Glenn Martin Hammond | Kentuckians For The Commonwealth

Glenn Martin Hammond

District/Office: 
Political party: 
Democrat
Incumbent: 
No
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 hear so often from people all across Morgan, Martin, Pike, Lawrence and Elliott counties that they feel both state and local governments no longer work for them, and instead, work for the special interests. I intend to change that and bring balance back to Frankfort. My only interest will always be the betterment of our people and communities in which we live. I will fight tooth and nail for good-paying jobs, affordable healthcare, fully-funded public education and modern infrastructure for Eastern Kentucky. Legislative committees I would like to serve on as State Senator are: 1. Economic Development, Tourism, and Labor 2. Education 3. Transportation 4. Judiciary

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?

Voting is a fundamental right enumerated to American citizens. For Kentuckians who have committed felonies and been deemed ineligible to vote, that punitive measure should end after their time, probation or parole has ended. A lifetime ban on exercising the right to vote is unjust and I will absolutely support a Constitutional amendment to restore voting rights.

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?

Kentucky needs to make use of tools that have been proven to increase voter turnout while not impugning the integrity of our elections. Early voting, mail-in voting, same-day voter registration, extended polling hours and bilingual ballots have been successfully implemented time and time again, in Kentucky and other states, without any evidence of mass voter fraud. Commuting to the polls can be difficult for elderly voters or voters without a personal vehicle, particularly in areas like my rural Eastern Kentucky district where public transportation is limited. Mail-in voting encourages and enables those folks to engage in our elections. We also have many hardworking folks who work 12 or more hours per day, and 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. isn’t always enough for those voters. As State Senator I’ll be a voice for the disenfranchised and a vote for all proven electoral reform measures that enhances the ability of Kentucky’s citizens to vote.

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?

Public education and infrastructure are two cornerstone issues of my campaign, and I’ve also talked in depth about public pensions and many other issues that are affected by our state’s lack of tax revenue. The administration of our previous governor exemplified just how ineffective the slash-and-burn style of budgeting truly is. We can’t cut our way to prosperity. We must invest in our people to invest in our economy the same way that investing in education yields better results in the health, socioeconomic status and overall quality of life for the people of Kentucky. I support tax reform and the re-prioritization of Kentucky’s working class in our tax code. As State Senator, I’ll never vote for a tax cut for this state’s wealthiest -- especially not while our schools and communities struggle. We must expand our tax base by recruiting and retaining good-paying jobs into Kentucky, especially in our most blighted communities, and we must encourage a consumer-driven economy by raising wages across the board.

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?

To the surprise of no one, Washington D.C. has failed to create a system of immigration that functions to the benefit of working people. While this issue sits mostly with the federal government, I will say that it’s obvious our country needs to reform and streamline our immigration processes such that undocumented immigrants aren’t waiting 15 to 20 years to become American citizens and live the American dream.

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 have been vocal about a number of common-sense measures that will lower our carbon footprint while also benefiting the taxpayers of Kentucky. First, we need to retrofit all government buildings with solar panels. This will remove a substantial burden from Kentucky taxpayers by lowering utility costs on thousands of state-owned or publicly-funded structures, and will also make those buildings more energy efficient and less impactful on the environment. I’m also in support of incentives for businesses whose commercial buildings adopt solar energy. Those businesses should also then be able to sell the excess energy that produce beyond their need. This would increase the percentage of Kentucky’s renewable energy usage, which is a gain for our environment, but beyond that I also believe in a mandate that requires profits earned from selling that energy to be re-invested in worker’s wages, lowering costs to consumers or growing the business to create more jobs. Clean water is another issue that hits close to home for the people of my district, including but not limited to the Martin County water crisis. It is ridiculous that in the year 2020 there is a large population of Eastern Kentuckians who pay for drinking water they … answer exceeds word limit

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 an attorney, I’ve seen the ways in which the law doesn’t work. And folks from Paducah to right here in Pikeville, Kentucky have spoken out about what all lawyers know and have seen to be true -- which is that the law doesn’t always work equally or for everyone. The Kentucky General Assembly has a duty to stand up against white supremacy and enact legislation that addresses the apparent racial inequalities and inequities in our legal system and in our society. I’ll be a fighter against those injustices and for equality. Policy initiatives I would propose or support as Eastern Kentucky’s State Senator are solutions to the issue of marijuana criminalization and its synonymous racial disparities. Our jails are crowded with prisoners, predominantly people of color, who are serving extended sentences for possession of something that is legal just one state away. Marijuana may not be legal in Kentucky, but nonetheless the prison sentences we’re seeing absolutely do not fit the crime, and it’s hitting our vulnerable communities the hardest. Finding ways to dramatically reduce sentences for trivial marijuana crimes would be a small but positive step toward justice for people of all races in Kentucky, and would save … answer exceeds word limit

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?

America’s unparalleled mass incarceration problem and the racial injustices that comprise it are a critical issue. My answer to question no. 16 ties into this question as well, as those same policies initiatives work to address racial justice, they also address mass incarceration given that a disproportionate amount of incarcerated individuals are people of color. In addition, investing in areas that recent administrations and politicians have slashed, such as education, housing and healthcare, aid in the fight against mass incarceration as they address unjust, underlying socioeconomic conditions.

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?

As President John F. Kennedy once said, “If the law doesn't apply to all, it applies to no one.” I condemn discrimination of any kind. The Kentucky General Assembly has an obligation to ensure that our government works for all people. As State Senator I will fight to protect Kentuckians of all backgrounds. I have also applied for the endorsement of Ban Conversion Therapy Kentucky. It’s far past time we ended that ineffective, archaic form of torture.

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: 

Large corporations are profiting off the sickness of Eastern Kentuckians at exorbitant rates. While pharmaceutical companies are price gouging life-saving medications like insulin and health insurance companies are charging more for less coverage with higher deductibles, we need to send a State Senator to Frankfort who’ll stand up to them. Eastern Kentucky families shouldn’t be one medical emergency away from disaster, and I’ll fight for affordable, accessible healthcare to make sure that’s the case.