Mike Eaves | Kentuckians For The Commonwealth

Mike Eaves

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?

Many of our problems are the result of long neglect and can’t be resolved overnight. But I hope Kentucky can return to a time when civility and consideration of the common good are the first consideration in every political discussion. An educated population, I believe, is the single best hope for all our children. So, I hope for a public education system that meets more than the bare minimums; one that inspires our children to be all that they can be, to go farther, and strive to achieve bigger and better. Jobs will come to an educated population, I believe. I hope we can offer to all our citizens a basic level of healthcare, and ask of them in return that they safeguard their health. We will all benefit if we take better care of our citizens, and they take better care of themselves. By chasing so many divisive issues that are not “our problem” we have forgotten those basic issues which are fundamental to our government. I hope my experience as a problem solver will add one more voice of reason and allow us to address our common problems.

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.

Once a person has satisfied all the obligations of their sentence, I would support the restoration of that persons voting rights.Did not respond.

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?

There is no proof or even allegation that the proposed voter id bill addresses an existing problem, and much speculation that it will create problems for voters that don’t currently exist. The right to vote is fundamental to our democracy. We have been several years trying to satisfy a federal requirement for real id cards; and there is no assurance we can offer them yet. The integrity of our system of elections is a real concern, but I am opposed to any change in voter requirements that does not address an identifiable problem, if it also creates a barrier to a citizen’s right to vote. The advances in technology will no doubt make voting much easier and more secure in my lifetime, but before that time comes, we should accommodate voters, at all levels of society, to make it easier to vote. Common sense solutions would include extended polling place hours, offering ballots in multiple languages (something that most ATM machines offer) and early voting.

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?

What most businesses and individuals alike want from a tax system is certainty and predictability. We seem to want more revenue, with fewer taxes, and seem to continue to offer tax cuts in hopes they produce this illusive additional revenue. It doesn’t seem to work, so I’m not sure why we continue to try. We need to stop tweaking our tax system by creating more exemptions and exceptions in a system that already has too many. We need to put a system of taxes in place that meet our budget, and then live within that budget. And someone in Frankfort needs to be charged with the responsibility of reporting to us when our government doesn’t do that. Reporting to our government when our government acts irresponsibly, would not seem to be, responsible.

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?

Illegal immigration is a federal issue, not a local or state one. If a local government takes a stance on this issue, i oppose our legislature dictating a contrary position and threatening punitive action. This entire issue has no place on our legislative plate.

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 believe that the climate crisis is real, and that it is a crisis. I support policies that promote clean, affordable energy, and energy jobs, without regard to color, income, etc.

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.

I believe the law and our many systems of government should be applied and enforced without regard to the many characterizations you describe. Where this system fails, state government has an obligation to address it, and rectify it.

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?

Incarceration is not an answer to every social ill. Much of the current problem results from a knee jerk reaction to a host of social problems. I oppose a knee jerk solution, for the same reason. But what appears obvious is that the drug epidemic can no longer be dealt with by the same criminal system that deals with violent crimes. Our local court system and the jail system have become revolving doors of repeat offenders. People who are arrested, jailed, released, only to be re-arrested. The current system is not addressing the problem. Ultimately it would seem that we all hope to be treated equally. If that is so, then whenever we find that our system fails to do that, the system needs to be changed.Did not respond.

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 efforts to protect the rights of individuals against discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.Did not respond.

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: 

I believe that basic healthcare is or should be a human right. I also believe that Kentuckians have an obligation reasonably protect their health. The denial of basic healthcare isn't free. The costs of healthcare denied or not sought fall on all of us and may last a lifetime. The family without access to a family physician or provider often resorts to the emergency room which offers the highest cost for medical service anywhere. If we accept the basic concept of a right to healthcare, we cannot then deny the resources to make that care available. As a child, i received healthcare at my local health department and facilities like that are essential to the health of our communities.