Monday, November 2, 2015

OP-ED, Adam Meier: Why You Should (Maybe) Vote on Tuesday

Adam Meier. FTM file. 

By Adam Meier, Fort Thomas City Council
Click to hear from the other side. 

Did you know we have an election this Tuesday, November 3?

Kentucky is one of just a few states that will elect a new Governor this year.  Additionally, we have the opportunity to elect candidates for several other statewide offices, including Attorney General, Treasurer, Auditor, Secretary of State, and Commissioner of Agriculture.

If you didn’t know about the election…or just don’t care enough to vote—don’t worry, you are not alone.  But I would like to ask you to reconsider—maybe (I’ll get to why on the “maybe” later).

Voters often flock to the polls for presidential elections…even midterm elections to elect our federal congressman. However, despite the fact that who we pick as our next governor will likely have a much greater impact on our daily lives as Kentuckians, we just don’t seem to care—we don’t show up to the polls. In our last Governor’s election in 2011, registered voters in Kentucky turned out at just 28.6%.

It is even worse in Northern Kentucky (NKY).  In that same year, 2011, Campbell County turned out at just 25.7%, Boone at 21.7%, and Kenton at 23.8%.  So although NKY is a huge population center and contributes much revenue to the state coffers, low turnout in NKY makes it easier for Frankfort to ignore us.  It takes away leverage that the NKY Legislative caucus would have to return those revenues to projects in our region.

So, I really want you to show up to the polls. But, I don’t want you to just show up to the polls. I want you to take an hour or two, and research the candidates, research their policies, and determine which candidate(s) you would like to support.  That is why I say “maybe” you should vote on Tuesday. Don’t just be a voter. Be an informed voter.  A great place to start your research is at a candidate’s website, such as for Republican Matt Bevin or Democrat Jack Conway.


Also, please don’t base you vote on all the misleading and negative ads that are run with the explicit intent to suppress voter turnout.  Political ads do not need to be true—libel and slander protections are virtually non-existent for political candidates. Often, independent fact checkers will look at such ads to rate them as to their veracity.  For example, you’ve probably seen negative ads about Matt Bevin, the GOP nominee for Governor--he provides links to some of these independent fact checkers on his website at www.mattbevin.com/truth.

But back to the questions as to why you should you care enough to vote? The answer, is that Kentucky is really hurting in a lot of areas. And we are surrounded by states that have differing policies—policies that businesses look at before making a decision to open, expand, or move in that particular state.  Here is the state of the state, so to speak

We are ranked 45th in overall state fiscal condition, right between New York and California.

We have one of the worst 2 unfunded pension liabilities in the nation. In fact, in the last 8 years alone, the Kentucky Employee Retirement System has went from 56% funded (2007) to 21% funded (2014)—a 62% decrease. 

We have the 4th worst credit rating in the country, which means we have a limited ability to borrow, and it will cost us more to do so.

We are 47th in medium household income and 46th in per capita income.

Our labor market is ranked 49th in the country.

We have the 4th lowest labor force participation rate in the nation. In fact, since 2007, our labor force participation rate went from 62% to 57.5%, a 4.5% decrease. And while the number of adult Kentuckians has increased by over 170K, the number of adults employed has actually decreased in that same period

The United Health Foundation currently ranks Kentucky 48th in overall health.

There is, of course, one study that puts as at the top of a list, instead of the bottom.  A Harvard Study found that Kentucky has one of the most corrupt governments in the country.

Those are just a few of the reasons why we should care. And the two men running for Governor offer different approaches and ideas to these issues. Conway has spent his career in government will in large measure continue many of the policies as is.  Bevin brings a pro-business perspective and offers many specific proposals to improve our business climate and make us more competitive with surrounding states.

I take a data driven approach to problem solving and policy formation.  In examining these candidates and their plans, it is my opinion that Matt Bevin’s plan and specific policy proposals are better for Kentucky and will vastly improve our business climate, create jobs, and ultimately improve overall quality of life and state fiscal health.  Matt Bevin has earned my vote and I will show up to cast it. I hope to see you there.

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