Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

February 2, 2014

In Your View

The Independent

ASHLAND — Pass pro-life bill; quash gambling

In the 2014 Kentucky General Assembly session, several critical issues are being considered but two rise to the top of my list of concerns for families in our state.

First, after nine years of committee leadership deliberately killing all pro-life bills, will the House of Representatives work to get one to the floor for a vote? Most legislators believe any pro-life bill would pass the full House with a huge margin of victory. We know from experience that any pro-life bill would easily pass the Senate. The problem is that there are high-level manipulations in the House committees that prevent any pro-life bills from coming to the floor where the will of the people can prevail.

Already, nearly 60 House lawmakers have signed on as co-sponsors to a simple yet very important bill that would require doctors to have a private face-to-face consultation with any woman seeking an abortion and to offer any woman the opportunity to see an ultrasound image of the baby and to hear the baby’s heartbeat. That sounds so very reasonable to me. If the co-sponsors alone voted for the measure, it would pass overwhelmingly in the 100-member House.

Second, after 20 years of attempting different kinds of gambling expansion, will this predatory industry finally succeed in 2014? Expanded gambling will hurt families in Kentucky. The impact has been documented in other states.

Government should not sell “hunting licenses” to casino companies to prey upon the very citizens government was designed to protect. Please consider calling the legislative message line at 1-800-372-7181 and leaving a message encouraging the defeat of expanded gambling.

For righteousness’ sake, I pray that our unified voice will bring a renewed concern in Frankfort for the lives of unborn children, the health of families, and the well-being of all Kentuckians.

Paul Chitwood, Executive director, Kentucky Baptist Convention

Thanks to those who braved cold

 have never before written an “In Your View” letter, but after a major water main broke on 25th Street and Carter Avenue Monday evening resulting in no water to my home, I felt compelled to write this letter.

My daughter and I said we needed to pray that the water would be back on soon so we would be able to have water to drink and to flush our toilets.

It finally dawned on me that what we really needed to do was to pray for these men who have had to go out in this bitter zero weather to work on those 100-year-old water mains.

All of us should pray for these men and all the dedicated men and women who work so hard for us to be able to water, gas and electricity, police and fire protection, mail delivery and trash removal. If I have left anyone out, please forgive me.

I, for one, thank them and remember the jobs that perform in all kinds of weather.

Martha D. Ross, Ashland   

Raising minimum wage kills jobs

Kentucky lawmakers are considering House Bill 1, a proposal to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour over a three-year period. Proponents of the measure see it as a way to address poverty but the sad truth is that a minimum wage increase fails miserably as an anti-poverty policy.

In fact, increases in the minimum wage reduce jobs and job opportunities especially for young, minority and low-skilled workers. Study after study shows that minimum wage increases cost jobs and stifle job creation.

But we don't need academic studies to know that. Common sense tells us that if you increase the cost of something, demand decreases. Raise the cost of gas and people buy less gas. Raise the cost of employing someone and employers will employ fewer workers.

Kentucky’s unemployment rate sits above 8 percent, higher than all of our surrounding states except Illinois. The youth unemployment rate is more than double that. The unemployment rate in some rural counties approaches 20 percent.

It hardly seems prudent to pass legislation that will make this already bad situation worse. HB 1 should be titled "The Kentucky Job-Killing Act of 2014" because that’s exactly what its passage would accomplish.

 Tod Griffin, president, Kentucky Retail Federation, Frankfort

Alzheimer’s gets record funding

At the urging of the Alzheimer's Association and more than 600,000 advocates who called, sent postcards and visited their legislators, Congress passed and the President has signed into a fiscal 2014 funding bill that includes an unprecedented $122 million increase for Alzheimer's research, education, outreach and caregiver support.

On behalf of the 80,000 Kentuckians and 120,000 Indiana residents who have Alzheimer's and the nearly 600,000 family members and friends who care for them, we want to extend a special thanks to the Kentucky and Southern Indiana legislators who voted in favor of this funding: John Yarmuth, Hal Rogers, Larry Bucshon, Ed Whitfield, Brett Guthrie, Andy Barr and Todd Young.

Federal and state monies, combined with local chapters’ continued fundraising efforts, are critical to:

-- Ensuring that we meet the National Alzheimer’s Plan goal of preventing and effectively treating Alzheimer’s by 2025;

-- Treating and preventing a disease that is always fatal (in fact, Alzheimer’s is the sixth leading cause of death in America, and the only cause of death among the top 10 for which there is no way to prevent, stop or even slow its progression);

-- Funding research that will discover new drugs to treat the disease, because no new Alzheimer’s medications have been approved in more than 10 years;

--  Stemming the enormous costs of caring for those with Alzheimer's, currently estimated at $203 billion a year, including $142 billion to Medicare and Medicaid.

The federal Alzheimer’s funding increase is a significant milestone in changing the trajectory of Alzheimer’s that, without intervention, means more than 97,000 Kentuckians  and 130,000 Indiana residents will be living with Alzheimer’s by 2025.

When he Kentucky and Southern Indiana Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Associations gathers advocates to meet legislators in Frankfort this week, we hope our state lawmakers join with their federal counterparts to join with us in the effort to prevent and effectively treat Alzheimer's by 2025.

Teri Shirk, president, Alzheimer's Association, Kentucky and Southern  Indiana Chapter

 ‘A self-brag is half scandal’

I don’t watch professional sports except a few in the playoffs simply because of displays (usually of a lesser degree) such as that Richard Sherman of the Seattle Seahawks put on recently.

 My mother had a saying which she drilled into my brain: “A self brag is a half scandal.” She would not tolerate bragging. Somewhere Sherman missed this teaching or decided to ignore it as a result of bad associations.

My parents taught me good manners period; especially with women. There was no excuse for Sherman’s in face bullying of and otherwise disrespect of the female reporter who was professional and just doing her job very well.

I saw the play and a two-inch difference in the pass and there would have been a touchdown. It looked to me that the ones who made the play were those who put the pressure on the quarterback. Admittedly Sherman was where he was supposed to be, but he would have no interception if it had not been for the pressure on the quarterback.

As a result Sherman is called a “thug.” Not wanting to take the heat he whines about “thug” being a racial slur. We have “thugs” in my community. They are known as “thugs” and none are black. All are white.

Thug is a title of behavior and/or association, not race. Sherman is just a bully who when hit in the nose runs home whining about it. It is not a black thing. It is about manners, respect, professionalism, and self-control.

Earl Barnett, Speedwell, Tenn.

Letters invited

The Independent invites readers to submit In Your View letters on public issues. Letters must not exceed 300 words and must include the name, address and telephone number of the author. Words of Thanks are limited to 150 words.  The Independent reserves the right to edit letters for length, grammar, spelling, accuracy and appropriateness of language.