State Representative – Kentucky’s 82nd District
Q&A with candidates Regina Petrey Huff and Matt Anderson
NJ: Why are you running for the office of State Representative again in this election?
RH: I am seeking re-election as State Representative of the 82nd District to continue to advocate for the values, rights and the ideology that I feel most represents our area. As a strong fiscal conservative, I feel government intrusion should be limited to issues that we can’t handle ourselves, both on the state and national level. We are living in troubling times, where our values and rights often feel in jeopardy. It is important that we have representation that is willing to speak out and not be complacent.
I have worked to ensure that the 82nd District has strong representation, and a voice at the table across the continuum of issues that are important to our district. I have earned the honor of House Education Chair, which is the top position in Education in the House of Representatives. This position has afforded me the opportunity to benefit our local school districts financially, and to keep the liberal agenda from infiltrating our public school systems.
I am seeking re-election on the merits of my job performance as YOUR current representative. I have worked hard to assist those I represent, and hope that the constituents feel I have served them well.
MA: It is very difficult to win any office against an incumbent, and I knew that entering the 2018 election. Being a political newcomer I wasn’t sure what to expect, but was continuously overwhelmed and humbled by the support and encouragement that I received.
The problems that existed entering the last election are still present, and I believe that a fresh perspective and new ideas are needed to help solve our state’s problems. Without new legislative faces it will be very difficult to bring about meaningful reform.
After much prayer and discussion, I decided that I needed to run for this office again. My supporters and I worked extremely hard creating a base and ran a very competitive campaign in 2018. Having already worked on that foundation, I feel that I am in a much stronger position to win this election and begin working to strengthen our commonwealth.
NJ: Why do you feel you are most qualified for the job?
RH: I am a wife, mother, grandmother, and a lifelong resident of the 82nd District. I feel my life experiences gives me an insight and understanding of all walks of life. I have been a single mother, working and continuing my education, experiencing the worries of financial concerns. I have experienced the deployment of a spouse, thus having an understanding of those families’ needs within our military. The ability to relate to people on so many levels has proven to be invaluable in my service.
Further, I raised my two daughters here, and they are now raising my grandchildren here. I love this part of the Commonwealth. I am vested in this district, and want the best for my children, grandchildren, and yours.
I hold a BS in Education with an emphasis in History and English, an MA in Special Education, and a Rank 1 in Supervision of instruction.
My educational background has allowed me opportunities to benefit our district as well. Further, I have an understanding of policy and have amassed institutional knowledge that gives me an advantage when speaking on the floor with effective use of procedures. Anyone that knows me well, knows that I am not inhibited, and stand ready to speak regardless of subject matter.
Most importantly, I see this job as a privilege, and not a position of power. I am confident in my ability to stand up and speak on behalf of those I represent regarding our conservative values, and have earned the respect of fellow members to be heard.
Lastly, this job is time consuming, and a good representative must be prepared and informed, as legislation and policies are ever-changing. Moreover, a good representative has a clear understanding that we not only serve in Frankfort, but within our district as well. I support our students, and other groups in our area and attend events to support a plethora of groups. If you invite me, I show up and am visible to those I serve. I am retired now, and my children are grown and married. I have the time and energy needed to represent our district, effectively and efficiently.
MA: I believe that I am the most qualified person for this job because I truly want to be a public servant. I believe in working together within our community, making positive impacts to increase our standard of living and strengthening our local economy.
As a husband, father, teacher, deacon, church youth director, and active community member I believe that I better understand the challenges faced daily, and represent the beliefs and values shared in our community. As a social studies teacher I am comfortable with the functioning of our local and state governments and look forward to coordinating efforts among local officials to make our district prosper.
NJ: With many different crisis situations in our country, our commonwealth, and even right here at home, how will you be approaching the job of State Representative moving forward?
RH: I will continue to represent as I have from day one, working to ensure that the 82nd District has a representative that is present and willing to speak up on behalf of our district, regardless of what is in the forefront.
When I first accepted this position, I set some objectives for myself – to be accountable, transparent and accessible to those I represent. I will continue to operate under my set objectives, while ensuring that I have a seat at the table on all issues that are relevant, and have the potential to either adversely affect or benefit our district and the Commonwealth as a whole.
I have earned a reputation as someone with a no nonsense approach to government, that continually speaks against government overreach. I am not intimidated regarding any subject matter and the politics of issues are never of concern to me. Further, I will continue to lessen the scope of government and be the voice for a fiscally conservative budget, protecting the tax dollars of our citizens.
Regardless of the issues at hand, those I represent will have a full understanding of where I stand, and my efforts on their behalf.
MA: Moving forward, representatives need to keep their constituents informed of ongoing business in the state capitol and clearly convey their views. So many problems arise from misinformation, the absence of information, a lack of swift and clear action from the government, and a general feeling by the public of being disheartened or powerless. I want to be an elected official that is active and seen, that can assure people that I am working to serve them to the best of my ability with their interests at heart.
NJ: What are some specific issues that you feel need to be addressed, and how would you go about addressing them?
