Mike Eaves | Kentuckians For The Commonwealth

Mike Eaves

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 hope Kentucky can return to a time when civility and consideration of the common good are the first consideration in every political discussion. Public service should be, above all else, about service. I hope for a public education system that meets more than the bare minimums; one that inspires our children to be all that they can be, to go further, and strive to achieve bigger and better. Jobs will come to an educated population, I believe. I hope we can offer to all our citizens a basic level of healthcare, and ask of them in return that they safeguard their health. We will all benefit if we take better care of our citizens, and they take better care of themselves. By chasing so many divisive issues that are not “our problem” we have forgotten those basic issues which are fundamental to our government. I hope my experience as a problem solver will add one more voice of reason and allow us to address our common problems.

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?

Once a person has satisfied all the obligations of their sentence, I would support the restoration of that persons voting rights. But restoration of those rights must be coupled with educating those who may never have voted, why its imperative that they do so.

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?

There is no evidence that in person voter fraud is a problem in need of a fix. The recently passed SB 2 intends to control access to voting; a national Republican initiative. The right to vote is fundamental to our democracy. We have been several years trying to satisfy a federal requirement for real id cards; and there is no assurance we can offer them yet. The integrity of our system of elections is a real concern, but I am opposed to any law that restricts access to the ballot box without the most compelling justification. I would vote to repeal the new voter id law. The advances in technology will no doubt make voting much easier and more secure in my lifetime, but before that time comes, we should accommodate voters, at all levels of society, to make it easier to vote. Common sense solutions would include extended polling place hours, offering ballots in multiple languages (something that most ATM machines offer) and early voting.

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?

As a Commonwealth, we must identify our priorities, and create revenue to support those priorities. In private business I learned long ago that you cannot cut your way to profitability. Its about the revenue. And you cannot, as seems to be the hope, cut taxes for the few to create taxes to support the needs of the many. It doesn't work. We need to stop tweaking our tax system by creating more exemptions and exceptions in a system that already has too many. We need to put a system of taxes in place that meet our budget, and then live within that budget. And someone in Frankfort needs to be charged with the responsibility of reporting to us when our government doesn’t do that. Reporting to our government when our government acts irresponsibly, would not seem to be, responsible.

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?

The legislature needs to stop its preoccupation with criminalizing innocent families seeking nothing more than a better life. It needs to embrace the Affordable Care Act and accept, as so many Kentuckians have, the benefits it offers. So many of these issues have been driven by a national directive that has no place in our state legislature.

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 believe that the climate crisis is real, and that it is a crisis. I support policies that promote clean, affordable energy, and energy jobs, and any initiatives that bring clean and affordable energy, clean air and drinking water, to all our citizens.

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.

Health care is, in my view, a basic human right. We need to expand access to basic healthcare, to include preventive care, to reach younger people. The COVID crisis has made clear the inadequacy of that system, especially as relates to people of color. The failure of our minimum wage to keep pace with any measurable standard of living also has its greatest and cruelest impact on the economically disadvantaged. And a thorough overhaul of our criminal justice system, including a thorough understanding of how we got here, is essential. Juggling jail space is not criminal justice reform; its prison management.

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?

Incarceration is not an answer to every social ill. Much of the current problem results from a knee jerk reaction to a host of social problems. I oppose a knee jerk solution, for the same reason. But what appears obvious is that the drug epidemic can no longer be dealt with by the same criminal system that deals with violent crimes. Our local court system and the jail system have become revolving doors of repeat offenders. People who are arrested, jailed, released, only to be re-arrested. The current system is not addressing the problem. Ultimately it would seem that we all hope to be treated equally. If that is so, then whenever we find that our system fails to do that, the system needs to be changed.

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 efforts to protect the rights of individuals against discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Insofar as I understand the practice of conversion therapy, for the same reason I do not support such a practice.

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: 

Given the current crisis that grips our country and our state, concerns about our state's economy, revenue, and budget may outweigh all other considerations for some time. But if we can get past our current fiscal crisis, access to healthcare is one of my most fundamental beliefs. We need to stop fighting about the Affordable Care Act - it works, and our people benefit from it. Until there is a better system we need to leave it alone. We also need to expand our health care system to provide wellness care; its far cheaper to keep people well than to try to make them well when their health has failed. And we should also assure that prescription drug prices, including insulin, is provided at a reasonable price.