Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local News

April 29, 2012

Tanya Pullin running on record, leadership roles

ASHLAND — The state’s 98th House District has been represented by Tanya Pullin for six terms. This year, she is seeking re-election to a seventh term.

But for the first time since 2006, she faces opposition. Her challenger, fellow Democrat Tyler Murphy, is seeking his first elective office.

Pullin is an attorney, but, unlike most of the other state legislators, she chooses not to have other full-time employment.

“This job is my duty,” she said. “I don’t mean to do this forever. While I am, I want to give it what I’ve got,” she said. Not having other employment gives her a time advantage in both getting things done in Frankfort and meeting with constituents in her district.

Pullin says she welcomes the challenge from Murphy. “It’s a democracy. It is not my seat. It belongs to the people. Each time I decide if I am going to run again. Each time I assess,” she said, noting she asks herself “Should I run? What do I have to offer the people of my district? Would I be a good choice?”

This year, she said she chose to seek re-election in part because of the seniority she has established, including that she is a standing committee chairman. “I can do things I couldn’t do 10 years ago,” she said.

Indeed, Pullin has a long record of legislative accomplishments, including that she is consistently among the most productive legislators in terms of getting her legislation passed. It is a trend she plans to continue.

“I start early,” she explains, noting she often writes bills out of session so they can be vetted by committees during the interim session and are ready to go with a moment’s notice when the regular session starts.

Pullin said she thinks another reason she is successful at getting legislation passed is “I just don’t care who gets credit. I just don’t mind who gets credit.”

She also has a reputation for being able to work with legislatures on both sides of the aisle including those who are known for being tough to work with. “I work with them very matter-of-factly,” she said. “I explain everything. ... I also try to see other people’s points of view, even if I don’t agree with them.”

Veterans

Veterans’ causes, according to Pullin, are dear to her heart for a number of reasons. “It is important to our community,” she said. “We have an incredible number, per capita, in our community of veterans.”

Pullin, who is the chair of the House’s Committee on Veterans, Military Affairs and Public Safety, said she saw a lack of services for veterans in this area and set out to change that.

She was instrumental in getting the Veterans Cemetery North East to locate in Greenup County. Before the cemetery, there were no Veterans Administration facility in the county, which has a high per capita ratio of veterans.

As part of her work with returning veterans, Pullin sponsored legislation that requires pre-trial officers to ask arrestees if they served in combat in order to get them connected to services to help them deal with problems stemming from post-traumatic stress disorder. In the first two months it was enacted, officials identified 523 combat veterans who were arrested, she said. That data led to the bill this session establishing a veteran’s designation on driver’s license, which will help identify even more veterans and connect them with services they have earned, she said.

She also got a bill passed that allowed money in the Military Family Assistance Trust Fund to be used for the Kentucky National Guard Adoption Assistance Program.

Helping wounded warriors will continue to be an ongoing area of work, she said.

Drugs

The prescription drug epidemic is also among her principal areas of work but continues to be a challenge.

 “It is as if it changes in response to what we do,” she said. “It changes constantly so it requires us, the lawmakers, to keep changing.”

Pullin has introduced and passed bills aimed at prescription drugs, and methamphetamines in the past. This year, she said, the house worked to put $6.5 million for rehabilitation centers expansion in the state budget, as well as an additional $4 million to improve the KASPER System (Kentucky All Schedule Prescription Electronic Reporting). The legislature also instructed the Attorney General’s office to work with surrounding states to link reporting systems.

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