• Full Cannabis Legalization

    Families should live free from fear.

    1

    Medical & Recreational

    Full legalization of medical and recreational cannabis for adult personal use, distribution, and growing. Avoid the mistakes of the 3-tier alcohol model that restricts freedom.

    2

    Expunge Records

    Follow the Illinois model to automatically give clemency for cannabis convictions for people who were non-violent. If they are peaceful people that didn't physically hurt others or police, it's time to reintegrate them into society.

    3

    Colorado Tax Model

    Kentucky's budget has $37 billion in unfunded liabilities over the next decades. Colorado has been able to raise $1 billion in Cannabis revenue. They achieved this with a 15% excise tax on the sale of marijuana from a cultivator to a retailer. In addition, Colorado has a 15% sales tax on retail sales to customers.

  • Teacher Retirement Security

    It's time to end the uncertainty and anxiety, to provide retirement security, to provide peace of mind, and to provide options to teachers.

    Keeping the pension promise

    If you are currently a teacher and like your pension, you can keep your pension. Period. Full Stop. We will use the $1,000,000,000 of revenue per year Colorado model to secure the teacher retirement system.

    Stopping the high-fee, high-risk hedge funds that pay themselves before teachers

    After decades of underfunding by Democrats and recent high fee hedge funds by Democrats and Republicans, the teachers pension is dangerously underfunded. Given the importance of our teachers' pension fund, it is time to move to the low fee index funds that pays the greatest portion of the investments back to the teachers. Want to learn more? Check out NPR's Planet Money podcast, called "Brilliant vs Boring" on Index Funds.

    Optional 401k Conversion

    You should always have access to your retirement contributions, even if you choose another career or move outside of Kentucky. All current teachers will have the option to convert to a standard 401k, based on the present value of their contribution.

    Optional Cash out

    Your pension is your money and you should always have access to it. All current teachers will have the option to cash out the present value of your pension. This gives you the flexibility to pay off large debt, chose your own investment options, and have freedom of movement.

    New teachers - always paid - always funded - peace of mind

    The Kentucky government has proven to be an unworthy guardian of the teacher retirement system. For decades, lawmakers have ensured their pensions are well funded, while under funding and mismanaging the teachers' pension fund. Let's face it, we can't trust the Democrats or the Republicans to properly fund the pension system.

    The state HAS TO FUND your retirement AS YOU WORK. Gone will be the days of under funding and mismanagement. New teachers will be on a retirement plan that ensures that their contributions are fully funded on every paycheck. Every payment you and the state make into a 401k retirement fund is owned by you, not the state. Plus, if you move to another state or change careers, you don't lose your money.

    We need to remove the state from controlling the teacher's retirement plan and give teachers control.

  • Election Reform
    Your vote should always count. Today, it doesn't

    Ranked-choice voting lets you mark your 1st, 2nd, and 3rd choices. The candidate with more than 50% wins. Currently, candidates can win with less than 50%. Ranked-choice voting increases representation & decreases extremism.

    Step One: Rank Choice Voting

    Our lack of runoff elections in both our primary and general elections is highly undemocratic. It’s possible to win either election with only a small plurality of the votes (nowhere near a full majority). Thus a candidate can be elected to office by a minority of a minority of those voting!

    (For example, one of our opponents, Mr. Beshear, won the Democratic nomination with only 37% of the votes in his party’s primary!)

    Runoff elections are used in some other states to address this problem. But separate runoff elections are expensive, cumbersome, and often fail to get a good voter turnout.

    A promising alternative is something called “instant runoff voting” (sometimes referred to as “ranked choice voting”):

    • Voters vote for their preferred candidate as usual, but also list their second choice, third choice, etc.
    • If a majority of voters prefer a single candidate as their first choice, that candidate is declared the winner, just as in the current system.
    • But if no candidate receives a majority of the votes, an instant runoff is held:
      • the candidate receiving the fewest votes is eliminated
      • the ballots for the eliminated candidate are recounted, counting each voter’s second choice instead of the (eliminated) first choice candidate.
    • That process (of eliminating the last candidate and recounting the ballots for the eliminated candidate) continues until one candidate receives a majority of the ballots cast.

