Libertarian candidate Jeff King has announced his intentions to seek the 2nd District House seat now held by Rep. Fred Nesler of Mayfield. The District includes Graves and part of McCracken Counties. King is a resident of Graves County.
I asked Mr. King some questions and he provided lengthy answers. I could not provide the entire answer to each question but provided enough I think for one to understand Mr. King's positions.
I also spoke with Rep. Nesler who stated that he was not aware of Mr. King's candidacy but said, " For 17 years I have done my best to be the voice of my constituency and to represent them in a fair way. I have tried to be responsive to my constituents concerns and have always tried to work with the elected officials in my district."
Representative Nesler is listed as serving as a Vice Chair of Appropriations and Revenue as well as Economic Development; Military Affairs, Seniors & Public Safety and the Rules Committee.
When the General Assembly meets in January they will again be faced with tough decision regarding KY's revenue shortfall. If elected where and how would you decide what programs to cut?
"I think everyone agrees that spending in Frankfort is out of control. This is because we continue to elect politicians instead of regular people. A regular person, like you or I, can look at a project, look at the projected cost, surmise that the projected cost will rise significantly before the project even gets started, and then decide whether it’s good for the state, or not. Our Representatives currently are concerned with one thing, and one thing only; the next election. Should I be elected I would not go to the Capitol and wonder what grand project I can put my name on, or what state money I can scoop up for my district. I know that bringing home the “pork,” like Representative Nesler has done, would endear me to certain demographics and industries, especially area construction firms, but we have to look at our state government as a whole. It’s almost like there’s a culture among our elected officials to go to Frankfort, hold out their hands, and rake in as much cash as possible, when they’re actually supposed to be acting on behalf of their constituents, not just out-spend other districts.. I’m quite sure that the 2nd district doesn’t want higher taxes, they want accountability, fiscal responsibility, and reform."
If elected, what committees would you ask to serve on? and why?
"If elected I would ask first and foremost for the Rules Committee. I think that the people want a genuine reform of the way our government works, and that has to start with how the House works. Beyond that I would ask for the Agriculture and Small Business Committee, as my district needs and deserves a voice there."
Would you caucus with the Democrat's, Republicans, or neither side?
If I were a Republican or Democrat I would be running as one. I am a Libertarian, but I’m also a political realist. My views are much more in line with the Republicans, and I would consider caucusing with them if asked, but I would hardly be a vote to be coerced, or bought.
The Speaker of the House directs leadership ie..Committee Chairs and all committee assignments as well as all legislation, if you chose not to caucus with either side-Do you think you could still be affective for your District?
"As I said, I’m more in line with the Republicans, but I am a Libertarian. If I didn’t caucus with either I would imagine I’d be left out in the cold, such is the political reality of modern times. Government is always resistant to change, and a change from the two-party domination of the General Assembly would surely anger many in both parties. Could I be effective though? Certainly so. If they think I will just show up and take my seat and keep my mouth shut like a good little boy then they have another thing coming. I’m running for more than just my district here, I’m running for all Kentuckians who feel forgotten, ignored by, and are just generally sick of the broken, corrupt, two-party system we’ve been stuck with."
If elected as a Libertarian do you think you could represent your district well considering House Rules? Leadership decides what Bills go to the different Committees. You only get to speak in Committee if the Chairman calls upon you. Only the Chairman can call a Bill before his/her Committee.
You’ve just illustrated, quite well actually, what’s wrong with the status-quo. If the second district wants a Legislator who knows the right people, can maneuver themselves onto the most powerful committees, and can get into those smoke-filled backrooms to pat the most corrupt, and well-off members on the back, then they will re-elect Fred Nesler. It’s important to note, however, that such a member that’s “in” with the right circles is, and forever will be, a hostage to his party’s agenda. In Frankfort we see the Democratic Party spending us deeper into the red than Texas on an electoral college map, pushing for state-sponsored casino gaming, marred in scandals across the state, and they’ve managed to also find time to raise cigarette taxes to astronomical levels, hurting one of Kentucky’s most important industries. That’s not an agenda that I can support, and I don’t hear any 2nd district voters saying that they do. I think when they finally do get a real choice they will decide to let an outsider have a shot. One thing is clear, though, if we DON’T want reform we’ll send Fred Nesler back to Frankfort.
You mention the alcohol and tobacco tax along with expanded gambling. What other issues separate you from Rep. Nesler and do you have an alternative plan for raising revenue?
Fred Nesler and I are different sorts of people, first and foremost. He’s nearly forty years older than me, and was a successful realtor before becoming a legislator. I’m young, couldn‘t afford college, wasn‘t handed a successful career, and don’t have the long record of supporting tax hikes, corrupt politicians, and government waste. Fred Nesler is a career politician who’s held the 2nd district seat since 1993. I was 12 years old in 1993. Our area needs a new voice in Frankfort, someone who is dedicated to giving voice to those that Fred Nesler would be ashamed to be seen with. Whether you’re unemployed, on food stamps, work fast food, work in the hot sun, or drive a tractor for a living, everyone is in agreement that we need change in Kentucky. Fred Nesler is not change, he’s a part of the tax-raising, pork addicted, “good ol’ boy” Democratic establishment that rode their party’s former glory to the position of power. If we want real change in Kentucky we will have to vote these guys out, and that’s where I come in. I represent the new generation of Kentuckian.
Mr. King invites anyone wishing to learn more about him or his campaign to check out his website at http://www.JeffreyKing4Ky.com
As a footnote- Again I had to shorten some of the questions and answers to fit it all in. As always I try to be fair and provide information about candidates across Kentucky and Party Line if they are willing to answer my questions.