Adrienne Southworth | Kentuckians For The Commonwealth

Adrienne Southworth

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 is for government to serve the people so they can lead fulfilling lives the way they are most comfortable. We should he helping them not creating barriers. They are the ones who hire us, not the other way around. Government should be responsive with A+ customer service in trying to find answers and create solutions whether it's easy or not. My time in office will be very constituent-focused using my knowledge base of the back end of government to get things done. Committees I would be most useful on would include A&R, Judiciary, State & Local Government, and Education.

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 I support a constitutional amendment and have worked with KFTC for probably nearly a decade in advancing this legislation. However, there have been a few versions of the bill in more recent years, some of which are better than others. I am working on multiple ways to accomplish the same goal, while avoiding gridlock so we can see success.

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?

I like a concentrated time period for voting to reduce the voter information disparity or incentive for pre-leaked results. However, extended hours are very helpful for many people. Early voting and absentee has historically worked well under the current excuses, but I do not believe the public is well informed of those options. I support some of the reforms such as multiple poll worker shifts and using poll workers from any party affiliation. I would prefer to remove the voting ID from the drivers license system and have our own voting ID system since the requirements are not the same for each and cause leaks to the system. Ballots should be provided in English because only citizens are allowed to vote and in order to be a citizen, one must either be born here or pass an English test. Additionally, names don't change and a poll worker can assist someone if they are confused on how to mark. We need to focus on having an accurate roster, and with that in place we may be able to do identity checks without physical IDs similar to any telephone verification with a bank or credit company.

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?

We need to redefine what the Commonwealth's "needs" are. Every agency employee can attest to the mad dash scenario before the end of the fiscal year to waste money, buy things to throw away, and other such horrors that the people are never supposed to know about. I want to eliminate the need for this waste by allowing agencies to use their extra funds for things like a credit toward next year's pension costs, or to make a lump sum payment into a restricted savings plan for a specific purchase they will need to make next year that they cannot afford under a normal budget. Another item I am looking at is a state bank, wherein our money can generate its own revenue to help offset costs increases or shortfalls. The tax structure needs to be a much fairer and simpler operation, but transition to ideal is as much the issue as identifying the ideal. Since this is the basis for all government function, it will be a deep priority, but I will not be quick to rush into a new fashion trend only to find it's a disappointment.

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?

Immigrants or citizens, lack of documentation does have its shortfalls in today's society. Each person must decide what works for them, because there is not a way to provide documented services to undocumented people. The good news is many private services are not tied to documentation, so there may be alternative options for those who are under-documented.

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?

I am seeing mixed science, so the solutions are not yet clear to me. If public policy needs become apparent, I would only support what serves all of the public and not just the few.

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.

Kentucky's legislature lays down the law for the entire state. Therefore, there can be one flat policy created for the entire state on issues where local disparity is not better. Having agencies with policies that are all over the place has contributed to confusion and inequality on a number of fronts and the law needs to be set in those cases to eliminate bias as much as possible. That said, however, flat systems can also create the inequality. Our criminal justice system of classification both pre-trial and post-conviction is a good bad example of this. I would propose an actually blind assessment of factors at both levels that do not incorporate items such as alleged charges which we know can be based not in law but subjective opinion.

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?

Basic principles need to be laid down as to the role of incarceration in this state. The justice system cannot be used as a replacement for tort complaints. I also want to place a high priority on training our police both in practice, cultural awareness, and knowing the law, and additionally evaluating performance to eliminate the bad apple revolving door syndrome between counties and states.

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?

I need to research some legal details on both of these issues still.

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: 

I want to require health purchases to provide visible price tags so there are no more sneaky healthcare costs. Nobody should be told to sign blank checks when they have no way to pay it once it's due, then be forced into collections just months later. Just like all other services, people need to be informed of their alternatives and cost-saving options up front and get answers when they ask questions. The system can only improve when costs are not boosted across the board to accommodate business costs of failed collections. Overall, I would be focused on lowering healthcare costs through a more free market approach in every segment of the system.