for expunging any non-violent convictions related to Cannabis.

Furthermore, I generally favor moving toward the gradual decriminalization of drugs whenever possible. This brings any problems into the open and reduces the incentive to engage in illegal activities which would result in incarceration.

More generally, I do believe that anyone who has served their sentence in full and demonstrated that they are not likely to return to crime should have their full rights restored.

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?

The U.S. health care system is convoluted, expensive, and inequitable thanks largely to layer upon layer of governmental regulation, at both the state and federal levels, that have accumulated since World War II.

Our problems began when wartime wage controls brought about the peculiarly American custom of tying health care to ones job, thus tying Americans to jobs they hate -- conducive to neither economic productivity nor human fulfillment.

One of the biggest faults of the current system is the lack of published market prices for medical services. Without these, individuals can't make wise health care decisions.

A related problem is the multiple layers of middlemen who add no value to the customer.

Thus, two steps toward good affordable health care for all would be:
(1) encouraging or requiring medical providers to publish their prices, and
(2) encouraging health savings accounts in conjunction with true insurance for catastrophic health care costs.

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.

One of my primary goals will be to unite all Kentuckians, regardless of race, country of origin, or immigration status.

This will permeate all actions I take.

Three specific actions I favor:

-- Legalizing Cannabis/hemp, expunging Cannabis-related convictions, and generally working to gradually and carefully decriminalize most drugs, thus bringing any related social problems out into the open rather than hidden in a government-created criminal underworld that has trapped many minority youths.

-- Reforming our electoral system by implementing instant runoff voting and proportional representation (using ranked choice voting). Proportional representation would make our government radically more democratic: Virtually every voter would be able to point to someone in their elected legislature that they voted for.

-- Implementing the ideas of Louisville resident MeShorn T. Daniels by eliminating all references to race and skin color in state statutes, regulations, and governmental forms.

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?

I have proposed two measures that might increase revenue:

-- Complete legalization of Cannabis/hemp.

-- Consideration of expanded gambling, provided that no governmental monopolies are granted in the process.

Question 8: 
Do you support Kentucky’s public workers having a quality public pension? What do you consider to be a quality public pension?

The key word here is respect for our employees. We must pay them a fair, competitive compensation package. And any change to their compensation must be made with great care: equitably and without disrupting lives.

We must face the fact that defined-benefit pension programs like ours have failed miserably, both in the public and private sectors, by being persistently underfunded over many years. There is nothing short of changing human nature that will change this. Thus, we must begin a gradual transition to defined-contribution retirement programs, just as private industry has done.

It is critical that, during this transition period, we continue to support the current pension systems for all retirees and vested employees. A contract is a promise. We have a legal and moral obligation to do this.

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?

Love is a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person. Supporting Kentuckians who are gender and sexuality minorities falls under our campaign themes of liberty and civility.

On the liberty front, there are many different conceptions of the good life and everyone should be free to choose their own identify, their own relationship status, their own best life. As Libertarians, we believe it is not up to the government to say who you can or cannot be, or who you can or cannot love.

On the civility front, we believe people who are gender/sexuality minorities are intrinsically worthy of respect and kindness like any member of the commonwealth. At the state level, we support non-discrimination clauses for sexual and gender identities on state-funded contracts for employment, housing, facilities, etc. We also respect the autonomy of cities and counties to define and pass their own non-discrimination ordinances that the state should not interfere with.

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 believe in ultimately abolishing all victimless crimes, clearing our prisons of anyone imprisoned for them, and restoring their full rights to them.

I am the only candidate who is calling for the immediate full legalization of Cannabis/hemp and for expunging any non-violent convictions related to Cannabis.

I favor moving toward the gradual and careful decriminalization of drugs whenever possible. This will bring any problems into the open rather than hidden in a government-created criminal underworld that has trapped many minority youths.