Lamar Allen | Kentuckians For The Commonwealth

Lamar Allen

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?

A highly developed education system increases the potential of every Kentuckian. Every child in our state has the right to a high quality education that transforms their family and community. Kentuckians should expect expanded healthcare options with caps on life-saving medication. Like teachers, the Kentucky Labor Unions should never feel under attack, as they have been critical to our states success and are pivotal to its future. My time in office will bring sensible policies that benefit the working class and strengthen our disenfranchised rural and urban communities. As a teacher, I’ve dedicated my life to working with our most vulnerable children and families. I understand the urgency needed to keep our generational promise ensuring our children have a better future. Kentuckians will have a relentless fighter for education, blue collar workers, and health care in Frankfort.

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. Voting rights are critical to being a Kentucky citizen. Kentuckians with past felonies who have served their time, probation, and parole should have their voting rights completely restored. I advocate that inmates should have the right to vote. These people are redeemable members of society who should go through the the correctional system with a goal of rehabilitation. Major reforms are needed in this area as Kentucky incarcerates too many of their citizens and denies many the opportunity to fully return to society as active and contributing members.

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?

The act of voting should not in itself, be a hindrance to participating in the political forum. Kentucky does not have a voter fraud problem. Requiring Kentuckians to present a photo ID on election day negatively impacts our most disenfranchised communities. It is more likely that a person of color or an individual in a rural area will not have a photo ID and therefore be removed from the political process. This also put forth a financial requirement to voting. Individuals would likely have to pay for their photo ID. This is unacceptable for Kentucky.

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?

Our lawmakers have refused to legitimately seek additional revenue to the detriment of all Kentuckians. Millions of taxable dollars will go to neighboring states every day. In fact, Governor Andy Beshear stated Kentucky is missing out on capturing 550 million dollars of taxable revenue each year. Developing an economy where all Kentuckians have a chance to succeed is critical.

I was in Frankfort like your neighbors, friends, and family members. I was fighting to ensure that the promises made regarding Kentucky's pension were kept. This issue impacts all Kentuckians. I want the best and brightest in classrooms across Kentucky. This can only happen if we are honest about our obligations to public employees.

We should exhaust all efforts to increase revenue and limit corporations from paying lower tax rates after exemptions and loopholes than a middle class Kentuckian. We should create an e-cigarette tax and expand gaming in Kentucky. We are losing revenue as many Kentuckians are going to our bordering states and spending their money in casinos and online. Real tax code reform is necessary to capture the revenue we are currently losing. These funds will help Kentucky reinvest in disenfranchised communities and classrooms across the state.

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?

Documented and undocumented immigrants help fuel our economy and make Kentucky a more diverse and amazing place. Immigration status should not be questioned during a stop. Our law enforcement officials should only enforce immigration law if an individual is posing a safety risk that any reasonable officer would normally intervene. Not only does this create trauma for the individual being stopped, it creates an additional burden on officers and public servants who are already overworked. Our officers and immigrants deserve better treatment. We should begin to look at our documented and undocumented citizens as an asset to revitalizing our neighborhoods and communities.

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?

Yes, acting to address the climate crisis is a priority. I feel for our miners in the mountains of Kentucky. Appalachia is hurting and their struggle doesn't seem to be a priority for many of our lawmakers. Most of my family lives in Flint, Michigan. The major industry in Michigan shuttered and for generations the economy has not worked for the people there as well. This is only compounded by the fact that we are in the midst of a climate crisis that is hurting crop yields, increasing droughts, floods, and weather patterns. Our low-income and communities of color will overwhelmingly feel the impact of this climate crisis. We can help curb the impact of the climate crisis and improve air quality for all Kentuckians through incentivizing carbon farming, designing streets that make it easier to walk/bike, and improving mass transit options and affordability. We should focus on retraining and providing Kentuckians with the skills to work in green career fields that combat climate change.

Every Kentuckians deserves clean water as well. We must improve our waste water infrastructure and push for water reuse and recycling. Modernizing our water infrastructure to eliminate incidents of leaching and contamination will keep Kentuckians healthy for generations.

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.

Protecting black people, indigenous people, Latinx people, and documented and undocumented immigrants from white supremacy should be a priority of the Kentucky legislature. These communities have been threatened by white supremacy for centuries. It is time that we codify these protections and eliminate any appearance that white supremacy is acceptable in Kentucky. I support legislation condemning white supremacist and labeling them as domestic terrorist. I believe our state should have an Institutional Racism Task Force that seeks out policy and practices that create inequities between white people and people of color.

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?

Kentucky’s mass incarceration problem is a crime against its own citizens. It destroys families and creates real economic and social devastation for our disenfranchised communities, often those that contain black and brown people. Real justice reform and rehabilitation is needed in our prison system. I am committed to ending mass incarceration in Kentucky. If elected, I will fight for criminal justice reform and focus on rehabilitating inmates and preparing them for life after prison. Real job training and education advancement is needed in our correctional facilities. Furthermore, we have failed our citizens if they exit a correctional facility without a trade skill and job to begin their new lives. This improves the economy, communities, and families.

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 support statewide Fairness laws to protect the LGBTQ+ community. There should be no barriers for any Kentuckian who is seeking employment or housing when qualified. Sexual orientation has no bearing on job readiness or employability. I will push for a statewide Fairness law and ensure that all Kentuckians are safe from discrimination. Incidents involving discrimination should result in an admonishment and fine.

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: 

Kentucky should be a leader in providing its citizens with quality health care services. We are currently experiencing major access issues which are directly related to funding. Furthermore, the price for medication and service creates a larger access issue in our most disenfranchised communities. I will increase healthcare access through additional mobile locations in our rural communities. I will fight to place caps on critical and life-saving medication to stop the skyrocketing prices. Serious tax code reform is necessary to meet the health care needs of all Kentuckians, but simple measures like creating an e-cigarette tax could bring immediate relief to some of our neighbors. This revenue will help fuel our health care expansion. Our legislature has a role in improving health care for all Kentuckians, we need the right leaders who will fight on the behalf of the average Kentuckian to make it happen.