Nima Kulkarni | Kentuckians For The Commonwealth

Nima Kulkarni

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?

My vision for Kentucky is a safe, healthy, place that fully invests in education, protects its environment, treats black, brown and all people with dignity and respect. I am working to fully fund education, stop attacks on the immigrant community and stand up for organized labor. My voting record shows my compassion, dedication, and proves my vision for the state.

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.

100% Yes. Once someone pays their debt to society, they should to able to fully participate in society.

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 support increasing access to the ballot box by offering early voting, ballots in multiple languages, and extended hours at polling locations.

I do NOT support additional measures that are designed to prevent Kentuckians from exercising their constitutional right to vote.

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?

Budget cuts that are the direct result of the 2018 tax cuts have have left our communities crippled. I support undoing the tax giveaways to the wealthy and working for a more equitable tax structure. I also support ways of increasing revenue, including legalizing cannabis, sports betting and several additional proposals. I was proud to be a cosponsor on the medical cannabis bill, which is an important first step, as well as a comprehensive progressive tax reform bill sponsored by my colleague, Rep. Willner.

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?

This is an issue I am very passionate about, being an immigrant as well as an immigration attorney. Immigration policy is a Federal issue and should not be enforced by our local law enforcement officers. Immigrants are the lifeblood of our state and our country. We cannot afford to erode trust between our law enforcement and our immigrant communities, which will occur if Kentucky enacts legislation like SB1. I am fighting against this bill and any other legislation that would result in racial profiling, discrimination, unlawful detetntion, or any other impact that is harmful to the hardworking immigrant families throughout Kentucky. For our economy, our workforce, our communities, our culture, and our future, we must invest in, engage, and lift up immigrants in our Commonwealth.

Immediately, both legal and undocumented people will be harmed with disastrous implications for workforce, skilled and unskilled, consumption of goods and services and every day businesses. Kentucky cannot afford this at all

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?

Climate and clean water are two of the most important issues of our times. While climate is a global issue we in Kentucky must do our part.

Clean and renewable energy solutions will not only help preserve and improve our climate but will also economically benefit all Kentuckians. I fully support the solar tax incentive bill, along with legislation supporting transparent utility rates and fair net metering rates, among other bills aimed at helping stem our climate impact. Kentuckians deserve clean drinking water, and clean waterways. I support all policies that will result in carbon neutrality as soon as possible and policies that mandate the use of renewable energy in all government buildings. I will also continue to support policies that provide incentives for research and development in clean energy solutions, as these initiatives will provide a cleaner environment, new jobs, and strengthen our economy.

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.

As an immigrant I am working hard to stop Senate Bill 1, because it is so inhumane and damaging to the immigrant community. As a member of the Kentucky Black Legislative Caucus, I have worked with our black legislators and supported numerous policies aimed at criminal justice reform, including elimination of cash bail, automatic restoration of voting rights, sentencing reform, and expungement.

Offering amendments that will stop the heinous policies of SB 1.

Work with the black caucus on Judicial reform

The Kentucky legislature has a responsibility to oppose injustices - racial, gender, sexual orientation, freedom of expression, to name a few. White supremacy is a cancer that needs to be stopped and the Legislature has a critical role in this.

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?

Mass incarceration is a scourge in our Commonwealth. We must give judges more discretion and focus on restorative justice.The system is inherently broken and needs to be reformed. I am also totally opposed to private prisons and private companies profiting from incarcerating our citizens. We must invest more in treatment centers and educational and vocational opportunities for our 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 fully support Fairness for all and have cosponsored legislation establishing statewide fairness every year that I've served. I am proud of the success of local Fairness ordinances throughout Kentucky, but I strongly believe a statewide Fairness law is necessary. I was endorsed by CFAIR in my last election, and I strongly believe in the equality of all people. I have many LGBTQ+ constituents and am proud to work for them.

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: 

100% opposed Gov. Bevin's horrific cuts. I believe in fully supporting our local health departments who are desperately in need of more state revenue. I applaud Gov. Beshear’s effort to support Medicaid expansion in Kentucky. I fully support the affordable care act and hope it gets expanded because I believe healthcare is a fundamental right. I have sponsored legislation to restore vision and dental care, which was cut by the former governor, and will continue to support legislation that will expand affordable access to healthcare for all Kentuckians.