Amy McGrath | Kentuckians For The Commonwealth

Amy McGrath

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 Congressional committees will you request to serve on once elected?

I’m running because like most Kentuckians, I’ve had enough of the D.C. establishment and the dysfunction where nothing gets done. If we keep the same people in power, nothing will change. Mitch McConnell is everything that is wrong with Washington. Kentucky needs a new generation of leaders, specifically someone who has worked in the 21st century global economy and world. I am running for Kentucky’s future, for my kids’ future. Working Kentucky families demand and deserve respect, and I will work to ensure their voices and concerns are heard in D.C. Let’s just take one example, many Kentuckians have to decide whether they can pay the rent or pay for their prescription medication each month. I’ll be a senator who will not be bought off by Big Pharma and will actually fight to get these prices down. We need to put country over party and take on the special interests running Washington.

Question 2: 

Federal aid efforts to buffer us from the impacts of COVID were late, inadequate, and often most helpful to those of us who needed the least support, highlighting the inequity embedded in our safety net systems, our economy, and our tax structure. How would you create a more equitable economy – with a federal tax where everyone pays their fair share and that delivers support to under-resourced communities, and allows everyone to thrive?

The coronavirus pandemic has exposed cracks in our economic, health and political systems and shown how much work needs to be done to prepare us for and protect us from the threats of the 21st century. Our responses moving forward must be focused on both safety and equity. In the immediate future, Congress needs to focus on taking action that secures our economy, protects our workers, invests in our democracy, and rescues our state and local governments.

In the long term, I want to chart a way forward for our state that will help create a more equitable economy through making sure every Kentuckian, regardless of employment or income level, has access to health care and affordable prescription drugs and addressing the lack of educational opportunities that prevent our young people from having the fair shot they deserve.

In addition, Kentucky deserves a leader who will work toward fair and comprehensive tax reform. The only thing Sen. McConnell did when he led his party and it had the full power of both chambers and the presidency was to pass a bill that showered massive tax cuts and benefits on corporations and the wealthiest 1%. I am not bought off by … answer exceeds word limit

Question 3: 

What would you do to make sure that every Kentuckian has quality, affordable health care so that they can get and stay healthy? What are your health-related legislative priorities, and what approaches to health care coverage do you support? Do you support Medicare For All?

I believe that a public option would guarantee that everyone, regardless of employment status or income level, would have access to health care and would lower the prices for all Americans because private insurers would need to compete with Uncle Sam’s plan. For the duration of the pandemic, I believe this plan should be heavily subsidized and all Amercians under the 200% poverty line and who lose their employer-based health insurance should be automatically enrolled so that they don’t fall through the cracks. I also remain committed to fixing, in a bipartisan way, the problems with the Affordable Care Act, which brought down Kentucky’s uninsured rate in a dramatic way.

The average Kentuckian spends over $2,000 annually on prescription medications—the second highest in the nation. We must address the rising cost of prescription medications by allowing Medicare to negotiate prices, outlawing price gouging, and considering allowing the re-importing of drugs. There are bipartisan bills to fix this issue sitting on Sen. McConnell’s desk that he is actively blocking. That is inexcusable.

Question 4: 

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? Do you support comprehensive immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship for young people and adults?

Immigration reform is an example of Washington’s failure to put politics aside to protect our borders and enact reasonable, common sense policies that treat people fairly. I believe that we need immigration reform that will address a path to citizenship for Dreamers, prevent families from being separated at the border and ensure we can keep our communities safe. We need leaders with the courage to stand for secure borders, but also who will enforce it in a humane way in accordance with our American values. We should enact comprehensive immigration reform that will focus this agency’s work where it should be, like investigating cybercrimes and counterterrorism.

Question 5: 

Is dealing with the climate crisis a high priority for you, and if so, do you support a Green New Deal? How would you ensure that solutions to the climate crisis benefit all Kentuckians – no matter the color of our skin, income, immigration status, or zip code?

Climate change is intricately tied to our national security. Climate change and resource scarcity are with us today—we already have climate change refugees in America. Scientists around the world know it, and the United States military is already testing, adapting, and researching how to operate and succeed in these rapidly changing environments.

