District 1

Desiree Owen (D)

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

I'm a resident of Barlow in Ballard County, a farmer and co-owner of the Green Timber Duck Club in the Barlow River Bottoms. I'm an enthusiastic hunter, angler and competitive shooter. I've won local competitions in long range rifle. I was the executive director during the development, design and construction of the Carson Center. I have also been a political consultant and legislative advocate, broadcast journalist and a tourism marketing executive. I am a graduate of Leadership Paducah and was named Alumni of the Year, as well as Paducah Rotarian of the Year, a Paul Harris Fellow, and the Rotary Distinguished Service Award. CNBC featured me as a live guest about my investment in Apple stock. I was also awarded several Kentucky Associated Press awards, including best reporter, best newscast, among others. I am a native of Lyon County, and a graduate of Murray State University. My mother was a retired teacher and my father was a union ironworker. I am engaged to Ballard County native David Jones, a United States Marine Corps Vietnam veteran. My son is a student at Kentucky State University.

2) What makes you the best qualified candidate?

I have never held political office, and have no plans to be a career politician. It is critical someone is elected as state representative who will fight for what is right for all our working families in the First District, especially in the river counties. The voters deserve someone who will put them first by taking their views to Frankfort, and not vote for their own political self-interest. I will never vote against my voters. I will hold regular public meetings in the district to keep the voters informed about the bills and issues coming before the legislature. This is not about a Democrat or a Republican thing. This is about what is right and what is wrong. We deserve answers that do not hurt the majority of hard working families in Kentucky. My endorsements are from those that represent working families including KEA, #KY120Strong, all local and Kentucky Building Trades, AFL-CIO, UAW, UMWA, local and Kentucky Fraternal Order of Police, local and Kentucky Professional Firefighters. I received an AQ rating from the NRA based on my A rated answers to their questionnaire in support of the 2nd Amendment.

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

Providing the leadership to coordinate with our county judge-executives, economic development officials and others leaders to develop a long range plan to move the river counties ahead by identifying infrastructure needs, and other issues preventing progress in creating job opportunities, and support for agricultural opportunities. Local officials have voiced concerns to me about the need for coordination among counties and communities in the district to find ways to make it easier to work together to plan for the future. I will be a thoughtful and independent thinker who will promote a new vision and new avenues to address the unique problems in the river counties. Paraphrasing Abe Lincoln, there needs to be more government of the people, for the people, and by the people, and not for the personal gain of a few politicians.

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

We need the courage to correct failed policies. Out of state, ideological agendas that weaken public education, hurt public employees, and other working families are wrong. One of the most important functions of government is public protection and education. Our teachers, law enforcement, firefighters and others perform these vitally important, and often dangerous, jobs at lower wages for the promise of a secure pension and healthcare. Arbitrarily raising taxes creating a hardship for small businesses, non-profits, and working families is not the answer. Invasive Asian Carp is an emergency for all of western Kentucky, negatively impacting our tourism and river industries. I would explore the possibility of offering a bounty through Kentucky Fish and Wildlife to increase the price per pound to make it more feasible to fish for them aggressively. Asian Carp could be processed more inexpensively, and effectively, as fertilizer for our farmers. I believe there are ways we can more adequately develop our public land to increase tourism in the river counties. I am committed to finding long-term solutions to our biggest problems, and creating new opportunities. We again need a legislative caucus who will work together for what is best for all of western Kentucky.

Steven Rudy (R)

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

My name is Steven Rudy, I live in Lone Oak and work with my family at our business, Rudys Farm Center, which specializes in agriculture and industrial sales. I have always called the Purchase Region home, from my upbringing to my time as a student at Murray State University, where I graduated in 2000 with a degree in agriculture. I am happily married to my wife of 14 years, Jessica Rudy, and I'm the proud father of eight-year-old Madelyn. Our family attends Heartland Church.

I also serve as state representative for the First House District, which includes Ballard, Carlisle, Fulton, Hickman, and 12 precincts in McCracken County. As chairman of the House Appropriations & Revenue Committee in Frankfort, which is responsible for crafting the state's budget every two years, I give our region a strong voice in Frankfort for our Western Kentucky priorities.

I am proud to fight for the conservative values of the people I know and love here at home, and would be honored to have your support in my re-election for State Representative.

2) What makes you the most qualified candidate?

