The four Republican candidates for Kentucky governor are going through a grueling primary campaign. It could make the eventual winner a stronger candidate or conceivably weaken him for the fall general election.
Facing only token opposition, presumptive Democratic gubernatorial nominee Jack Conway has gotten a free ride. Here are some questions Conway ought to answer.
A bill in Congress, the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act would have banned abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy. Do you support such a limit on late-term abortions? If not, do you support any limits on late-term abortions or, as U.S. Senator Rand Paul recently put it, “Is it okay to kill a 7-pound baby in the uterus?”
If the Supreme Court upholds Kentucky's constitutional amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman will you support and work for repeal of that amendment as governor? If not, why not?
Do you support lowering the voting age in Kentucky to 16 or 17? If not, why not?
Do you think that illegal immigrants are taking jobs from Kentuckians? If so, what will you do as governor to stop it? Do you support Republican Hal Heiner's plan to implement an E-Verify in Kentucky to ensure that Kentucky jobs go to legal Kentucky workers?
You admit that you voted for President Obama, but hope to avoid the damaging political consequences of that by adding that you have also sued him (actually, the Environmental Protection Agency). But you did not join other states in suing Obama over his executive action granting work permits to millions of illegal aliens and suspending their deportation. Why not? Do you agree with Obama on immigration?
Do you support the Common Core education standards as used in Kentucky? Do you agree with outgoing education commissioner Terry Holliday that certain low-achieving Kentucky public schools should at least have the option of converting to charter schools? If not, why not?
Do you support Republican James Comer's plan that graduates of Kentucky's state universities who go on to accept a job and live in Kentucky get reimbursed for tuition over certain amounts through annual tax credits? If not, what is your plan for making college more affordable in Kentucky?
As governor will you work to expand gambling and bring casinos to Kentucky? If so, and since you have had the eight years of Governor Beshear's failed efforts to prepare, what is your particular plan? Do you support Republican Will T. Scott's plan that 95% of the revenue from expanded gaming be dedicated to the staggeringly large unfunded public pension liabilities?
Do you have a public pension reform plan that you will offer as governor? If so, what is it? If not, why not?
Do you support Republican Matt Bevin's plan for “an immediate freeze on the expansion of participants in our current pension plans and implementing a 401(k) style defined contribution plan for new employees.” If not, why should public employees have a guaranteed minimum rate of return on their plans when most private sector employees do not?
Do you have a tax reform plan that you will offer as governor? If so, what is it? If not, why not? What elements of the Jerry Abramson tax reform task force recommendations to you support, if any? In principle, do you believe that any tax reform should be revenue neutral or should it raise new money?
How do you propose paying for the additional costs of expanded Medicaid under Obamacare when the federal subsidy is reduced? Do you accept the Oregon Health Study report that, “Medicaid coverage yielded no significant improvements in measured physical health outcomes”? If not, why not? If so, is expanded Medicaid worth the cost?
Given that before reaching age 46 and after working in Frankfort in Paul Patton's gubernatorial administration you have run for the U.S. House of Representatives, the U.S. Senate, state attorney general (twice), and now the governorship, do you agree that you are a “career politician”? Since you graduated from law school, how many years have you worked in the private sector and how many in government?
Since you supported “card check” legislation to eliminate secret ballots in union elections do you also back the new rule by Obama's National Labor Relations Board to help unions win organizing campaigns? The Weekly Standard says that the new rule “appears to force employers to violate their employees' privacy by handing over work schedules and personal contact information for employees to unions without the employees' consent.” Does that disturb you?
Do not expect any answers from Conway. And why should he respond if voters allow him to run a campaign on image instead of issues?
(John David Dyche is a Louisville attorney and a political commentator for WDRB.com. His e-mail is email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @jddyche.)