Two vie for GOP nomination for 15th District state Senate seat

May 16, 2004|BRENDA S. EDWARDS

Two candidates are after the Republican nomination for 15th District state Senate seat.

Voters in Casey, Adair, Pulaski and Russell counties will have a choice in the May Primary to vote for incumbent Vernie McGaha, a retired educator of Russell Springs, or David Carr, a radio executive, of Somerset.

McGaha, who has served eight years in the Senate, says he is running again to defend citizens' rights and family values for the people in his district.

Speaking about needs in Casey County, McGaha says he wants to help the county get additional money for water and sewer lines, and to help develop the Ag/Expo Center.


"More money is needed for the sewer line to the three schools on Ky. 70 and residents along the way. I will continue to work with county leaders to get that done." He said $2 million is in the new budget for water and sewer improvements.

He also is trying to get funds for the ag center through the Agriculture Development Council and also for funds to help build two new elementary schools on the east and west side of the county.

Carr says it's time for a change and he will work for the common man. He believes in "We the People" as he campaigns in the four counties.

Carr wants to get more businesses to move to state which he says will help the economy.

On the tax issue, Carr thinks there are ways to cut taxes and is not in favor of a tax hike.

"We can create incentives for businesses to move into Kentucky," he said. He mentioned two companies that are leaving the state. Frito Lay left because the company was being over taxed, and Winn-Dixie left because of oversized entities. "When you see businesses leaving the state, something is wrong."

Carr said his opponent voted to increase cigarette tax and to double legislators pension, which would have caused the taxpayers to pay $950,000 had the state Supreme Court not ruled the move unconstitutional.

"The answer is not more tax," said Carr. "It's less government spending."

McGaha said he is not in favor of raising taxes before the needs are determined.

"We need to see what is necessary and look at spending before that is considered," he said. The new administration is striving to do that now. New jobs will help create more money, he said.

The lack of a budget is a concern of McGaha, who said it must be passed by the middle of June or the governor will have to do his own spending plan, which could be challenged in court.

McGaha is waiting to hear from the leadership in the House and Senate and Gov. Fletcher concerning the budget. "They have to come to an agreement before we (the Senate) is called back. It's a waste of money to go back without achieving anything."

He said from indicators, revenue is up and is at a higher rate than predicted which will be good for the economy.

Carr also wants to prevent the military servicemen and women from having to pay higher auto and health insurance. He said those returning from active duty are having to pay from 10 to 25 percent more on insurance coverage.

He also wants to work on rehabilitating drug offenders and will do anything he can to help small business and create more jobs.

As far as the current state budget, Carr said non-partisan must be on both sides when considering the budget.

Carr promises to work for what he calls the 'common man," he backbone of the community and state. "He deserves less taxes and less government."

McGaha said the legislature accomplished a lot during the last session. "We worked hard. You can judge the quality of work by the quantity." He said when twice as many bills are considered, time does not allow as much consideration and some bad bills get passed.

"We need to look at the bills closely before we vote," he said.

When asked why so much time was spend on the gay marriage issue, McGaha blamed the House of Representatives for "playing with the bill too long." It (the House) did not want the bill to go anywhere, but after it understood with will of the people, it was forced to move on with it." "I'm pleased the bill did make it through and glad the people will have a chance to vote on the issue."

McGaha backed a bill concerning $20 million in farm loans for first time farmers was passed into law and will be administered by the state Agriculture Development Board.

McGaha has eight years seniority in the state Senate. He has served on the budget committee, chairman of the budget subcommittee for Tourism and Economic Development and Tobacco Oversight committees; vice chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee; and is a member of the Education Committee, and Economic Development and Labor Subcommittee.

He is deacon, Sunday school teacher, church pianist and a member of the Crossroads Quartet. He and his wife, Connie, have two grown children.

A CEO of the King of Kings Radio Network, with stations in Somerset and Glasgow and Cookeville, Tenn., Carr is a graduate of Pulaski County High School and has seminary and Bible training. He and his wife, Gwen Chitwood, have three grown children.

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