Colonel Pamela Stevenson, JD | Kentuckians For The Commonwealth

Colonel Pamela Stevenson, JD

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?

Every voice heard. Every life empowered. Our Commonwealth will lead the Nation as an example of how we care for families. . Strong families are the key to strong communities. My priority would be to transform the government systems that serve families, children, the elderly, veterans and animals. This includes “access to” and “transformation of” the education, healthcare and legal systems. My national and international experiences have uniquely prepared me to resolve these challenges and ensure that every family wins. Together we can ensure that Kentucky is the leader for empowering thriving families.

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.

I founded a nonprofit law firm to ensure that working families, the elderly and veterans have access to our legal system. This includes restoration of rights. The biggest principle of our legal system is restoration after “paying for your crimes”. I support restoration of rights after completion of punishment and probation. In 21 states, felons lose their voting rights during incarceration, and for a period of time after, typically while on parole and/or probation. Voting rights are automatically restored after this time period. Kentucky should investigate all models of restoration and at the very least adopt this model of automatic voting rights restoration

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 don’t support anything that suppresses our right to vote. Voting is the very foundation of this democracy. Our laws must allow for the most people exercising their right to vote. This includes early voting, extended hours and another well researched initiatives. If voter ID laws are implemented, we have to be smart and address the needs of each voter, without cost to the voter. No one who has voted before, should ever be denied the right to vote because of new voting legislation.

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?

Yes, we need a more equitable tax structure. . We have to work tougher to find solutions that answer the concerns of those who have and those who don’t. We've got to find the money to ensure that all Kentuckians have the basics—medical and mental healthcare, food, shelter and access to a living wage. This includes ALL of us doing the best we can, we with what we have. Not equal giving, but equal sacrifice.

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?

We should not assist with the violent breakup of families and treating people in an inhumane way. All but Native Americans are immigrants in this Country. This Country was built on immigration. Immigration is embedded in the Promise of America. We must do all we can to honor the words of our founders “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” I am a lawyer and immigration laws are needed. But our laws don’t envision humans being caged like rats or given less than due process of the law. We’ve got work to do.

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?

Addressing the climate crisis is a priority for me. Especially since this has a bigger impact on the homeless and the poor. Addressing the issues includes 3 parts: educating people so that small daily changes made by families make a huge difference for the Commonwealth, reimaging our energy sources like solar and wind as a part of our economic system and looking for best practices in highly effective states. There are necessary conversations to develop a viable, economic solution and make this issue real for people. I am willing to do that work so that Kentuckians can continue to have clean air and water.

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 government must vehemently oppose, in thought, law and action, any group that threatens a person’s right to exist and any action taken to unnecessarily diminish a person’s humanity. My policy initiatives would focus on the prison system and removing or changing systematic processes that provide for a discriminatory result.

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?

We can be the generation that ends homelessness and hunger, provides access to our health and legal and builds correctional systems that work. We have everything we need to be successful in this work. We need to stop mass incarceration. The correctional system needs work and this is one of the areas that I am interested in transforming. How? I will do the research and form foundational partnerships with the goal of powerfully returning people who are prepared to make a difference in their families and communities after incarceration. We will also look at the pipelines to prison to see what we do in Kentucky that allows for mass incarceration. This means looking at all aspects of how we live that are invisible to us and occur as a way of life. For example, how do 18-year-olds exit the foster care system? Are they empowered and set up to win? Do we intervene on behalf of children early or only after a tragic event? Do we empower the incarcerated to win once released from prison? The Promise of America includes a “government for the people, by the people, to serve the people”. These are our people.

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?

Every person has a right to live free from discriminatory practices that infringe upon their right to exist, their mental and medical well-being and their ability to earn a living. I will stand for the LGBTQ communities because I have. The next step is to listen and see is needed instead of what we think they need. Every life empowered. Every voice heard.

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: 

Absolutely! Healthcare is a basic right and our generation can make that so. People dying and suffering because they don’t have medical or mental healthcare is something we can transform for Kentucky. This starts with the expansion of Medicare and ends with newly created ways to take it further.

We won’t stop until the well-being of people drives the healthcare system and not excessive profits. Profits are good for our economy, just not over people's lives.Together we can make this happen.