Crystal Chappell | Kentuckians For The Commonwealth

Crystal Chappell

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? 

As an educator, I see first-hand accounts of the strain and financial hardships placed on students and parents due to their socio-economic background. I’m running for state representative because I want every Kentucky child to have a quality education, affordable health care, and a family who can support their dreams. Kentuckians who work hard every day deserve a chance to get ahead and stay ahead, but too often, Frankfort politicians turn their backs on them. I’m running to give our citizens a voice, stand up to special interests, and ensure opportunity for every working family. Once elected, I would like to serve on the Education Committee, Economic Development & Workforce Committee, and the Committee for Health & Family Services.

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 fully support the restoration of voting rights to non-violent offenders who have paid their debt to society. It strengthens our Democracy to reinstate voting rights to those who have served their time, probation, and parole. We should always work toward breaking down barriers to the ballot box.

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?

to ensure greater access. I fully support modernizing and expanding voting opportunities to include no-excuse early voting, mail-in ballots, same-day voter registration, extended hours at polling locations, and offering ballots in multiple languages. Maintaining precinct level polling places is also a priority for those who prefer the in-person option. As a representative, I would work to repeal Senate Bill 2 as I would with any measure that restricts access to the ballot box. While some people do not see an issue with presenting a government-issued ID, others simply do not have easy access to one. Often times, the individuals without a photo identification tend to be the elderly, members of the minority population, homeless, or impoverished citizens. The challenge of obtaining a photo ID should not limit anyone’s ability to cast their ballot.

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 mostly regressive with the top 1% - the wealthiest among us – paying a lower percentage of their income in state and local taxes than the rest of us. Sustaining revenue overtime is directly linked to a fair tax code and this should be addressed. I also believe that we should close corporate loopholes and adjust the corporate tax rate. I would insist that corporations and the wealthiest among us pay their fair share. Cleaning up these tax breaks will help to generate revenue making Kentucky stronger and in a better position to fully sustain public schools, pension obligations, health care, child care, family supports, and many other priorities. As your representative, I will always fight for progressive changes in our tax code – those changes that will ask more of those who have more.

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 contribute to our economy and communities in valuable ways. Creating programs to aid our immigrant residents in completing their pathway to citizenship should be a priority. This would help to ease social tensions and promote a sense of community. We should also work to remove barriers that immigrant families may face with access to transportation, affordable housing, and help to reduce family homelessness.

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?

Absolutely. The next generation of jobs should be in the form of clean, renewable energy. We have a real opportunity in Kentucky to diversify our energy platform while increasing our energy efficiency, improving the quality of our air and water, and creating jobs. We need leaders in our state legislature who will promote the transference of our energy production from high carbon release fossil fuels to green energy production. The formation of a Renewable Portfolio Standard for Kentucky should be considered. The standard would require that a specified percentage of the electricity that utilities sell comes from renewable resources. Taking action now would diversify our energy portfolio, promote economic development, and reduce emissions.

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 elected leaders, state legislators should acknowledge the biases and systemic failures of our system and commit to addressing racial and economic inequities. Leaders should actively dedicate policy changes toward removing these inequities that have lingered for generations and seek solutions that will improve the lives of those who are struggling. As a legislator, I will continue to seek guidance from and actively listen to the needs of our communities of color. As an educator, I see education as a vehicle for change. I believe that funding Universal Pre-K helps to create a pathway to success (as detailed in the next question). I would also like to see programs in place to encourage people of color to pursue teaching degrees. Many studies have found that increasing teacher diversity is a very successful strategy for improving learning for students of color and for closing achievement gaps.

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?

Our current policies in Kentucky often contribute to the growing prison population. I support reduced sentences for non-violent offenders, along with individualized treatments in rehabilitation treatment programs or opioid treatment centers to prevent recidivism. Multiple studies have shown that effective early childhood learning leads to higher graduation rates, increased earnings, and fewer arrests. I strongly believe that making this investment in our young people prior to kindergarten will prevent many social ills later in life. As an educator and future legislator, I firmly support funding universal Pre-K, summer nutrition programs, and drug use prevention measures to equip young people with the skills they need to succeed in life beyond the classroom.

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 would absolutely support a statewide Fairness Act. Discrimination should have no place in our society. To allow discrimination against one group is to open up the possibility of discrimination to all groups. Relationships between two consenting adults should not be grounds for others to practice bigotry. For the tenets of our constitution to have any merit, they must include everyone and exclude no one. I stand firmly against conversion therapy and would eagerly sponsor or co-sponsor legislation to ban it as a practice. It is barbaric and unacceptable.

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: 

For our communities to flourish, we all need access to affordable health care and all Kentuckians should be able to get the coverage that they need. When Kentuckians are healthy and can get to a doctor as needed, their quality of life and their contributions to our community improve. We must always be willing to remove barriers to accessing quality, affordable health care. Unfortunately, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is in danger of being overturned by the Supreme Court. If elected, I have already agreed to co-sponsor a bill to protect patients with pre-existing conditions. If passed, this bill would protect families needing access to healthcare even if the ACA is overturned. I am also in full support of capping out-of-pocket insulin costs. Kentuckians should not be forced to choose between purchasing life saving medicine or feeding their family.