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Opinion

  • The House of Representatives passed their ObamaCare replacement bill and sent it to the House.  The only two positive things I can say about it are:  it is not ObamaCare and it is out of the House.  I hope the Senate does better.

  • It’s impossible to travel into the future, but there are times when you can see it. The photo on the front page of this week’s paper not only shows you the future, but the future is staring back at you in the form of some happy, smiling kids who graduated last week from Spencer County Preschool.

    These kids will start Kindergarden next year, which means they are scheduled to graduate 13 years from now, making them the class of 2030. Do you feel old yet?

  • Like Bernie Sanders refuses to acknowledge socialism’s devastating impact on previously prosperous Venezuela, supporters of Kentucky’s pension status quo – who seem largely illiterate about how defined-benefit systems work – refuse to concede that inadequate funding is not the primary cause of the commonwealth’s pension woes.

    If it was, then why is the County Employees’ Retirement System (CERS) only around 60-percent funded despite making 100 percent of its actuarially required contributions through the years?

  • Over a month has passed since the conclusion of the 2017 Session of the Kentucky General Assembly but my work as your senator has not slowed. Between answering your well thought-out letters and phone calls, I have been visiting with constituents in our district and listening to your concerns and preparing to discuss many of those topics during the Interim.

  • “The thing I like about baseball is that it’s one-on-one. You stand up there alone, and if you make a mistake, it’s your mistake. If you hit a home run, it’s your home run.”
                Hank Aaron

    Hank Aaron is baseball’s all-time home run king. Yes, I know technically Barry Bonds put more balls over the fence than Aaron, but he did so with the assistance of performance enhancing drugs, so in my mind, and the mind of many baseball purists - those numbers are fraudelent.

  • Kentucky voters demanded change when they went to the polls in November, placing the House of Representatives in Republican control for the first time in nearly a century. By granting GOP super-majorities for the first time in both the Senate and the House, Kentuckians made it clear that they were tired of “business as usual” in Frankfort.

  • One of the hardest lessons we learn, often as a child, is that we simply can’t afford everything. That lesson is made even more frustrating when we are surrounded by others who can. Unless you’ve always been blessed with wealth, you’ve experienced this at some point in your life.

    Of course, lessons are intended to be teachers, and humble means help nurture our ability to set priorities and make wise decisions. These lessons help us plan and prepare ways we can improve our lot so we can possibly  afford some of the nicer things in the future.

  • One of the most iconic images of the 20th Century was the photo taken of the flag raising at Iwo Jima during the latter stages of World War II.

    That image captured the bravery of Americn fighting men who fought for weeks for possession of a strategic island  that would help position the U.S. to mount, what was thought to be, an imminent attack on Japan, if the war continued to linger.

  • Wheaties was a staple breakfast food in my childhood and between spoonfuls of the stuff that was supposed to make me strong I remember staring at the box donned with Olympic Gold Medalist Bruce Jenner ready to spring the javelin. It was the breakfast of champions and of course what eight-year-old boy didn’t aspire to be a world champion athlete?

    Jenner now goes by Caitlyn Jenner and revealed in his memoir scheduled to be released Wednesday that his sex reassignment surgery was a “success.”

    How times have changed.

  • Old buildings are an important part of our heritage, giving us a glimpse of the people and events that came before us. Many times, dedicated volunteers and community support are a necessary part of the salvation of these historic structures.

  • Spencer County Fiscal Court can no longer afford the current sheriff both in monetary terms nor in terms of believability and law enforcement credibility. Please allow me to explain.

    Sheriff Buddy Stump was elected in the 2010 election and took office in January 2011. He cited his management skills and the unreasonable high cost of wages for the existing sheriff deputies and claimed he could provide 24/7 patrol and 911 call response services should he be elected.  But here is what happened instead.

  • It all comes down to good people.

    Some communities try to better themselves with attractions or festivals. Some place all their hopes in economic development or tourism or some historical claim to fame. All of these things certainly can benefit a community, but at the end of the day, the value of our hometown is dictated by those we call our neighbors.

    I was reminded of that last week as I drove past a couple on Hwy 155 who were spending a cool day picking up other people’s trash.

  • Spencer County Sheriff Buddy Stump ran on promises of providing 24/7 coverage to Spencer Countians and lately, there’s little evidence of that commitment being fulfilled.

    A string of high-profile incidents ranging from a home invasion to a fatal accident have been outsourced to state police. Most recently, Sunday afternoon’s murder in the county saw response from both city and state police, but no one from the Sheriff’s Office was on the scene.

  • Masterminds of the Kentucky Education Reform Act (KERA) intended by choosing to establish School-Based Decision Making (SBDM) councils as schools’ governing bodies to deal with nepotism primarily in rural areas.

    Such favoritism did result in abuse of power, often in smaller districts which some superintendents treated as their own personal freedoms by hiring family members and doling out jobs as a form of political patronage.

  • In 2005, legislation was enacted by the United States Congress to beef up national security by adding new requirements for state driver’s licenses and other official ID cards. Ever since then, as states have gone through the process of complying with the new mandates, much opposition has formed to what is often called REAL ID.  However, despite those concerns, the new ID cards will give every Kentuckian the option to obtain a federally approved ID and lift the burden on things like flying and entering military installments.

  • There’s no doubt we live in troubled times. The world seems to be teetering on the edge of major conflicts, our nation is more divided than ever, and even locally, people often find themselves opposing their neighbors over issues.

  • Getting rid of an unbalanced reliance on the income tax and moving to an approach that taxes consumption instead would brand Kentucky a state of producers rather than a commonwealth of punishers.

    After all, what do personal and corporate income taxes accomplish other than funding government services and programs by punishing – and thus discouraging – individuals from producing and businesses from growing?

    A proven free-market principle is: policies get more of what they encourage and less of what is discouraged.

  • Each year over 28,000 children experience abuse and neglect in Kentucky. To paint a picture of the need, the average Kentucky elementary school has 500 students. The 28,000 abused and neglected children could fill 56 elementary schools. This number includes 69 children in Spencer County.

  • Elected officials are given enormous responsibilities by those who elect them. Perhaps the most important is to remember that they serve the public and are accountable to the taxpayer.

    For that reason, elected officials must be transparent, especially when it comes to the use of taxpayer dollars and equipment, supplies and materials purchased with those tax dollars.

  • The most productive and significant legislative session in modern history has officially come to an end. Although it was a short, 30-day session, the General Assembly has accomplished more in 2017 than we have in most 60-day sessions.