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Kentucky House of Representatives, District 2

Staff report

Richard Heath (R)

1. Tell us about you (including but not limited to personal, educational, and professional information)

My wife, Ruth, and I have three children and seven grandchildren and are active members of Trace Creek Baptist Church. Faith and family are priority in our lives, day in and day out. Because of my values, the Kentucky Right to Life and the NRA have endorsed my leadership with an "A" rating with the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce.

2. What makes you the best qualified candidate?

When I was 19 years old, I purchased my father's farm and began raising corn, soybeans, wheat and tobacco. I later had the opportunity to manage the Graves County Co-op for 13 years and eventually purchased my brother's business in 2000. Today, Heath Building Materials in Mayfield is successful and the continued pride and namesake of my family. Through these endeavors, I have firsthand knowledge and appreciation of the challenges small business owners face, the importance of listening to people's needs and the skill to develop conservative solutions to satisfy those needs.

3. What issue will be your first priority if you are elected?

My role, and that of Kentucky government, is to work collaboratively to grow our state. While it is the governor's and economic development officials' charge to attract and create new jobs, it is the General Assembly's task to create business friendly tax and a regulatory structure to help bolster their efforts. Current House leadership has refused to pass badly needed tax and regulatory reforms that would make us more competitive with neighboring states, like Tennessee. I am committed to push for reforms that will put Kentucky in a better position to attract some of the jobs that are currently going to our neighbors south of us to Tennessee, bypassing Kentucky.

4. What long-term issues concern you the most?

I believe in continuing to fund our pensions. It has taken a long time to dig the financial hole our state sits in and climbing out will not come quickly. A proposal to borrow $3.3 billion would have deepened this problem. We need to stay the course of the 2016 budget, which has cut government spending and increased efficiency. If we are careful and good stewards of taxpayers' dollars, we can pay down our obligations without burdening future generations with greater mountains of new debt.

You can learn more about my commitments and convictions by visiting www.richardheathky.com. I humbly ask for your vote on November 8 in order to continue the work that is in progress.

Jesse Wright (D)

1. Tell us about you (including but not limited to personal, educational, and professional information)

I am a small business owner and an attorney in Mayfield. I am a Mayfield High School graduate and received a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Kentucky College of Engineering. Prior to returning to school to pursue a law degree, I worked in the petroleum industry as a project engineer. After receiving my Juris Doctorate from Georgia State University, I began practicing law at a small firm in the metro-Atlanta area before relocating back to my hometown to open my own private law practice. Through my law practice, I have been honored to represent businesses and families throughout Western Kentucky, providing a wide range of legal services. I believe that being active in your community is very important and I am a member of the board of directors for the J.U. Kevil Foundation and Youth DEAL in Mayfield, and I volunteer as an elementary basketball coach in the Graves County school system. I am married to Heather (Boggess) Wright and am a very proud father of two children. We worship at First United Methodist Church in Mayfield.

2. What makes you the best qualified candidate?

I am the best qualified candidate because I work with the consequences of legislation on a daily basis. I represent people in our community on a daily basis. And, I understand how to work through our complex legal system to help clients. The skill sets involved in practicing law are the same skill sets necessary to be a good representative. But, most of all, I am not content with the direction that Graves and southern McCracken counties are going and I am very concerned that we, in Western Kentucky, have become irrelevant in Frankfort. I believe that we should demand results from our leaders in Frankfort. I believe that our elected officials owe us the duty of being active and involved in the political process in Frankfort to ensure that we are no longer left behind and to ensure that we receive our fair share of highway funding and job promoting legislation to help rebuild our local economy.

3. What issue will be your first priority if you are elected?

My number one priority is placing term limits on the ballot in Kentucky for our state legislators. Term limits will force our many, many well intentioned elected officials to go Frankfort and do their jobs. Becoming state representative isn't a contest that you win, it's a job that you earn. We need our elected officials to be motivated to work hard and work fast to bring meaningful changes to our state, and to not simply let the time pass while increasing their own pensions.

4. What long-term issues concern you the most?

Long term, we must return manufacturing to our area and we must stabilize our pension systems. These are complex issues that take time to cure; however, we will never move forward in Graves and southern McCracken counties if we continue to be irrelevant in Frankfort. Regarding returning large-scale manufacturing to our area, we need active representation to seek out new business opportunities and to work closely with local government to develop incentive packages to make our part of the state the place for new industry to locate. Regarding our suffering teachers' and retirees' pension systems, the state must continue to make progress to adequately fund the pension systems and also to cut wasteful expenditures. The state has recently taken steps to improve the condition of our pension systems; however, we cannot risk losing the progress that we have made by sending representatives to Frankfort who are not actively involved in the Frankfort process. But, bottom line, the state must keep its promises to its retirees.

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