RH: Government funding and control: It is paramount, moreso now with the effects of COVID-19, that we be true fiscal conservatives, aware of the value of every dollar of the people’s monies. This pandemic will have long term adverse effects on our budget. However, we must be diligent and first in line for federal funding, and matches. Effective usage and the requesting of federal matching funds will be invaluable. I have a working knowledge of the budget process, and intend to be steadfast in what should be priorities going forward.
We need to address government power and legislate to control the overreach. This will be a priority for me. The next legislative session needs to further address government by making it smaller, and giving more governing power and decision making to local governments. The idea that all legislation can be effective in blanketing the state is not accurate or effective. The needs and agendas of Jefferson County is totally different than those of the 82nd District. We need to meet the needs of all, and local decision making offers that opportunity.
I am committed to fiscal responsibility, accountability and transparency. As a government, we need to provide opportunities for success, fostering a society with a work ethic, self-worth and self-perseverance. I have the position of House Education Chair which offers me the opportunity to see that our students are work ready, and increasing the vocational opportunities and training will be an advantage, making our district more inviting to skill set jobs, which offer above living wage jobs and a greater quality of life.
Drug Epidemic: The devastation of this problem is immeasurable across the 82nd District, and has touched the lives of most of us. Trying to address this problem drug by drug isn’t working. It seems as soon as we address the habitual usage of one drug, another is introduced to the plethora of additives that are destroying our citizens.
We need a comprehensive approach to the problem, focusing on the issue from the perspective of prevention. The most effective way to prevent adolescents from drug use, is to invest in our youth and keep them interested and involved in life. We also need to address this issue from an economic standpoint; we need opportunities for all citizens to be successful and infuse our schools with educational programs that are fact based, and paint a clear picture of the destruction of drug use.
We must be proactive; however, we aren’t seeing the success we need for our investments in many of the current rehabilitation programs. It is hard for the addict to stay clean when they return to the environment where they have been a user. We need a better wrap around program, possibly with skills training, and employment. Nothing is ever going to be effective against the abuse until we no longer accept it as the community norm. We need to look at best practices for long term success including the judicial, educational and health communities.
Tax Reform: Although we began the process of looking at reform, our state tax codes remain antiquated. Addressing the issue is a must if we are going to compete in a modern economy. We need comprehensive reform that will allow us to market the Commonwealth.
Further, we need to generate the revenue needed to fund vital needs and services. With Kentucky’s current tax structure being complex and out of date, we must simplify it while producing economic growth.
Currently, Kentucky gets less than 20% of revenue from sales taxes; Tennessee gets more than 40%. Average household income is higher in Tennessee and has gone up at a higher percentage than Kentucky, and the national average in the last decade. Our outdated tax code is holding us back. What we have started is only the first step. We must continue to look at ways to make Kentucky more competitive, which has brought discussions towards a larger consumption-based tax, and the elimination of the state income tax altogether. Thusly, all with be contributing to the taxes of the Commonwealth, and not just those earning an income.
MA: I am a firm believer that the role and size of government needs to be reduced. I feel that the responsibility of the government is to perform the will of the people, create a safe atmosphere that protects individual liberties and freedoms, and create a climate to provide the opportunity for hardworking people to succeed.
As a Republican I recognize the need to continue to protect our second amendment rights and continuously fight to protect the lives of unborn children. As a teacher, I see the need for real educational reform. We need to stop the practice of high stakes testing that creates anxiety among young students, costs taxpayers millions of dollars, and takes away meaningful time in the classroom for students to receive instruction.
We need to encourage the funding of strong vocational programs in our schools so that students who do not wish to attend college can learn a practical skill as a plumber, mechanic, electrician, carpenter, or any other worthy trade that will allow them to earn a livable wage and positively contribute to their community. I am also an adamant supporter of term limits for state and federal legislatures. By limiting terms, you reduce the impact of lobbyist money, allow for an influx of fresh views and ideas, and ultimately strengthen your democracy.
NJ: Any final words for the voters?
RH: I am humbled and grateful for the opportunity to serve the citizens of the 82nd District. It is a privilege, indeed. This job is something I have taken very seriously and dedicated myself to serve you well. I am not a politician, and hope to never be perceived as one. I have earned a reputation in Frankfort as one that will stand alone if needed. I don’t play games, and am very forthright in my approach to everything. I have worked to earn your trust and to see that the 82nd District representative doesn’t just fill a seat, but is at the table when decisions are made and holds important positions that have already proven to benefit our districts, especially our school systems. I am seeking re-election on my job performance. I humbly ask for your support to continue to lead and benefit our children.
MA: I am not a career politician, and have no intentions of being one. I am not in search of power, influence, or money. I am a concerned father, community member, and Christian seeking to help make positive changes in our area and in our commonwealth. I will always be honest with you and work hard as an elected official to serve you. Regardless of your political views, position in life, or standing in the community I will always lend an ear and if possible, a helping hand. We need change in these uncertain times and that’s why I am asking for your vote.
(Editor’s note: Text that appears in italic print in this story is texted that was edited out of the story in the June 10 print version of the News Journal due to space limitations.)