Our naval bases around the globe are seeing the effects now. In the past 10 years, nine major floods crippled Norfolk Naval Shipyard. Key West Naval Air Station (where I learned to dogfight in the F/A-18) will be almost completely under water in the next 80 years. Weather patterns are changing as well, with tragic effects. We are seeing hurricanes, floods, and fires in ways we’ve never seen before. Large parts of the world (the Middle East, Africa, Southeast Asia) are experiencing dramatic desertification at an alarming rate. This means less food will be produced and large migrations of people will be forced out of the lands they occupy today. In the 20th century, we fought wars over values or economic clashes. In the 21st century, it will be over water and resources.

This is the world we will live in. This is the world our children … answer exceeds word limit

Question 6: 

People 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 U.S. Congress in opposing white supremacy, addressing racial inequality and supporting racial justice for Black people, Indigenous people, and all people of color in our state? Do you support the BREATHE Act, a modern-day civil rights bill that would move federal funding from policing and mass incarceration to non-punitive systems of community safety and build healthy and equitable communities? Please identify at least two policy initiatives you would propose while in office to address racial and systemic inequalities. 

I will be a leader who has the courage to speak out against injustice, prejudice and racism. I will be a leader who celebrates diversity, pushes for inclusion, and encourages people to speak out and speak up when injustice is occuring. And further, I will speak out and speak up when our government tries to pass harmful legislation in education, health care and other areas vital to the well-being of minority communities. Kentucky needs a senator that will work to ensure economic justice and opportunity for all, no matter where you live, where you come from, or what you look like.

In particular, I believe the Senate can do meaningful things to begin to address the many inequities in our society that both contribute to, and are the result of, systemic racism. It can close the funding gaps between majority white and majority non-white schools. It can make use of Rep. Jim Clyburn’s 10-20-30 plan that guarantees our most impoverished communities receive needed funding. It can invest in community health centers that serve Black mothers in order to help close the maternal mortality gap. It can address the ways in which climate change affects some communities more than others and … answer exceeds word limit

Question 7: 

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). Are you committed to ending mass incarceration in Kentucky and in the United States as a whole? Why or why not? If elected, what will you do to make strides toward ending mass incarceration and reinvesting resources into the communities most impacted by this system? 

I will work to reduce our prison population through increased federal funding for state and local rehabilitation programs and opioid treatment centers. We also need to look at reduced sentences and decreasing mandatory minimums for non-violent offenders. I applaud the Senate for passing the First Step Act, since it was a crucial step toward comprehensive criminal justice reform.

Question 8: 

Do you support restoring voting rights to Kentuckians with felonies in their past?  Specifically, do you support the Democracy Restoration Act to restore voting rights to people upon release from prison for purposes of voting in federal elections? Do you support restoring the Voting Rights Advancement Act to ensure strong federal oversight of state and local governments with a history of voter suppression aimed at communities of color? Please explain.

Formerly incarcerated individuals have paid their debt to society. Giving non-violent offenders a chance to become full citizens again aligns with the American principles of due process and fairness. It only hurts our Democracy to prevent people from participating and contributing to our election process. I strongly support the Voting Rights Advancement Act.

Question 9: 

Do you support proposed Just Transition bills in Congress to take care of coal miners and communities by investing in abandoned mine land reclamation (H.R. 2156, H.R. 4248, and H.R. 2) and extending current funding for the Black Lung Disability Trust Fund for another 10 years (H.R. 3876 and S.3171)? Why or why not?

Kentucky coal miners have powered this nation for generations. The country now owes a debt to Kentucky’s coal regions for their service in the construction of America. When paid, that debt will help build a new economy for the future of Kentucky’s coalfields. One way we can do this is by passing the RECLAIM Act.

I will work to make sure coal miners and their families are guaranteed the benefits and pay they earned through years of hard work. That’s why I support extending current funding for the Black Lung Disability Trust Fund.

Question 10: 

What will you do to support LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning, queer) Kentuckians? What will you do to protect people from discrimination in housing, employment and public accommodations based on sexual orientation and gender identity? 

No Kentuckian should be discriminated against because of their sexual orientation and I will support legislation that protects LGBTQ Kentuckians from any discrimination they may face whether in housing or employment or public accomodations.