Where I Stand on the Issues
Al’s Guiding Principles
“I am a scientist by trade, professionally trained to research & assess all available data, and make reasoned, logical decisions based on that data. I will study every issue, listen to all sides and act as my conscience dictates. Governing is a balancing act and I will do my best to honor our obligations while taking steps to strengthen our economy, workforce and support for the most vulnerable, namely seniors, veterans and the special needs community. I have a vision for Kentucky where we work together to solve the problems of health care, wages, affordable education, opportunity and economic prosperity for all. My diverse professional background has well-prepared me for this leadership opportunity. My commitment to the voters is that I will use my energy and abilities everyday to improve the lives of my constituents and for the people of Kentucky.” ~ Al Gentry
I suspect the COVID-19 pandemic and everything associated with it is the major driver of this election cycle. How do we control the spread so that some sense of normalcy can be reached? How can we continue to re-open the economy safely? How can we open schools safely? How should we be making major policy decisions?
We do this by:
- collecting as much pertinent data as logically feasible (through extensive rapid testing & tracing program),
- allowing the health experts to interpret the true significance of the data, identifying changing trends (from mutations), including identifying changing trends (from mutations),
- making sure our leaders are adequately briefed on the true facts, and
- allowing our leaders to implement policy that is evidenced-backed & supported through logical reasoning that first, and foremost, protects the health & welfare of our citizens, and simultaneously maximizes our ability to operate alongside the virus safely until a vaccine or effective treatments can be developed.
It is our responsibility to work together with Governor Andy Beshear and his team of experts during this crisis. United we stand! By supporting and engaging in “Team Kentucky”, we are all acting in the best interests of the citizens.
Al believes we should Understand Science & Follow the Data. How can we possibly develop evidenced-based policy if we can’t effectively collect and measure data that uncovers where the virus is, its characteristics, and its movement? We can’t. Keep politics out of the discussion. Work together to achieve these goals. Team Kentucky!
Restarting the Economy
Al believes the first step to getting the Economy re-started and moving in the right direction is to control the spread of the virus, which we should do together by following health expert guidelines of social distancing, avoiding indoor crowded areas, mask-wearing, hand-washing & sanitation, and self-isolation when positive or displaying symptoms. Policies requiring these behaviors in public should be created and enforced.
Short-term applicable federal assistance should continue to be provided to prevent a long-term recession. At the state level, we must continue to look for long-term growth opportunities that will increase revenues without adding to the tax burden of our working-class families. This starts with passing legislation that introduces new industries to the Commonwealth, like expanded gaming and a state cannabis production program, that most of our neighboring states already have, and improving oversight and accountability in our corporate tax incentive giveaways.
Al has been appointed to the City of Louisville’s Build Back Better subcommittees on Sports & Entertainment, and the subcommittee on Bourbonism, that will focus on re-opening these industries safely and swiftly. As a member of the KY General Assembly’s Committee on Economic Development and Workforce Investment, and the Committee on Licensing & Occupations (which regulates the Alcohol Industry), Al’s expertise is a perfect fit in these areas. As a former athlete, youth coach, and longtime event coordinator in disabled golf, Al understands the power and importance of Sports to society. Al also understands the unique value of the Bourbon industry to this state, the historical global growth boom Bourbon is currently enjoying, and its financial impact to the Commonwealth’s overall economy.
Education improvement should always be one of the state’s top priorities. A combination of adequate funding that provides our children with modern resources and the ability to hire & retain top-notch teachers, coupled with strong oversight policy that maximizes spending efficiency & accountability is a must. Al will fight to protect teacher compensation, strengthen policies that govern special ed, and will advocate for an added focus on teaching personal health & fitness.
Kentucky rates near the bottom in many health categories including cancer, heart disease, respiratory illness, and diabetes, and we must sharpen our focus on greatly improving healthcare coverage for our population, as well as instituting common-sense environmental policy that protects our citizens from widespread exposure to polluted drinking water and poor air quality. Al is a Hydrogeologist & former private consultant in the environmental industry, is a current active member of the national Council of Environmental Legislators, and will always advocate for logical environmental policy that protects human health without eliminating industry.
