Roberto Henriquez | Kentuckians For The Commonwealth

Roberto Henriquez

District/Office: 
Political party: 
Democrat
Incumbent: 
No
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? 

I envision a Kentucky that supports and cares for the most vulnerable and under served in our community. We nee justice reform and policing reform. We need to develop new sources of income that aren't built on the backs of the poor. I would like to serve on the Education, Small Business and Information Technology committees.

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. I believe that voting rights should be restored. It's important to re-enfranchise these members of our community so they can have a voice and be a productive part of society.

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 election reforms that allow voters a greater ability to vote including those mentioned here. I would work to repeal SB2. It should be easier to vote, not harder.

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?

Return to a progressive tax structure and limit income tax breaks. Set a 6% tax rate for those earning over $100,000 up to $180K. Repeal post secondary education tuition tax credit. Expand sales tax base to include luxury services. Repeal jet fuel credit. Repeal exemptions for aircraft and large truck repair and replacement parts. Repeal the vessels and maritime supplies exemption. Create a review process for business tax breaks and require sunset dates/reauthorization. Among other items.

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?

Expand investment in social services that target these 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?

We need to invest in clean energy so that Kentucky can be a leader in future energy just as we have been in historical energy. Kentucky needs to look at taking up some of the monitoring and enforcement that the EPA has dropped over the past several years. Companies should be held accountable for the damage they do to the environment. We need to invest in our water infrastructure as well as our other areas of infrastructure.

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.

The legislature needs to ensure laws are passed to help dismantle systemic racism as well as examine future bills for potential systemic inequalities. I would propose critical policing reforms that put the emphasis on helping people rather than imprisoning them. We should eliminate mandatory minimum drug sentencing. Schools should be prevented from implementing 'zero tolerance' policies.

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?

We need to shift significant amounts of funding away from hiring law enforcement to community based service workers. We need to ban the use of for-profit prisons. We need to de-militarize the police. I would advocate for having police departments re-interview all active duty officers and future officers with a focus on identifying candidates who are aligned with community focused policing.

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 strongly support a statewide Fairness law. LGBTQ conversion therapy should be outlawed.

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: 

Healthcare should not be tied to your employer or employment status. There should be a public option available and affordable to all Kentuckians. If an employer wants to offer healthcare as a benefit, that should be acceptable as well, but employees should have a choice in their healthcare.