    The state of Maine adopted this system for their 2018 elections with great success. A number of cities also use it, and it is being considered by other states. Kentucky should adopt this Ranked Choice Voting system.

    Instant Runoffs offer two major benefits:

    1. A full majority is required to win. Thus more voters are represented in their government. That’s more democratic!
    2. The “spoiler effect” is eliminated. Voters can safely vote for their truly favorite candidate (and not the lesser of two evils) knowing that, if their favorite candidate doesn’t win, their vote will still count toward their next favorite choice.

    Instant runoffs will be a great start. But an ideal system would represent everyone, not just the majority. That’s why we ultimately need to move to a system of proportional representation for legislative races. Hence our proposed Step Two:

    Step Two: Proportional Representation

    Adopting instant runoffs would be a big step toward a more democratic system since a full majority (over 50%) is required to be elected. But, for legislative elections, the problem remains that the minority who didn’t vote for the winner (up to 50%) are not represented in the assembly.

    Happily, the ranked-choice method of casting votes (used for instant runoffs in Step One above) lends itself to solving this problem and moving to full proportional representation of all voters:

    We merely need to move to larger, multi-member districts for legislative races (combining that with ranked-choice voting).

    (This system is generally called Single Transferable Voting (STV)).

    Since multiple representatives would be elected from each district, they won’t each need a full majority to win. In a five-member district, for example, only about 1/5 of the total votes would be required for a candidate to win a seat. The resulting assembly would thus better represent a cross-section of all the voters, not just a majority.

    • Under this system, ballots are counted in a way similar to instant runoffs (where the last candidate is eliminated and their votes recounted and redistributed to the voters’ next preference).
    • But in addition, when a candidate receives more votes than are required for election, the excess votes for that candidate are redistributed in proportion to the next preference on the ballots cast for that candidate.
    • No vote is wasted; each vote counts in full toward affecting the outcome of the election and the makeup of the assembly.

    Sounds complicated, we know. But, thanks to computers, this whole process can be done quickly and openly and can be audited in real time by any organization that wishes to do so.

    The benefits of STV are great and many:

    • More democratic. Everyone who votes can point to someone in the legislature they helped elect.
    • Big money not required. Candidates have a larger district from which to draw their votes, and they need only a fraction of those votes to be elected (e.g. 1/5 of the votes in a five-member district). Candidates can assemble their votes by drawing on their local civic networks (e.g. friends from church, schools, and civic organizations). No majority is needed, so the high cost of mass media could be eliminated.
    • Less Negativity. Since voters vote for multiple candidates, ranked by their preference, candidates are not running against each other. They are merely running to be high on each voter’s list of preferences. Thus, there is no motivation to attack other candidates. Attack ads risk alienating voters and lowering a candidate’s rank on the ballots.
    • More honesty. Less hypocrisy. Since candidates can draw their required number of votes over the broader area of the larger district, utilizing their existing networks of friends and connections, they can be more candid and honest and still get the votes needed for election.
    • The rise of citizen-statesmen. Ordinary citizens have been discouraged from running for office by the high cost of running and the pressure to compromise their beliefs. Under this STV system, they could win election by relying on their local reputations and networks and by running on what they truly believe.
    • Gerrymandering eliminated. Since the larger multi-member districts would each elect a diverse set of representatives (representing a cross section of that district), the boundaries of those districts would not significantly affect the outcome. Thus nothing would be accomplished by drawing strange district boundaries.

    Adopting proportional representation via this STV system will help solve major problems our country faces: polarization, voter alienation, big money in politics, etc.

    Conclusion

    This is a big change that requires much public discussion and education. It can’t be done overnight. The best way to start is by adopting ranked-choice voting (RCV) to implement instant runoff voting. Once voters are fully comfortable with RCV, we can start moving to multi-member districts and proportional representation (possibly implementing it at the local level first). By doing this, Kentucky can be a leader in saving our democracy!

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    Louisville, Kentucky 40251-0936
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