MADISON COUNTY — THE CANDIDATES
Bradley “Bud” Montgomery, D-Berea
Bradley “Bud” Montgomery, 45, was born and raised in Madison County. He graduated from Berea Community High School and attended Eastern Kentucky University. He served from 1986 to 1998 in the Army National Guard and during that period he advanced through the ranks of Carquest to eventually become the company’s central Kentucky regional manager.
In 2005, he and his family opened Montgomery Farm and Garden and Silver Creek Storage.
Montgomery is the president of the Berea Chamber of Commerce, and he has served on several local committees and boards.
He is married with two daughters. To find out more about Montgomery, visit www. budmontgomery.com.
As of Oct. 22, Montgomery has receipts totaling $47,673 for both his primary and general election campaign funds, and he has disbursed $31,224, according to the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance.
Johnathan Shell, R-Lancaster
Jonathan Shell, 24, is a lifelong resident of Garrard County, and he is the fifth generation to take a part in his family’s farming business. His family owns Shell Farms & Greenhouses.
Shell has a bachelor’s degree in agriculture from eastern Kentucky University, and he is involved in a number of professional organizations, including the Garrard County Farm Bureau Board and Cattlemen’s Association.
Shell is married to Brooke, also 24, who is from Madison County.
Shell defeated Nathan Mick in May’s Republican primary in order to face Montgomery in the upcoming general election. Mick had been endorsed by Rep. Lonnie Napier, the long-standing representative for the 36th District, who chose to not run for re-election this year.
To find out more about Shell, visit his website at www.electjonathanshell.com.
As of Oct. 22, Shell has receipts totaling $86,304 for both his primary and general election campaign funds, and he has disbursed $78,470, according to the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance.
“We’ve got to have tax modernization, we’ve just got to have it,” Montgomery said about the current state system, which was last reformed in the 1950s. However, Montgomery does not see it as a reason to raise taxes.
“I’m for being fair with taxes,” he said, noting that should be a key component of any change, especially when it affects middle class workers.
Shell also believes the tax system should be changed but any reform should not “bridle our economy through taxing prosperity,” he said.
“I believe taxes should be low, our system should be fair and the marketplace should decide winners and losers, not politicians, not political cronies and not government bureaucrats,” Shell said.
The state employee pension, which provides retirement savings for thousands of workers, is underfunded, and the problem has created a burden on local governments and boards to make up the difference. Shell said that changes must be made.
“Yes, we have made promises that contractually and morally must be upheld, but we need to look at the way we contract new hires,” Shell said.
Shell also said eliminating wasteful government spending will help with the state’s funding problems.
Montgomery said several factors went into creating the pension problems, including high retirement rates, low investment returns and lack of contributions. He also agreed that the pension plan must be looked at if it is to be kept solvent.
Montgomery said he supports several parts of the federal Affordable Care Act, also known as “Obamacare,” such as the changes for pre-existing conditions and allowing adult children to stay on their parents’ insurance until 26.
“I’m all for affordable health insurance for all our citizens,” Montgomery said.
Part of the Affordable Care Act requires states to set up “health exchanges” to provide affordable insurance to residents. If the state does not set up an exchange, the federal government will run it.
Beshear has stated Kentucky is moving forward with setting up its own health exchange.
“One thing I do know is Frankfort is broken and how we know this is that we are one of the few states that is willing to implement Obamacare,” Shell said. “The executive branch of Kentucky has implemented Obamacare without the authority of Kentucky’s legislature.”
Shell also said Obamacare will increase the financial burden on the state by an additional $500 million by expanding the Medicaid system.
Fighting drug abuse:
During the last session, the “pill mill bill” was passed by the General Assembly, which placed more restrictions and monitoring on many types of medications.
The bill has led to problems for people trying to obtain medication for legitimate conditions, according to Shell.
“The ‘pill mill’ bill has a reputation that is misleading in that it only applies to pain pills,” Shell said. “This bill also encompasses numerous medications that are not for pain management but used to treat numerous diseases such as ADHD, seizure disorders and psychiatric illness.
Shell called for changes to the bill because it is infringing upon the judgment of health care provides and the rights of law-abiding Kentuckians.
“I have to agree with the pill-mill bill,” Montgomery said.
He acknowledged that it is not a complete fix, but using the KASPAR system to track certain prescriptions can be useful in fighting drug abuse.
“Drugs are a serious problem,” Montgomery said. “We’ve got to get control.”
If elected, Montgomery said he would focus on getting a vocational and technology school in southern Madison County. Right now students from Madison Southern High School must be bused to Richmond for vo-tech training, and not many students want to take the two to three hours out of their schedules to do that, he said.
“Not everyone wants to go to college,” Montgomery said. “Industries need a skilled workforce.”
Shell said he supported efforts in Madison County to implement full-day kindergarten, but school officials have said it would cost $1 million to make the transition from the half-day program.
“In tight budget times in local municipalities and the state, it is hard to find a million dollars lying around,” Shell said.
However, he said if he is elected, he looked forward to finding a solution to the problem.
Shell said he has three fundamental principles that will help boost the economy in both Madison and Garrard counties.
“... Pension reform, tax reform and eliminate wasteful government spending,” he said. “It is not the role of the government to create jobs, it is the responsibility for the local government to facilitate an environment that is conducive to job growth.”
While the economy is doing better in Madison County, Montgomery wants things to be even better. One way to improve growth in both Garrard and Madison counties is to continue to extend Kentucky 52 to Duncannon Lane to provide better access for companies and residents. The project is currently funded to extend to Wallace Mills.
Shell also supports extending the highway to Duncannon Lane.
Montgomery emphasized recruiting new industries and businesses will be key to creating new, good-paying jobs.
“We’ve got to really roll out the red carpet for them,” Montgomery said.
Montgomery said he is running for office because he has always been active in his community. Describing himself as a conservative Democrat, Montgomery said that unlike his opponent, he does not believe everything is broken in Frankfort.
“I’m tired of the partisan bickering and gridlock that is destroying our state,” Montgomery said.
Montgomery also pointed out he has two decades of experience on his opponent, years spent both working successfully in a corporate job managing a large budget, and later running a small business.
Shell said age should not be a factor when picking the best candidate to represent the 36th District.
“Never once did this district tell me I was too young to do something to help my community. Our parents never said, ‘Why don’t you wait a little longer to get a job or go to college, be a kid for a little longer,’” Shell said. “As parents, we want our children to strive for excellence, not mediocrity.”
Even though he is from Garrard County, Shell said he would strongly represent his Madison County constituents as well.
“We are one people,” Shell said. “Garrard and Madison counties are neighboring communities that are connected by commerce, infrastructure and jobs.”
Sarah Hogsed can be reached at email@example.com or 624-6694.