Bob Gibson | Kentuckians For The Commonwealth

Bob Gibson

Political party: 
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 am running for office to bring civil discourse to the many issues Kentuckians face and to support public education, public employees, quality pension programs, the right of workers to organize, as well as, collectively bargain, wage growth and affordable healthcare for all.

Question 2: 
Even after Governor Beshear's December 2019 executive order, over 170,000 Kentuckians with felonies in their past are still ineligible to vote. Do you support a constitutional amendment to automatically restore voting rights to all Kentuckians with felonies in their past once they've served their time, probation, and parole? Please explain.

Yes, individuals who have been convicted, served their time with no incident, and have been successfully rehabilitated, should have their voting rights restored as a part of the release process. I believe convicted felons who have paid their dues to society should be fully reinstated back into our communities.

Question 3: 

What is your view on modernizing state election laws? Specifically, do you support allowing early voting, mail-in ballots, same-day voter registration, extended hours at polling locations, offering ballots in multiple languages, and other election reforms? Do you support legislation requiring that Kentucky voters present a photo ID on election day even though many Kentuckians do not have that kind of ID? Why or why not?

I certainly support modernizing state elections by allowing early voting, mail-in ballots, extending polling hours, and offering ballots in multiple languages. These reforms will help Kentuckians who are elderly, have health issues, are disabled, have a lack of transportation, or who have shift employment access our elections. A person's signature is a form of ID as that signature is on file with their voter registration. That should be all that is required on election day. Many of our citizen residents due to age, income, disability, and more have no need for a photo ID so why should we make their vote out of reach. I do support having a means to ID the individual voting but that should be done with their signature.

Question 4: 

Kentucky has a tax code that does not raise enough revenue to meet the Commonwealth’s budgetary needs – a problem that was made worse by the legislature's tax shift of 2018. After years of budget cuts, the funding for pensions, public education, infrastructure, and other essential programs have reached dangerous levels of disinvestment. How would you work to create a more equitable state tax structure – where everyone pays their fair share – that raises adequate revenue, fights poverty, and invests in Kentucky’s under-resourced communities and the services we all need?

It is important that we seek means of generating revenue to meet the budgetary needs of the state. Some areas open to this would be to approve sports gambling and tax it, increase the cigarette tax, and raise income taxes on the state's top 2% and also slightly on the state's top 10%. Our priority needs to be on funding public education, funding public employee pension programs, funding public higher-education, funding road projects, and funding healthcare for all.

Question 5: 

Many Kentucky’s local governments have a policy that people will not be questioned about immigration status by local authorities, and that local police will only assist federal agents in enforcing immigration laws when there is a warrant signed by a judge or a risk of violence. What is your view of these types of policies and what would you do to expand support and resources toward our immigrant population, undocumented or otherwise?

Immigration policy is solely vested to the federal government so it is their job to determine who is undocumented and place them in the court system if necessary. Local agencies and appropriately assist with the effort. This separation is important so that undocumented individuals feel comfortable to work with local authorities in any number of situations. One example would be if they witness a crime or a fire. I want them comfortable enough to call the police or fire departments so that public safety is maintained.

Question 6: 

Is acting to address the climate crisis a priority for you? What policies do you support 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? And what policies would you support to ensure that all Kentuckians have clean air and water, no matter the color of our skin, income, or zip code?

The climate crisis is just that, it is a crisis that we must address. Quality regulations on polluting KY industries is needed to quickly reduce the levels of pollution produced on a daily basis. To move into the future we need to support solar farms throughout KY to generate clean electricity to be utilized across the state. Solar farms can be installed in small or large areas which can certainly help Eastern KY move off of dirty coal production and into solar farm creation. I also support tax incentives to allow individuals to install solar panels on their homes in order to sell the produced energy to grid and then that amount be removed from their monthly energy consumption. How awesome would it be for individuals to have little or no electric bill while at the same time, removing KY from non-renewable energy and helping reduce the climate crisis.

Question 7: 

What is the role of the Kentucky legislature 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 state? Please identify at least two policy initiatives you would propose while in office to address racial and systemic inequalities.

The KY Legislature needs to take steps to ban discrimination of all types from government activities and transactions, as well as, for all businesses in the state. Their is no place for hate or discrimination of any kind and especially that of white supremacy with their fool-hearted ideas and history of violence. The two policies I support are to first, add hate crime provisions into our current crime laws. Meaning, if someone is assaulted for example and it is determined the motive is considered a hate crime, additional consequences will be considered. This provision needs to be in the criminal code across the board for all crimes. The second policy would be to

Question 8: 

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? 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?

The underlying problem of poverty is the first issue that must be addressed in order to reduce mass incarceration. When individuals and families have their basic needs met of having quality food, water, shelter, love, and quality employment, the crime rate will do down. After that, we need to design education and rehabilitation programs so that convicted individuals can better their lives and never have the desire to commit a criminal act again. Those programs need to be positive in nature and utilize the individuals' gifts/talents. Another place to reduce mass incarceration is to stop imprisoning individuals for minor non-violent crimes and place them in the programs mentioned above. These programs can be for imprisoned inmates and those convicted but are not imprisoned. The ultimate goal is to train everyone to better themselves, our society and their families. We need to give them tools to do so. Our resources need to go to programs to help people versus the prison industry. I would also like to remove private prison companies from managing our state prisons. Their focus is to make money, whereas, public servants (employees hired by the state) will have a focus on doing what is best for rehabilitation of the incarcerated.

Question 9: 

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

I am so proud of the communities throughout Kentucky who have passed Fairness ordinances. I am blessed to live in a county (Woodford) where both of our city governments (Versailles and Midway) along with the county fiscal court all pass Fairness ordinances. I am hopeful that the movement continues throughout the state and soon all local governments along with the state legislature do the same. I will support that legislation when that day comes and if its arrival is not timely, I would be glad to sponsor. Their is no place for discrimination in any area in our society.

Question 10: 

Nearly 400,000 low-income Kentuckians qualified for health care – including vision, dental and mental health – for the first time under the Affordable Care Act. But there are major challenges here in Kentucky. The Bevin administration failed to respond to Kentucky’s Hepatitis A outbreak, local health departments are underfunded and are slated to lose about a third of their workers, and the legislature has recently passed a bill restricting access to reproductive health. The legislature has a role in getting Kentucky on track for better health. What would you to build on the progress of Medicaid expansion and to ensure that all Kentuckians have access to quality, affordable health care?

Answer 10: 

The first move is to restore the Medicaid expansion taken away by the Bevin Administration and then we need to expand it to cover more residents. The Affordable Care Act was a good first step towards providing healthcare to more Americans but now it is time to implement a public option into the federal legislation. That will enable individuals and families to choose an affordable option with quality coverage over the private insurance industry who focuses on profits. Once the people have a choice and they choose a quality public option with quality benefits, it will show that Americans ultimately want a single payer, Medicare for all, type system. That way everyone is covered. In KY, we need to start by expanding Medicare.