Carolyn Dupont | Kentuckians For The Commonwealth

Carolyn Dupont

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? 

I envision a Kentucky where prosperity is broadly shared, where a high-quality education is available to every child, where people work in healthy environments (emotionally and physically), and where we protect our natural resources.            In office, I will work to make the above a reality. I am committed to achieving progress toward these ends. Education will be my highest priority, because it connects to and interacts with so many other areas of our economy.

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?

I have long been an advocate of criminal justice reform, including restoring the voting rights to those who have served their time and fulfilled their obligation to society. I would support an amendment to the Kentucky Constitution that restores voting rights once time, probation, and parole have been served.

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?

Since Kentucky already required identification in order to vote, I oppose additional voter ID laws like SB-2 that are patterned after other state’s vote ID laws designed to suppress voter participation. I would support a wide range of efforts to modernize voting. At a minimum, we should extend polling hours and expand no-excuse absentee voting. Our Democratic Governor and Republican Secretary of State, worked in a spirit of bi-partisanship to allow more absentee voting this past election and it was a great success. There is no reason why we shouldn’t build on their example.

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?

Kentucky’s tax system is antiquated. It does not reflect today’s information and consumer- driven economy. From 2010-2019, Kentucky’s economy grew, but its revenue declined, demonstrating that our tax code does not adequately tap areas of growth. Additionally, we have granted ongoing special tax treatment to a variety of groups and entities over the last 30 years, amounting to 13 billion dollars in foregone annual revenue. Finally, the biggest tax burden in Kentucky falls on small businesses and middle-class families, rather than on large corporations and top income-earners.            I support comprehensive tax reform that will generate revenue adequate to Kentucky’s needs. This tax reform should create a system where the burden is broadly distributed and not disproportionately shouldered by those least equipped to carry it. The first and necessary item would be to evaluate our tax expenditures for their economic impact. We should repeal tax breaks that don’t benefit working families and small businesses or that don’t provide an economic benefit to our state. Secondly, I would support a more progressive tax rate that asks the top 5% of income earners to pay their fair share. Thirdly, we should create a tax system that tracks our growth, so that Kentucky … answer exceeds word limit

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?

As one of the two percent of Kentuckians with a foreign-born parent, I value the human rights of everyone, regardless of national origin, race, citizenship, immigration status. I support comprehensive immigration reform and will fight against efforts to divide us by fear.

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?

Kentucky must act to address climate change. We need to promote clean energy and in Kentucky this may work best by supporting growth in the solar industry. Clean energy initiatives can also boost rural economies and reduce energy costs. I support the rights of all Kentuckians to have clean air and water, no matter which part of the state they may live in. We also need to secure climate justice by repairing the damage to the environment, health, and economy of eastern Kentuckians.

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.

As a teacher of African American history, I deeply respect the long struggle for racial justice. It is an unfinished struggle. Criminal justice reform is a significant area where racial disparities continue (although in Kentucky, poor rural whites are also too often brought into the system unnecessarily.) I support criminal justice reform, as there are many aspects of our system that require change.

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?

Kentucky needs to rethink drug penalties specifically related solely to use and possession. We need better strategies for helping those suffering addiction. We should invest more in meaningful treatment and provide more opportunities for treatment and rehabilitation, both as a means to keep people out of jail and to help them use time in jail for productive recovery. We also need to address the many obstacles to re-entry. These obstacles include limited housing and employment opportunities, and they often encourage recidivism.

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 support a basic, statewide Fairness law that protects LGBTQ people from discrimination in housing, employment, financial transactions, and public accommodations. I also support a ban on conversion therapy.

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 support the Affordable Care Act, including the Medicaid expansion that has helped so many Kentuckians obtain health insurance. I would prioritize robust support of our county health departments. As we have seen during this deadly pandemic, county health departments play a critical role in the health and welfare of our local communities. Since the Great Recession, our local county health departments have endured deep budget cuts, forcing many county health departments to stop offering certain services, including women’s and family health services. Having a strong community requires a strong economy. But without an equally strong public school system and healthcare system, we cannot have a strong economy or a strong community.