There will be a primary election in the race for state representative for the 82nd District as Matthew Anderson is challenging incumbent Regina Huff for the seat.
Anderson, who teaches at Whitley County High School, said that the pension crisis and the multiple plans offered to resolve it, led him to decide it was time for him to act.
“It is something I have always thought about,” Anderson said of running for political office. “It has always been a dream of mine.”
“Being a 10 year veteran teacher, I decided it was time to stop thinking about it and start doing it.”
Anderson said that when it comes to addressing the pension problem, the most pressing need is to address the revenue side of the equations.
“I believe that even discussing the pension problem without first discussing how we increase revenue is putting the cart before the horse,” Anderson said adding that tax reform is urgently needed to close the myriad of loopholes in the tax code.
“The amount of revenue the state brings in is exceeded by the amount of money that wasn’t collected because of loopholes,” Anderson added.
Anderson pointed to the tax incentives given to help foster more filmmaking in Kentucky as one example.
The state legislature recently closed that loophole.
Anderson said other issues the legislature must address include economic development and funding education.
“We have to attract jobs that are above minimum wage,” Anderson said.
He said the two issues go hand-in-hand because without a good education system turning out good students with the necessary knowledge and skills, business and industry will look elsewhere.
Anderson said the 82nd district is fortunate to have multiple higher education options including the University of the Cumberlands and the Kentucky Community and Technical College System in Laurel County.
Anderson said funding for education at all levels is becoming more of an issue because of state cutbacks.
“By 2020, state funding for higher education will be 39 percent less than it was in 2008 when adjusted for inflation,” Anderson said adding that other state cuts to education are placing a higher burden on local school districts, resulting in higher local taxes.
“We are losing so much of our youth because of not having opportunities,” Anderson said.
Anderson said in a time when politics has become hyper-partisan, he is willing to talk with Democrats to find ways to help the people of Kentucky and to stand up to Republicans, including Gov. Matt Bevin, when necessary.
“Too much emphasis is placed on the R or D behind someone’s name,” Anderson said. “Not all ideas are necessarily good or bad because of who came up with it. I would be ashamed of any legislator that would vote for or against a particular bill because it was pushed by a Republican or Democrat.”
Anderson is a Whitley County native, graduating from Whitley County High School in 2004.
Anderson went on to earn his Bachelor’s Degree at the University of the Cumberlands and completed his Master’s Degree at Union College.
Anderson and his wife, Kayla, have three sons, Benjamin, 4, Parker, 2, and newborn Abram.
More information is available at Anderson’s Facebook page, Matt Anderson for State Representative.
Huff was first elected to the seat in held by her late husband, Dewayne Bunch, in a special election in 2011. Huff won re-election bids in 2012, 2014 and 2016.
The middle school teacher serves on the Appropriations and Revenue, Education, Veterans, Military Affairs, and Public Protections committees.
The primary election is scheduled for May 22. The winner between Anderson and Huff will go on to face Democrat Stephanie Kingsley in the November general election.