ASHLAND There are two candidates running for Kentucky State Senator. The Daily Independent asked Robin L. Webb and Scott L. Sharp why they were running and what they consider their most important issues.
Here are their responses.
Robin L. Webb
I was born and raised here, work and raised my children here, from a family with a history of service in northeast Kentucky. I love the people of my district and I strive for the best for us. We have so much to offer in human and natural resources, sense of community and culture. I love to promote our assets and serve our people.
I consider my most important issues:
EDUCATION Restoration of public education from K-12 to higher education is a priority in policy and budget decisions. Equal opportunity for all children with diverse programs from STEM to Arts to enrich lives and prepare for profession, certification, vocation, or career. Higher education must be affordable and accessible, and we are blessed with institutions in district, and intra and inter- state partnership to tailor curriculum and accommodate demand.
ECONOMY Northeast Kentucky has a world class work force, with talent and work ethic in that attract industry and build entrepreneurial leadership that outshines neighboring states. We will continue to be competitive with securing economic development resources to get our fair share outside of the west of I-75 corridor to help attract jobs and support policy that assists existing business. In my tenure, we have governed regionally, as shown in East Park, Riverport, Industrial Parkway, KCTCS campus locations, improved infrastructure and other initiatives. We will continue that approach.
SUBSTANCE ABUSE I sponsored the Oxycontin bill in the early 2000’s, to bring the opioid issue to the forefront. Since that time I have served on the Judiciary and Justice Budget Committees, worked on initiatives such as electronic monitoring (KASPER) , classification of crimes, sentencing, drug courts, task forces, work groups, and individual legislation, on the state and national level. It is imperative to be smart on crime, give law enforcement the respect and tools they need to work safely, to pay them a salary commensurate with the work and provide retirement security. I support data driven treatment for the addict, appropriate punishment, rehabilitation opportunity and re-entry support for those fighting addiction. My experience as both a prosecutor and defense lawyer, working in the justice system gives me an understanding and perspective that is valuable in my representation and work on the issue.
I will continue to strive to support policy and initiatives to give Kentucky families what they need to be safe and successful. I am honored to serve in the Kentucky State Senate and represent the people and the land that I love and respectfully request the opportunity to continue in their service.
Scott L. Sharp
I feel service to one's community is an important calling. I joined the Army straight out of high school to serve our country at the height of the Cold War. After 22 years of service, I retired and returned to Kentucky. I'm not happy with the current state of affairs in our community and state and feel the need to apply the dedication and selfless service traits ingrained in me by my parents and the military.
My most important issues are:
The Pension Crisis - This has become a huge issue which will affect all of us in Kentucky for years to come. For several decades now, funds for these pensions were diverted/raided from the intended destination for other political purposes. Tax payers (you and I) have already paid for these pensions once, we will now have to pay for the same thing a second time. Taxes are being raised because of it and Greenup County has an issue on the ballot, especially because of the poor stewardship of our taxes in Frankfort. We must hold politicians accountable for this malpractice and the way we do this is not send them back to Frankfort.
The Drug Crisis - Our communities have been ground zero for the nation concerning the heroin/opium crisis. Although local law enforcement is doing all they can, this issue requires attention at the state and federal levels. As someone who has been in charge of federal drug task forces and traveled the nation teaching and consulting with state and local law enforcement, I know this issue very well. This issue requires a plan to bring all sides (enforcement, counseling/rehabilitation and confinement) together to focus our efforts.
The Economy - Since the 1980's, our communities have steadily lost jobs in what I can only see as a slow death spiral. It's only been recently there seems to be some hope of a comeback. Being centrally located in the eastern half of the United States, with major rail, interstate and waterways as well as a relatively inexpensive cost of living, we should be booming economically. So, the question must be asked - why aren't we. The answer lies in Frankfort - for a long time we haven't had a strong voice at the capital to advocate for our people.