I believe that I am the best choice to represent the river counties and Paducah in Frankfort because of the seat at the table I give our district, my experience as a small business owner, and the values I share with our area's citizens. It has been an honor for me to fight for the pro-life, pro-family values of West Kentucky, including making us one of the most pro-life states in the nation over the past two years. I also have fought to bring new jobs and industry to our area by promoting policies that reduce burdensome regulations and create jobs. We have recently seen these actions pay off with the announced reopening of the Wickliffe Paper Mill.

As budget chairman, I have worked to ensure that the pension systems of our teachers, law enforcement and state workers are fully funded, something that was not being done prior to this year. I also fought to increase student funding, increase funding for school safety, and defund Planned Parenthood, an organization that performs abortions and should not receive taxpayer dollars. We cut wasteful spending across government in order to invest in some key priorities, and I will continue that approach if re-elected.

3) What issue will be your first priority if elected?

Creating more jobs and growing the economy is my top priority. President Trump has given us a roadmap for what it takes to create a strong economy, and I am proud to support him and his efforts. Combined with the pro-jobs policies I've supported in Frankfort, Kentucky has seen an economic resurgence. Reforms to our tax code and a reduction of regulations have created a more business-friendly and job-friendly environment in our state, and I want to continue those efforts so that all working families will benefit and have more economic opportunity.

This includes further reforms to our tax code that mirror those implemented by President Trump, removing obstacles to job creation, and investing in education and workforce development. I worked hard to successfully restore proposed cuts to public schools and even increase their base funding - and will continue working to modernize our tax code. This includes building on the recent reduction in state income taxes by moving the income tax to zero and eliminating outdated loopholes that no longer are beneficial to our economy.

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

We have several critical issues in the Commonwealth that I have already started working to address, and I want to continue my efforts to increase school safety, create jobs, and properly address our infrastructure needs. Our region of the state has seen violence in our schools firsthand, and we must do what we can to improve school security so that all of our children are safe. We took the first step in this effort in 2018, increasing funding to school districts that they can use to hire more officers or address other security needs.

We also must continue our efforts to create jobs. Kentucky now has its lowest unemployment rate in over four decades, and private investment in our state is at record levels. I want to continue incentivizing new businesses by cutting red tape, reducing taxes, and investing properly in education so that we can create a skilled workforce. Another key part of economic development is investing in roads and bridges, and I want to ensure that our infrastructure funding formula is sound enough to meet the continuing transportation needs of rural areas like ours.

District 2

Charlotte Goddard (D)

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

My name is Charlotte Goddard. I am a wife and mother of two children, ages 8 and 18. I am an elementary school teacher with a B.S. in Ed. and an M.A. in Ed. with an endorsement in Reading and Writing.

2) What makes you the best qualified candidate?

We need a change in Frankfort. I am a candidate of the people and for the people. We need a representative who is going to fight for the interests of working and struggling families, and I pledge to do just that. I grew up in a struggling family, so I have real perspectives and real solutions for families. I understand the value of hard work and dedication, and I will bring that to Frankfort. I am female candidate, so I also bring strong family values and close ties to education and related issues.

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

There are many priorities that need to be addressed in Frankfort immediately. We must end the assault to the rights of the workers of Kentucky and raise wages. We must make certain that our families have access to the affordable healthcare they deserve. We must end the chronic underfunding of education from early learning programs to university. We must end efforts to privatize education. We must protect and fund the pensions that our state employees and public servants have worked for and paid into.

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

There are many long-term issues that plague our state. Poverty is an issue that must be addressed in order to move our communities forward. Poverty can be addressed through raising wages, protecting health care, workforce training and receiving a sound education from thriving public schools.

Richard Heath (R)

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

My name is Richard Heath and I am a resident of Graves County who represents Graves County and five precincts in McCracken County (Florence Station, Harper One, Harper Two, Melber, New Hope) in the Kentucky House of Representatives. I am also the owner of Heath Building Materials in Graves County, where we specialize in post frame buildings and engineered wood trusses. I have always called Graves County home, and am happily married to my wife of 20 years, Ruth, and we have three children and seven grandchildren. I have a degree in agriculture education from Murray State University.

In Frankfort, I serve as chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, making me the primary voice on issues impacting our farmers in the House of Representatives. In this role, I fight to ensure that the needs of our farmers and small business owners always come before those of government, and give our region's priorities a strong voice in Frankfort.

I also am a member of the Mayfield-Graves County Chamber of Commerce, the Association of General Contractors, the Home Builders Association, and the National Rifle Association, who has endorsed my campaign for being a staunch advocate for our Second Amendment rights.

2) What makes you the most qualified candidate?

