Roberts sees doing more for you community as a privilege and a duty
With a district that extends from the urban area of Newport, Dayton and Bellevue to the rural areas of Bracken and Pendleton counties, Rachel Roberts believes her life story fits perfect ly with the 24th District Senate seat.
“I’m so comfortable in the rural community because I lived in small-town rural Colorado for a quite a long time. My nieces and nephews grew up in the 4-H and FFA programs,” said the Newport native. “I’m equally comfortable in the city as I am in the rural community.”
After a start in the skiing industry of Colorado, Roberts got the opportunity to travel the world for almost two years.
It was “just trying to like really invest in myself --trying to experience as many cultures as possible.”
“I’m so fascinated by how people live and what their culture is, how their family structure works, how the religious practice works. That was the most interesting part for me,” Roberts said about her time abroad.
As that experience winded down, she felt it was time to return home and open her yoga studio. It’s through her studio that she has partnered with numerous groups to benefit the community.
Roberts quoted Michelle Obama “It’s hard to hate close-up.” She cited this philosophy as a way to change the tone of today’s politics.
She learned from a four-day workshop that stripped away identifiers. She became good friends with people who seemed very different from her. They were lockstep during the workshop.
“We are coming at all of this from the exact same place. Everyone wants the same things. We want our families to be safe and secure. We want opportunity...Where we split tends to be the very most surface level,” she said. “If you take a moment and you look for the commonality to the people that you meet instead of saying this is other, you will always seek what’s common first.”
“I think the process (of pension reform bill) was horrific. As I am knocking on doors, that’s what I am hearing...It smacks of lack of transparency,” she said.
“First and foremost, I don’t think that will happen,” she said about the possibility the Ky. Supreme Court will rule that the process of passing pension reform was constitutional. “But people need to realize that it is a possibility, and if nothing is changed in Frankfort and it is ruled unconstitutional, they will just try and push it through anyways.”
She did raise the issues that there are other possible constitutional challenges on whether it violated in the inviolable contract.
“In my belief system, everything starts with education. I think it’s the fundamental function of government to educate its people,” said Roberts as she linked education to high- wage jobs that would grow Kentucky’s economy.
“To continue to cut education and ask teachers to do more with less every single day is not the way to grow a prosperous Kentucky, not from a social standpoint, not from an economic standpoint, not from a right point,” Roberts stated.
“There is plenty blame to go around here. I’m not saying any party is at fault. I’m saying it’s time for us to get new people in there with some different ideas,” she offered as a reason for her candidacy.
Roberts explained during the interview that, while the pensions had been funded at the minimum constitutional level, it has been underfunded and the problem Kentucky faces is the debt.
“This sewage bill and budget does nothing to deal with the debt and that the elephant in the room. We just cannot cut our way out of debt. We have to generate more revenue,” she said.
State government revenue
“We need to take a hard look at real tax reform in our state that gives us a fair and equitable graduated tax system,” she said.
She continued by pointing out that Kentucky has to generate wage growth, and the way to do that is to have an educated workforce that attracts businesses to the state.
“We also need to look to bringing new revenue into our state. That’s things like expanding gaming, looking at sports betting.” she said while admitting it’s not her thing except for a Kentucky Derby bet.
“We need to look at hemp and medical marijuana as a new industry for the state,” she continued.
2019 General Session
“One area that needs to be fixed quite quickly is what’s happening to our not-for-profit organizations,” she said. Ticket prices and benefits for not-for-profit are having to pay sales taxes since July 1.
Another issue that she would like to see addressed is how to generate new revenue that could be assigned back to schools.
“We need fresh eyes. We need fresh opinions. We need people to get down there to really help us modernize our tax programs,” she said in citing taxes placed on small businesses. The tax structure hampers people to start small businesses.
“Small businesses are the largest employer in the state, and they create jobs where people live,” said Roberts.
“At the state level, we can hold pharmaceutical companies accountable. We can facilitate true treatment facilities. As a state, it’s a health care issue, and one of the fundamental things we need to do as a state is keep our population safe and healthy,” said Roberts, whose dad is a substance abuse counselor.
Access to health care and treatment for people of Kentucky as well as holding companies accountable are ways she sees the state being able to aid in the fight against drugs.
“I don’t think all addicts are criminals,” she said before pointing out that there is conversation to be had about where the line is between using and trafficking.
“What we are doing now is treating leaves that have fallen to the ground. I propose that we starting treating the roots,” Roberts said.
What is role of State Government?
With a disturbing trend to dump things down to the local governments to pay for, Roberts saw the key is to define the role of state government.
“State government is to handle things that are too big for any one city or municipality to handle on their own,” she explained.
“Education, health care in large part, infrastructure,” she offered as examples of what state government should be focused on. “These are the main pillars of state government.”
As Roberts looks to that possible first term as Senator, she conceded, “I am going to be in a super minority. My power to effect a whole change in the first year or two will be limited.”
She indicated that she would spend those first couple of years developing relationships and working on bipartisan issues.
“I would hope that people would see that I went down there to carry their voice to Frankfort. I’m not down there for me. I’m not down there for any kind of corporate interests. I’m a real person who owns a small business in Newport who cares deeply about the people in this community.”
She said her daily mantra is, “This isn’t about me, it’s about us.” And she hopes that when her possible first term is up, people would be able to look at what she done and said she meant it.
“The most important part is that they realize that I am their voice in Frankfort.”
That voice in Frankfort would be focused on education and generating new revenue.
The complete video interview of Rachel Roberts is available at www.falmouthoutlook.com as well as a growing list of video interviews with candidates in November 6 General Election.