We must continue to increase affordable access to healthcare for all Kentuckians. Bringing back KYnect, a highly-successful option for small business owners and self-employed, and a Medicaid expansion tool, is needed immediately, as well as passing legislation that helps reduce costs of prescription medication, especially high-demand necessary medications, like insulin, whose consumer pricing has skyrocketed well beyond normal production cost markup margins. Al will continue to support ways to get more Kentuckians access to affordable healthcare coverage and preventative treatment.
Systemic racism still exists and we must continue to work to eliminate it, but we can’t just limit our discussions and efforts to policing, black communities, or to just removing rooted racial discrimination. We must continue to build upon our advances over the last several decades in fully addressing systemic discrimination in all areas of society, including not just the color of one’s skin, but by gender, age, disability and financial social class as well. Poverty is the root of most challenges, and Al will always stand for the vulnerable and make sure everyone feels their voice is being heard. Al believes that most forms of discrimination emanate from ignorance, and that enhanced education through increased communication is the key to improvement.
Infrastructure & Workforce Development
Kentucky must continue to place modernizing infrastructure as a top priority for promoting economic growth and safety on our highways. Al will continue to advocate for smart investment in rebuilding our skilled workforce training systems, and will support the growth of modern technical workforce training programs conducted with local industry sector businesses, including the highly-successful Academies of Louisville program of the Jefferson County Public School System, and the local Internship programs offered at Louisville area Catholic High Schools. All businesses that start or move to an area always want to be reassured that the area produces the talent necessary to help them create & administer the products & services they offer, and that an appropriate ad connected infrastructure network is maintained for the delivery of those products to its consumers. Al will work to ensure that aggressive investments in modern Infrastructure and workforce development programs are always high priorities in this state.
Engage & Empower Caucus and a Commitment to our Seniors
As the large baby boomer generation reaches retirement, our population demographics continue to change with increasing senior populations. By 2023, one in four Americans will be 65 and over. Kentucky has the 2nd highest population, percentage-wise, of people that claim a disability, and the 2nd worst employment rate for individuals with disabilities. The majority of Kentuckians with disabilities are over age 60. There’s never been a more relevant time to create new policy changes that directly affect our seniors and Kentuckians with disabilities. From improving healthcare coverage, educational and employment opportunities, retirement protections, transportation & housing, to reducing general access restrictions and discrimination, Al’s newly created and bipartisan Engage & Empower Caucus will work to pass needed legislation that produces genuine long-term results. Al’s commitment to Seniors and to those with Disabilities will always be at the forefront of his leadership.
Public Service & Belief in the People
Al absolutely believes that the power of American society lies in its People and is unique in its diversity of culture & thought, its innovative entrepreneurial spirit of the private sector, and its dedicated service from within its public sector. Al believes our representative republic is assembled and governed by a constitution designed to limit individual powers, but protect personal rights, by resting endowed powers into the hands of all its citizens, through their endless pursuit of equality, liberty and justice. Al believes that the strength and everlasting existence of this Republic depends upon the engagement, unity, and persistent resolve of its PEOPLE, as well as the commitment, work ethic, and communication abilities of its elected representatives.
Al respects and supports those that serve in a public capacity, that protect our freedoms & liberty, retain order and structure, provide health and safety, and promote opportunity including military personnel, first responders, law enforcement officials, state and local regulators, lawmakers and judges, health & safety officials, and public education leaders. Al supports their commitment to Government, and will always fight for their fair treatment & compensation, and for policies that attract and retain quality public servants.
Al admires the famous quotes of two past Presidents, one a Republican, and the other a Democrat. Republican Abraham Lincoln told the People on the battlefield of Gettysburg what Government was all about when he said that “Government of the People, for the People, by the People shall not perish from this Earth.” Almost 100 years later, Democrat President John F. Kennedy reminded the People of the importance of public service when he said “don’t ask what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.”
Al is always committed to working with others, despite their differences, and strives to find common ground with his adversaries as he works to better the state and his community.