I have over 30 years of experience in agribusiness and small business, so I know what it takes to create jobs and grow our economy. My experience when it comes to creating jobs and managing payroll give me a unique perspective of the challenges facing our economy. My combination of private sector experience and legislative experience has proven to be very beneficial in passing substantial legislation to improve the lives of all Kentuckians, in large part thanks to my good relationships with other legislators as well as LRC staff.

I also give our state a seat at the table in Frankfort as a committee chairman, giving our district a strong voice in deciding many of the policy decisions facing the Commonwealth. I also share the conservative values of our area's citizens, giving me the authority to serve as their voice in Frankfort. I am strongly pro-life, pro-family, and support the unwavering right to gun ownership.

3) What issue will be your first priority if elected?

As chairman of the Agriculture Committee, my first priority will always be to protect the farmer's right to farm. Agriculture has not only been my lifeblood, but it is extremely valuable and important to all of our citizens' lives. Our farmers grow the food supply that feeds our people, provide employment opportunities, and contribute an invaluable work ethic to our communities.

Government regulations often stand in the way of the ability of our farmers to operate their businesses and contribute to our local economies. I have pushed numerous policies in the two years I've been chairman that have unchained our farmers and agriculture-related industries from burdensome red tape, and pledge to do more of that if re-elected. I take the same approach to many policy matters, as I believe that reducing regulations and trimming government bureaucracy is the best way for us to give our economy a boost.

As it relates to agriculture, I am in ongoing discussions with Kentucky Farm Bureau and the Department of Agriculture, as well as commodity groups like the corn and soybean growers, Poultry Federation, and Cattleman's Association about issues that need to be addressed in the coming legislative session.

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

We have worked to put Kentucky's pension systems back on solid ground, but the work is not yet finished. Our budget in 2018 fully funded the pension systems for the first time in a decade - including pumping an extra billion dollars into the teachers' pension - and that is something that will need to be an ongoing priority in every budget. There must be a commitment to paying off the over $60 billion deficit over the next 30 years, and the reforms we have passed will help us do just that.

We also must continue building on the unprecedented economic progress that Kentucky has seen over the past two years. Record low unemployment and record high investment and job creation have boosted our economy and lifted our communities. But we must continue to create an environment that will lead to more jobs, and part of that is comprehensive tax reform. We began that effort this past session by reducing income taxes, broadening the sales tax and suspending some tax exemptions, but need to continue to align our outdated tax system with the realties of the modern economy. I would like to see our income tax get down to zero.

District 3

Randy Bridges (R)

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

I was born and raised in Western Kentucky. My father, a plumbing contractor, taught me the value of good, hard work and instilled in me a deep conviction to love his neighbor as myself. My wife of 38 years, Carla, is a local teacher. We have raised our two children here and are now proud grandparents to four grandchildren.

For nearly four decades, I supported my growing family by building businesses from the ground up. After several years of experience as a manager in the grocery business, I started Breely's Convenience Stores with a friend in 1986. We began the business with nothing but good sense, talent, and vision. I later sold the stores to my partner and searched for new ventures. Since then, I have established RB Property MGT, a company that builds investment properties and homes, and have become a partner with RE/MAX Realty Group.

I built my businesses and clientele based on the simple belief that we should be good stewards of our money and treat people with honor and respect.

I currently serve as president-elect of the Rotary Club of Paducah and I have served two years as president of the Paducah Board of Realtors.

2) What makes you the best-qualified candidate?

My work ethic and proven track record of getting things done are what best qualifies me to serve as your 3rd District state representative. Good sense, talent, and vision acted as the primary building blocks when establishing the foundation of my business. I plan to utilize the very same ideals when building better communities for this region.

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

If elected, my first priority will be the creation of job opportunities that pay enough to provide our residents with a livable income. I've spent the past four decades creating jobs here in our community and I know first-hand the challenge presented by state taxes when creating family-sustaining jobs. Our state tax code hurts our workers and prevents businesses from being able to reinvest in their employees and communities. I'm ready to fight to reform our tax code and to make sure it works for our workers and job creators. I will work diligently to reduce these job-crushing regulations and work to open the Western Kentucky region up to new opportunities by empowering people, not government.

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

The first is providing long-term opportunities for our young people and future generations. It's not enough to bring jobs to the area. We must bring jobs that provide a livable income for our residents - all our residents - whether that is workforce development opportunities for students transitioning straight from high school into the workforce or professional careers for students who leave for college and return home. Western Kentucky deserves its fair share of the state's economic development funding. Our quality of life starts with jobs that pay enough to allow our residents to afford a nice home and send their children to college.

