Cristi Kendrick | Kentuckians For The Commonwealth

Cristi Kendrick

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? What legislative committees will you request to serve on once elected? 

When I am elected, my votes will side with Kentuckians, and not more government overreach. The legislature needs more people in office who believe that individual rights and individual freedoms come first. Being fiscally responsible with taxpayers dollars (cut spending) Education freedom, parents know better than the government on best ways to teach their children.

Question 2: 

Even after Governor Beshear's December 2019 executive order that restored voting rights to 152,000 Kentuckians with felonies in their past, over 170,000 Kentuckians 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? Why or why not?

I would support a constitutional amendment. After someone has served their time and probation, they should reintegrate into society, including becoming a voting member of the electorate again.

Question 3: 

During the 2020 primary, Kentuckians voted in record numbers as a result of mail-in absentee voting and early voting. But we can improve on what we learned in the primary and make voting more accessible for all Kentuckians. 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? Would you uphold or work to repeal Senate Bill 2, which makes it harder for voters who don't have particular kinds of photo ID to vote, knowing that many Kentuckians do not have – and face barriers to obtaining – those forms of ID?

I am in support of early voting, mail-in ballots, and offering ballots in multiple languages. I am not in favor of same-day registration, or extended hours with the caveat there is the option for mail-in and early voting. If someone does not have valid photo identification due to lack of funds, local governments should cover the cost to get these issued.

Question 4: 

Even before COVID, Kentucky’s tax code did not raise enough revenue to meet the Commonwealth’s needs. We’ve reached dangerous levels of disinvestment in pensions, public education, infrastructure, and other essential programs. While there may be federal aid to buffer some of those impacts, we still need our own sustainable, long-term revenue solutions. What would you do 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?

I disagree with your premise. According to the office of the state budget director, Kentucky had record revenue and a budget surplus for fiscal 2019. The state's general fund receipts totaled $11.4 billion, an increase of 5.1 percent, from fiscal 2018. That is enough money to run our state. Should a budget deficit face the commonwealth in the future, I would cut wasteful spending, while preserving services for the most vulnerable.

Question 5: 

Many undocumented and mixed immigration status families here in Kentucky do not have access to government aid, stimulus payments, and other resources offered during this pandemic, while they’re simultaneously more likely to be essential workers and are at the highest risk for COVID-19 infection. What would you do to expand support and resources to Kentucky’s immigrant families, undocumented or otherwise, in the time of a global pandemic and beyond?

Increase access to COVID-19 testing by allowing at-home tests over the counter, similar to OraQuick HIV test kits at pharmacies, Target, and other retailers.

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?

I care deeply about keeping the air we breathe clear and the water we drink clean. As a commonwealth, we need to stop subsidizing energy corporations, especially in the fossil fuel industry. We should repeal laws that prevent people from buying electric cars. The State of Kentucky currently prevents Tesla from selling directly to residents of the commonwealth. You have to drive out of state. That’s wrong. If someone or some company is polluting a body of water, they should be sued for damaging the environment. Then, that money goes directly to remediation to keep our water pure and clean.

Question 7: 

Kentuckians from across the state are coming together to say Black Lives Matter and to demand that all Kentuckians can move through our communities without fearing for our lives or our loved ones. What is the role of the Kentucky legislature in opposing white supremacy, addressing racial inequality and supporting racial justice for Black people, Indigenous people, 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.

1) End qualified immunity 2) Kentucky has many occupational licensing laws that hurt people of color. With the exception of medical practitioners, we should convert these occupational licensing laws to certifications, rather than a license. For example, Kentucky used to require African-style hair braiders take 1,800 hours of irrelevant training to get a cosmetology license. In 2016, S.B. 269 exempted natural hair braiders in Kentucky from needing to obtain a cosmetology license. We should keep that momentum going by continuing to remove state-imposed barriers to people who work.

Question 8: 

Kentucky has the ninth highest incarceration rate in the nation, is second for incarcerating women, and has the second-highest rate of children separated from a parent due to incarceration. In addition, Black Kentuckians face disproportionate arrest, conviction, and incarceration, and a heightened risk of police brutality. And people in many parts of our state face racial profiling, intimidation and unjust detainment and detention by federal and local authorities due to immigration status or perceived status. Many Kentuckians are calling for various measures to stem the tide of racialized criminalization, police brutality, mass incarceration, and detention and deportation – from police reform, to increased community investment, to a complete defunding and abolition of the police and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). If elected, what will you do to make strides toward ending mass incarceration in Kentucky and reinvesting resources into the communities most impacted by this system?

“The more laws and restrictions there are, the poorer people become.” “The more rules and regulations, the more thieves and robbers.” - Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching chapter 57 We have got to roll back the minimum sentencing laws and let judges decide what is a fair sentence. Additionally, we should follow the lead of Alexandria (KY); they hired two police social workers to either respond in tandem with the officers or on their own. The town saved ~$50k, compared to hiring 2 more officers. They saw a significant drop in repeat 911 calls with approximately 15 percent fewer people going to jail. We shouldn’t be sending people to jail when they have a mental health emergency or are suffering from substance use disorder.

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? Do you support a statewide ban on the practice of LGBTQ conversion therapy, which would protect Kentucky youth from a harmful and medically discredited practice?

Love is a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person. Everyone should be free to choose their own identity, their own relationship status, their own best life. I support non-discrimination clauses for sexual and gender identities on state-funded employment, housing, facility-access, etc. I also respect the autonomy of cities and counties to define and pass their own non-discrimination ordinances that the state should not interfere with. LGBT+ conversion therapy is a form of medical fraud because there is nothing medically wrong with an individual just because they are gay, transgender, or queer. I support laws to ban this fraudulent practice by licensed medical practitioners. Although it is outside the scope of your question, I would like to add that we should remove the sex marker from state IDs, as this outs transgender and non-binary people and increases discrimination compared to a more gender neutral ID that just has a recent photo.

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 major challenges remain, and many are exacerbated by the COVID-19 crisis. What would you do to make sure Kentuckians can get and stay healthy? What are your health-related legislative priorities? 

Answer 10: 

The Kentucky “certificate of need” process prevents the proliferation of health care facilities, health services, and major medical equipment that increases the cost of quality health care in the commonwealth. We should remove this state-imposed restriction on the supply of healthcare in Kentucky to allow low-cost healthcare providers to enter the market, similar to the growth of low-cost medical imaging centers and the fall in Lasik eye care. We should also continue to allow telehealth services to be billable under Kentucky Medicare and Medicaid.