1. What sets you apart from the other candidates?
Outside of the Presidential, this is the most important race in the country. Beating Mitch McConnell is a must and you cannot run against him half-heartedly. I am not running to pad my resume or audition for a job in a future administration. I am singularly focused on defeating Mitch McConnell and freeing the Republic from his attempts to subvert the constitutional foundation of our country.
It will not be an easy task. Whoever we nominate needs to be uniquely capable of putting together a winning coalition, and I think that is what separates us. My campaign gives us a unique opportunity to topple Mitch by offering a candidate different than any he has ever faced. As a farmer, a teacher, and retired Marine Lt. Colonel, I can connect with voters across the Commonwealth who share my experiences. The vast majority of Kentuckians have at least one of these professions in their family, and Mitch McConnell has never run against that combination.
I have tilled the same land, taught their children in the public schools, and served with them around the world.
Moreover, I have a detailed progressive policy agenda. This is no populist punch-list; I've worked with experts who volunteered their time to help produce detailed plans. They are designed by Kentuckians to meet Kentucky's challenges, and not by consultants in Washington. The voters will see that, trust in my authenticity, and take a chance on me to unseat an unpopular incumbent.
2. What will you do to ensure that all Kentuckians have quality and affordable health care?
I want to build a ground up, single-payer healthcare system based on the best practices of the countries who have already done so like Canada and Australia. Until then, you can count on my support for Medicare For All, and for regulated prescription drug prices. This will cut monthly costs for you, for your children, and your parents, and will bolster us against potential future crises. We’re the only campaign with a plan to get there: read about it at MikeForKY.com/M4A.
The COVID-19 crisis has made clear how universal healthcare is more than a moral necessity - it’s a national security issue. Thirty million people have been put out of work, losing their healthcare along with their jobs, and throwing our pandemic response into chaos.
With our economy in shambles, there’s no reason to fear the disruption a government assumption of all medical debts would cause. It would be an enormous positive step in mitigating both the economic and health crises.
Going forward, single-payer healthcare would reduce the cost of healthcare for nearly everyone by eliminating the paperwork, heavy deductibles and surprise fees that can swallow a whole paycheck. Removing the profit incentive would allow for massive national investments in public health initiatives that would pay for themselves in reduced medical costs, particularly in rural America.
I live in rural Kentucky – When we expanded coverage through the Affordable Care Act it improved and increased access to health care. It has also made healthcare the largest employer in eastern Kentucky, saving many rural hospitals from closing their doors.
While fighting for single-payer healthcare, I will take every opportunity to reduce the costs of prescription drugs, or the distance you have to travel for healthcare. On that front, there is a lot of progress that can be made incrementally.
I’d advocate expanding access to underserved areas by the government investing in necessary brick and mortar infrastructure then contracting out service providers to ensure that no one is out of reach of urgent or preventative care.
On this issue, we can learn from our allies. As a war planner in the Korean DMZ, I saw how effective a single-payer healthcare system system can be. The Koreans enjoy healthcare at a fraction of the cost we do here, and the Republic of Korea has all but eliminated the coronavirus. Effective government is characterized by effective systems.
A fighter for all Kentuckians will make the strongest opponent to Mitch McConnell. But it will take more than a wishlist to make it happen. Please see the totality of our plan at www.MikeForKY.com/M4A.
3. How are you going to bring Kentucky into the future?
The last Great Depression was only solved with the New Deal. Massive infrastructure projects on the scale of the WPA was beyond the imagination of Washington just three months ago. It’s not a crazy idea anymore - A series of extensive renewable energy and environmental preservation projects are exactly what we need to get Americans working again, at union or prevailing wage jobs with benefits.
On the backside you end up with great infrastructure, and industry and opportunity follow infrastructure, particularly in places with an available workforce.
Kentucky has been left behind by Mitch McConnell, and, like most solutions, fixing our infrastructure means beating Mitch first.
As a rural resident myself, I will insist on a federal bill to bring high-speed broadband to every corner of Kentucky - much as the New Deal first brought power to so many homes in the 1930s. Internet access helps kids do their homework, helps entertain the family, and lets you work from home if you need to. Indeed, this question may well have asked about catching up to the present.
As one of the first advocates to stand with the miners against the Blackjewel Coal Company, I’ll win these old-school Democrats back from the Republican they hate to vote for the most. We’ll help out-of-work miners find new jobs installing wind turbines and solar panels across the mountains.
We’ll create a just transition to a green economy, rebuild our roads and bridges, and rise from this depression stronger than ever. We’ll do it together, after we beat Mitch McConnell in November.
4. How do you plan on addressing income inequality in Kentucky?
As Senator, I would aggressively push my bill for a Universal Basic Income. It would give every American $2000 per month and $1000 per child until one month after we are officially out of the depression that this pandemic has brought about, and then transition to a permanent Universal Basic Income of $1200 per month for adults and $400 for every child.
UBI is the kind of new idea that can revitalize the Democratic party in areas left behind by the economic growth of the 21st century. The working class spends their money - dollars put in the hands of working people struggling to pay their bills would trickle up in increased expenditures among the majority of Americans who lack any savings.
Simply put, UBI is not paying people to do nothing - it’s paying people to do anything.
On top of our UBI plan, we will fight for every infrastructure project we can procure as part of a just transition to a green economy, prioritizing work for Kentucky residents, and we’ll rebuild and reinvest in our schools. Well-taught children will be the first wave in restoring national equity and ensuring all Americans can earn a fair wage.
We’ll reverse the Trump-McConnell tax cuts for the rich, we’ll reign in tax loopholes so Amazon doesn’t pay less in taxes than you pay for Amazon Prime, and we’ll make sure there are no trillionaires while I’m in the US Senate.
Our campaign’s robust UBI plan was designed with the help of Scott Santens, a world renowned economist and Universal Basic Income supporter. We encourage you to read more about it at MikeForKY.com/ubi-plan.
5. What are your goals if elected?
First and foremost, to move forward the mountain of bills that have passed from the House and stopped dead in the Senate by the Majority Leader. Many, like Universal Background Checks and the Violence Against Women Act have broad bipartisan and bicameral support. The second goal is to stop the flow of judges hostile to women, workers, LGBTQ persons and immigrants. While more subtle than his Grim Reaper act, packing the federal bench with unqualified and ideologically driven judges given lifetime appointments is going to be the hardest of McConnell’s work to undo.
Our first and most important mission is to defeat Mitch McConnell. It’s going to be a lion of a task, but with a resume that reflects many Kentucky voters and a strong platform, you can count on me to get it done.