The second issue that concerns me is the number of our state's residents who are addicted to opioid, methamphetamines, and other illegal drugs. We've lost generation after generation to constant battles involving addiction, but the war is not over. In order to make a real difference, we need to start through educational processes and become proactive in its prevention. By addressing the epidemic of other drug and alcohol-related problems through the use of education and social infrastructures, we will be able to effectively alleviate these systemic issues in our state.

Martha Emmons (D)

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

I am a small business owner and manager; educator; community activist, and mother. My husband, Hutch Smith, and I founded BikeWorld in 1987. With an outstanding staff we have built a business which promotes healthy lifestyles, education, well being, and gives back to our community. For the last eight years BikeWorld has been named as one of America's Best Bike Shops.

We have been instrumental in western Kentucky becoming an area noted for bicycling. I worked for 18 years with 4 different Paducah city administrations to develop the Greenway Trail and founded the Bikes on Broadway program. I served 6 years as chair of the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet's Bikeways Commission; worked on the McCracken County 20-year Parks Master Plan, the Paducah Sidewalk Committee, the Purchase District Transportation Committee, and countless more.

I graduated from Morehead State University with a teaching degree in communications. I was president of Market House Theatre board when the decision was made to acquire three historical buildings which began the theater's expansion and restoration of the block.

I coached the Paducah Tilghman Speech and Debate Team for 11 years, seven as a volunteer, and served seven terms on the school based decision making council.

2) What makes you the best qualified candidate?

I am the best qualified candidate for the 3rd District House of Representatives because this position is a natural extension of the nearly 40 years I've spent in community service and business. Starting in high school I've spent my life working with all kinds of people to successfully lead lives of well being. I am an educated, diligent researcher and planner who knows how to find and use evidence based studies to determine the best outcomes and promote policies of equality. I am a communicator who listens, questions, reasons and can connect people and projects. In Kentucky we have historically been short sighted. I know how to look for unintended consequences. I have been changing the world one child, one family and one project at a time since I started my first paid job at the Fleming County library when I was 14. I have worked in agriculture; education; child care; government; theater; public relations; carpentry; journalism, medical and retail. I have represented our area in Frankfort and Washington, DC, and have traveled extensively. This range of experiences gives me a depth of knowledge and an understanding of the challenges faced by a wide variety of workers.

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

My first priority is education, and this should be the commonwealth's first priority as well. Prioritizing education will have the greatest impact in improving or retaining our citizens' quality of life. Both on personal and community levels, education has been shown to increase economic growth and stability. One of the most important benefits of education is how it improves personal lives and helps societies run smoothly. We live longer, fuller, and happier lives as learned and knowledgeable individuals.

Jobs and economic growth are dependent are well educated people. Education is vital to human dignity. It promotes opportunity, develops confidence and transforms lives. Well educated people are healthier and happier people. Whether it is our infrastructure, life expectancy, drug use, violence, government transparency, every challenge we face can be reduced with education.

Simultaneous with every priority will be to maintain open and transparent operations. The disregard for conventions ranging from law to common decency are disheartening to an open society and endanger our well-being as a people. We can do better and we must do better.

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

Long term issues which have to be tackled are the well-being of our people. Health care; good paying jobs; policies which favor the wealthiest among us and harm everyone else; hasty, ill conceived tax reform in place of a fundamental restructuring; the environment; and infrastructure. None of these stand alone.

They are interrelated and they lap over. If people aren't able to get health care they can't work which drives down the economy. If we don't pay living wages workers will leave Kentucky at an even faster rate than than they did in 2017 when we ranked 8th in the nation as the state people were "moving out of." When the population decreases there is a shrinking tax base and little new ventures among the population who stay among other problems. All these issues reduce the well being of people and because they don't stand alone they need to be addressed in tandem.

District 6

Linda Story Edwards (D)

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

I'm a retired teacher from the Marshall County School System. I graduated from Murray State University with a B.S. degree in elementary education, M.A. degree in reading, Rank 1+ in educational leadership.

I'm a wife, mother, grandmother, and sister. District 6 is my home.

This is where I raised my children, attend church, educate my children and grandchildren, work and enjoy our leisure time. That is why I am committed to keeping my towns and neighborhoods safe, promoting economic development, and job growth, providing for excellent schools, and a health care system that the people of District 6 can count on to be there for them.

