Suzanne Kugler | Kentuckians For The Commonwealth

Suzanne Kugler

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? 

My vision for Kentucky is one in which the middle class is bolstered and experiences regrowth through the enactment of a living wage, full implementation of medicare expansion, and protection and strengthening of workers' rights to collectively bargain with employers. In this vision public schools, which are the backbone of their communities, are fully funded. I will request to be on the Child Welfare Oversight and Advisory Committee Education Assessment and Accountability Review Subcommittee and Public Pension Oversight Board.

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. Citizens must have full rights restored once time and restitution is served. It is wrong for someone to continue without full citizenship rights once they have been restored to society and paid their debt.

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?

We need to make voting as easy and convenient as possible to guarantee that the greatest proportion of voters possible may exercise their right as citizens to vote. I would work to repeal Senate Bill 2 which puts unnecessary barriers in the way of voting.

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?

I support raising taxes on luxury items and nonessential goods, i.e a cigarette tax, and creating a state earned income tax credit would lower the annual tax burden for the working poor.

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?

Healthcare during a pandemic must extend to all people regardless of immigration status to protect the health of everyone. Testing must be free with rapid return so that those infected can be quarantined. Testing, and subsequent contact tracing when required, should be encouraged and help with quarantine needs and care given. Without this support for every person, this disease will continue to spread unchecked. Beyond, it is important for all members of our community to be able to access affordable healthcare, regardless of status.

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?

The climate crisis is a priority for me. As a science teacher who has taught climate change to my eighth grade classes, I have told them that they have a responsibility to help affect change, and I do to. We must as a state and a nation reinstate regulations that require the price of cleaning up industrial air, soil, and water pollution to those industries that create it. If held responsible for the mess, and the degradation of the environment, their resources would quickly be put to proactive measures to decrease that pollution rather then reactive measures to fight their responsibility.

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.

Two policies I would propose involve education and public schools.First I propose removing police from schools. Second, I propose directing resources toward violence prevention and transformative responses that create a nurturing and positive school climate for all students and create opportunities for youth to thrive in community. School is the spring board to the rest of our lives. Transforming education to be anti-racist and free of the stress of police surveillance is necessary to change the climate in our society.

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 must invest in our communities and work to eradicate the poverty. Investing in making the necessities of life available and attainable for all people; affordable housing, food on the table, and a living wage that allows people to provide for their families will stem the flow to prisons. Making rehabilitation and training the point of incarceration rather than punishment, and the deprivatization of prisons, so there is no for profit incentive for incarcerating non violent criminals, will decrease the number of people incarcerated.

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?

Yes and yes.

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: 

Whatever we can do to make sure all people are able to get preventative care and for mothers and babies to have pre and postnatal care will make a huge positive difference for all of us. Prevention and maintenance are less expensive than repair. We must find a way for all people to be given affordable and accessible healthcare as a right, not tied to their employment.