Kentucky Farm Bureau measures candidates for state's Fourth Congressional DistrictPosted on May 3, 2012
The event gavecountyFarmBureau leaders from that district an opportunity to learn the candidates’ positions on some of the organization’s most pressing national issues. Six of the nine candidates participated. Following opening remarks, each candidate responded to questions relative to KFB’s policy on the federal farm bill, environmental regulations for agriculture, taxes and farm labor. The forum concluded with closing statements from the participants, Republicans Marc Carey, Thomas Massie, Gary Moore, Walter Schumm and Alecia Webb-Edgington, plus Democrat Bill Adkins.
Following are capsules from their statements:
Bill Adkins: Adkins, an attorney in Williamstown, said he was pursuing the office because “I believe we have great problems and need to turn this nation around.” He pointed to a “terrible” economy and vowed to take a “positive approach” to addressing issues.
On the KFB issues, Adkins said he supports modifying the estate tax structure to remove implications for farms, favors major reforms to the farm labor programs to streamline the process for farmers and agrees that the federal farm program should include some form of economic safety net. He vowed to strongly support conservation programs and to reduce government regulations on farms and other businesses. Eliminating the federal debt would a top priority, he said. “We can restore a great economy and do it in a real world sense,” he said in his closing remarks.
Marc Carey: The Erlanger attorney was quick to point out that he has lived on a farm inOwenCounty for 25 years and was familiar with Farm Bureau and its policy positions. “I want to take my practical experience toWashington,” he said. “We need common sense there.”
The economy would be a top priority, he said. Speaking on tax issues, he said he favored repealing the estate tax and removing agriculture from capital gains taxes. In regard to environmental regulation, Adkins said “I’m in favor of getting the federal government off of our farms.” He noted that years ago he organized a public protest against the Food and Drug Administration’s proposal to regulate tobacco farms
In closing, Carey said: “I’m running for Congress because who you know counts a lot – and I know you. I was born and raised here. I’m really one of you. I want to represent the best of what you are.”
Alecia Webb-Edgington: The state representative fromFortWright (63rd District) quickly stated “I’m not a career politician” and noted a background as a state trooper and the Homeland Security Director forKentucky. She informed the audience of degrees fromWesternKentuckyUniversity andEasternKentuckyUniversity.
“We need effective representation for conservative principles,” she said in her opening remarks. “We need leaders who are principled. I will make the hard decisions to balance our budget and eliminate our debt.”
On the farm issues, she blasted the Obama administration’s stance on regulating both coal and agriculture. With tax policy she said “I’ve never voted for a tax increase.” She expressed support for repealing the estate tax, preserving the so-called Bush tax cuts and stepping up the basis on capital gains. She voiced strong support for the crop insurance program, saying “food is a national security issue. We need to protect the supply.”
Rep. Webb-Edgington also vowed to pursue tougher immigration law enforcement.
In closing, she drew laughter by saying “my experience as a state trooper shows that I won’t be intimidated by those people inWashington.”
Thomas Massie: The Lewis County Judge-Executive promised to be a strong advocate for farmers, noting that he lives on a cattle farm that has been in his wife’s family for generations. He lambasted the Obama administration, saying “we’re overtaxed, overregulated and over-subsidized. We discourage business growth.”
He said he would work to roll back government regulations on businesses and to repeal estate taxes. He said he favored a flat tax. With the farm bill, Massie said budget cuts are necessary “but we need to protect small farmers.” He said farm program payments to large farms should be eliminated.
In closing, Massie said “the national debt is the biggest issue facing our country. I’m running to undo the damage made by politicians. The debt has to stop. We need a common sense approach taken from working in the real world. We need problem solvers and innovators; people who put the country above their re-election.”
Gary Moore: The Boone County Judge-Executive frequently mentioned his upbringing on aPendletonCounty farm and family ties to Farm Bureau. He told the audience that during his term as Judge-Executive, Boone County has seen tremendous growth in population and its economy but that “we’ve been fair and balanced in protecting agriculture” from urban sprawl.
Mooresaid that if elected, he would seek an appointment to the House Agriculture Committee because “Kentuckyneeds representation for agriculture.” He criticized the Environmental Protection Agency’s attempt to broaden regulations on farms. “It amazes me to think that the EPA would think that farms aren’t interested in preserving the environment,” he said. “Congress needs to hold their (EPA) feet to the fire.”
He voiced support for killing the estate tax and preserving the Bush tax cuts. He advocated a flat tax, a balanced budget amendment, major reforms to the H-2A farm labor program, tougher immigration laws and repealing Obamacare.
Walt Schumm: TheOldhamCounty businessman and farm owner opened by saying “I don’t have integral knowledge about farming but I understand the issues you face.” He said he would turn to Farm Bureau for direction on handling agriculture issues. He said he was running for Congress because of a strong belief that “we should hand our young people the slate we were given.”
Schumm said he opposes the estate tax, supports the Bush tax cuts plus a 10 percent cap on capital gains taxes. He said Congress should re-authorize the farm bill to retain income support provisions because “crop insurance hasn’t worked well.” He vowed to defend farmers in the regulatory arena.
He closed by stating “I’m for tax reforms and getting the government out of our way with their regulations and taxes.”