2) What makes you the best qualified candidate?

I am the best qualified candidate for District 6 because I am a listener and will respond to the citizens of this district (Lyon and Marshall counties, Reidland #2 and Rosebower precincts in McCracken County). My focus as your representative will be on maintaining the middle class, people who work, and their needs.

Kentucky is at a cross road - which road we take and the success we have will depend on our funding of education, and public sector pensions. It also depends on how well we deal with people and their health and other needs. We cannot have a robust economy in this district without healthy, skilled laborers and educated people. I will fight for teachers, organized labor, public schools and the hard-working men and women of the 6th House District.

I look forward to taking seat #6 in the legislature and reversing many of the harmful laws enacted in the last session of the general assembly. Tax reform has not happened, only tax increases have occurred. This totally unacceptable for business and is horrible for the average family. This is what happens when no alternative voice is heard in the general assembly. I will be that voice that listens and responds.

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

My first priority will be to clean up the tax code. Taxes are how we work together to invest in the foundations of thriving communities. By cleaning up costly, ineffective tax breaks, and making sure those at the top contribute their fair share, we can create a Kentucky that works for all of us.

I am not speaking of increased taxes. I want to find the money and reallocate the funds to meet the demand of this state. More resources will allow us to reinvest in our schools, provide community services and upgrade our infrastructure.

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

My long-term issue that concerns me the most is equipping Kentucky for prosperity in the modern economy. Having a modern, well-functioning infrastructure is vital to the health and well-being of our communities and our businesses. We need to invest in clean water, renewable energy resources, access to broadband internet, and roads and bridges. These investments will make us safer, improve our quality of life, protect our natural assets, and support modern economic activity and growth.

Chris Freeland (R)

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

I serve as general manager of Freeland Broadcasting, a small, family-owned and operated media group that includes WCBL in Benton, WCCK in Calvert City, two stations in Tennessee and the online newspaper, MarshallCountyDaily.com. We started with one station and five employees in 1998. Today, we have five stations, the MC Daily and 30-plus employees. For the last 25 years my job has been in marketing and development and sales. I have worked with well over 200 local, regional and national businesses. I'm also host of the interview program, "Coffee Call", which airs weekday mornings on WCBL.

I graduated from Marshall County High School, earned my bachelor's degree in advertising and history and a master's degree in communications from Murray State University. I was elected and served 4 consecutive terms on the Benton City Council, a long-time Lions Club member and have served on several local and state boards and served as chairman of my church Administration Committee.

2) What makes you the best qualified candidate?

I'm in touch with and know the people of the 6th District. I have experience running a successful company built on helping local businesses and community service. I gained valuable experience working for people during my 4 terms as a city council member. I served during the '08-09 economic recession and helped streamline a tight budget that enabled the city to meet all of its obligations without acquiring debt or cutting services to citizens. I know about formulating and meeting budgets, retirement and insurance, grants and more.

My job experience working with area businesses, community leaders, civic groups and elected officials for the last twenty-five years provides me the essential tools to be the type of representative that the families of Lyon, Marshall and McCracken can count on.

I'm keenly aware that the job of a state representative is to represent the people and their interests, not mine. I'm not a politician and certainly not bound to any special interest group. My only obligation is to the people of the 6th District.

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

Bringing in new and good paying jobs would be my first priority if elected. I'm tired of seeing the people of my lifelong home miss out on new jobs that other communities in the state are enjoying.

We must have elected officials with real world experience in job creation and the ability to effectively communicate with prospective companies looking to build or relocate. I also will team up with our area representatives, economic development and local officials and business leaders to develop a plan and actively recruit new companies to the region.

New jobs not only benefit the employee but our communities as well. It provides new revenue for our schools as well as city and county government. Our area businesses also benefit with new revenue created by new employment. New jobs also provide an opportunity for our children, who are now leaving, a choice to stay here and build a future of their own.

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

There are many issues that concern me personally, but it's important that elected officials seek to know the concerns of the people they serve.

I ask this very question when out knocking on doors and the answers are quite similar: the lack of good paying jobs for our citizens now and the fear our children will not have the same opportunities to stay here and build a future of their own, protecting the lives of the unborn, the ever growing drug and crime rates that are a result of the opioid epidemic.

We lose on average 4 Kentuckians to overdose every day. The Asian Carp that have taken over our lakes must be effectively addressed.

Our public employee pension system and school funding. And lastly, seeing to it that our 2nd Amendment rights are protected is a concern I and many other Kentuckians share.

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