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

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 state's 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 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?

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 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: 

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 support early voting, mail-in ballots, same-day voter registration, extended hours at polling locations, and multi-language ballots. I believe it is our duty to make voting as easy as possible. 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. I would work to repeal Senate Bill 2. This is unacceptable for Kentucky.

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?

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 continue to expand on an e-cigarette/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. I also advocate for decriminalizing recreational marijuana that will also allow for an additional cash crop in the commonwealth. This will provide a major economic boost. Real … answer exceeds word limit

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?

First, I would focus on doing a better job of connecting our undocumented and mixed immigration status families with local community based supports and mutual aid services. We often do a disservice to these communities because of a communication gap. I will continue to fight against the interrogative strategies of local law enforcement and policies that allow undocumented families to be criminally target. We know correctional facilities are hotbeds for COVID-19 and it causes trauma to those impacted. I will publicly support federally legislation like the coronavirus immigrant family protection act and push a similar policy in Kentucky to allow for our immigrant families and businesses to receive much needed financial support. We should understand our undocument families are major contributors to the economic and social fabric of the Commonwealth. We show that by supporting their communities and families in equitable ways.

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 by incentivising 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: 

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.

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 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?

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.            Particular initiatives that I hope to fight for in Frankfort are:1.     Create regulations geared toward creating police departments that are representative of the community they serve in terms of ethnic demographics and residency status.2.     Establishing civilian accountability boards that are democratically elected with subpoena power3.     Discontinuing No Knock Warrants statewide4.     Create ongoing racial bias training for all government and state employees5.     Emphasis on de escalation vs. aggression, as officers spend more time training for the situations that occur rarely … answer exceeds word limit

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?

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. I have also signed a pledge and fully support a ban on conversion therapy. It is harmful to Kentucky's youth and exacts pain on a marginalized community.

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: 

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 continue the fight for additional caps on medication to stop the skyrocketing prices. Serious tax code reform is necessary to meet the health care needs of all Kentuckians. Expanding gaming, recreational marijuana, and a commitment to a green economy will help Kentucky systematically reduce the age requirements for Medicaid and provide a real pathway to free and/or affordable healthcare for every family in the Commonwealth. This revenue will help fuel our health care expansion.

            I am a monthly donor and vocal supporter of Planned Parenthood. I firmly believe in a woman's right to choose and believe the government should have no seat at the table. I will be a fierce advocate for women's reproductive rights in Kentucky. Our legislature has a role in improving, not interfering or harming, health care for all Kentuckians, we need the right leaders who will fight … answer exceeds word limit