What Did Candidate Teresa Barton Tell Us?
How did the candidates reply to the questions? Together Frankfort asked questions concerning the six (6) issue areas below:
1. Quality of life (including both economic and environmental issues, planning & zoning, and Tax Increment Financing)
3. Gun Violence
4. Campaign Contributions
5. Healthcare and
Questions from Together Frankfort are in purple text; candidates' response are in black.
Candidate for Senate District 20 Teresa Barton
~~ Together Frankfort: Quality of Life for All Citizens ~~
Together Frankfort: What proposals would you make to improve the quality of life for the citizens of Frankfort and Franklin County?
Candidate Teresa Barton: I agree with the strides that both local governments are making toward improving our parks’ systems, developing and encouraging businesses that not only employ locally, but serve our citizens, and work toward an economic development strategy that doesn’t fully rely on state government. We do need to replace the civic center and I plan to investigate partnering with state and local governments and Kentucky State University to develop a plan. Everyone knows we have a riverfront that is underutilized and undeveloped. I would like to establish a group to start the long-range plan to make that happen. Overall, we are a very safe community with a qualified, strong law enforcement presence.
Together Frankfort: Describe your vision for sustainable economic growth in Franklin County.
Candidate Teresa Barton: As we are recruiting new businesses, my vision would be to encourage economic development that attempts to satisfy our needs but also in a manner that sustains natural resources and the environment for future generations. With the industry that I work in, I see other communities who recruit specifically for industries that are sustainable, environmentally conscious, and use resources wisely. I hope this can be incorporated into every business venture we recruit.
Together Frankfort: What could our community do to address climate change?
Candidate Teresa Barton: I’ve been in the energy efficiency industry for more than 14 years and been part of projects that have saved more than $78 million in utility spend across the Commonwealth. One of my more recent projects includes making Franklin County Fiscal Court more efficient and sustainable for years to come. I hope all forms of government who oversee public facilities will do the same. I personally work hard to be efficient in what utilities I use, drive a hybrid, recycle, converted to LED lighting in my home, and make every attempt to reduce my carbon footprint.
Together Frankfort: What are your priorities for Planning and Zoning?
Candidate Teresa Barton: As a resident, I hope we continue to work toward a comprehensive plan that addresses the balance between quality of life and addresses our business and housing needs. This is more of a local issue than a legislative issue.
Together Frankfort: In what circumstances would you support using Tax Increment Financing (TIF)?
Candidate Teresa Barton: This is a local government decision along with any qualified state participation. When it affects local tax revenue, we must look at each project on a case-by-case basis.
Together Frankfort: Voting - Only 33% of eligible Franklin County voters participated in the last election and that was considered a good turnout. What do you think can be done to increase voter turnout and engagement?
Candidate Teresa Barton: According to reports, in the 2022 primary election statewide voter turnout was very low at 19%. Franklin County almost always outpaces other counties because we have engaged voters. It’s still lower than it should be. Allowing no excuse early voting days on November 3, 4, and 5 at three locations is extremely convenient. Now on election day voters have the option to go to any of the 12 locations, regardless of your home precinct. This should be a step in encouraging people to go vote. It has become much easier than in years past. To increase turnout we should continue or enhance voter education, allow no excuse early voting days, keep these additional voter center locations, and improve candidate awareness.
Together Frankfort: What is your opinion about election security in Franklin County?
Candidate Teresa Barton: I’ve spoken with several county clerks, including ours, Jeff Hancock, Franklin County Clerk. I believe we have a very safe and secure election process. His audit was without discrepancy and he and the election staff have taken several precautions required by law to keep our elections secure by instituting measures such as not connecting voting machines to the internet (it is a felony to connect a voting machine to the internet), legal protections of election workers from harassment and intimidation, and placing voting machines under video surveillance when not in operation.
~~~~~ Gun Violence ~~~~~
Together Frankfort: What specific measures do you believe could reduce gun violence in Kentucky and if elected, what would you do to make sure those measures are put in place?
Candidate Teresa Barton: I support responsible gun ownership and I am a gun owner myself. We need thorough background checks, and investing in safety education measures (fundamental rules of gun safety, as well as information on how to safely store a gun and good cleaning practices). We must discuss safety measures to protect people from violence and work harder to keep guns out of the hands of evildoers, not responsible gun owners.
Together Frankfort: Suicides account for 66% of all gun deaths in Kentucky. Do you have proposals that would reduce those deaths?
Candidate Teresa Barton: It is a tragedy any day we lose a life to suicide. A few ideas to consider are community engagement, promoting safe firearm storage, make sure existing laws are enforced, and familiarity with suicide warning signs—and knowing what to do when you see them. My family all have firearms and safe storage and education are an important part of what we do with the children. We must focus funds on mental health and helping families, particularly children, who struggle with these issues.
Together Frankfort: The federal government has just passed legislation that would send money to Kentucky for gun violence prevention--specifically for enacting a red flag law or something similar. How would you propose to spend that money to prevent gun violence in our commonwealth?
Candidate Teresa Barton: We should fund firearm education and mental health identification and intervention. My biggest concern with red flag laws is to not allow it to be a back door attempt to take away our second amendment rights. I would reserve my endorsement of a red flag law until I read the specific language.
~~~~~ Campaign Contributions ~~~~~
Together Frankfort: What is your position on Dark Money?
Candidate Teresa Barton: I’ve been transparent as a former elected official and will continue to be. But when the donor isn’t disclosed to influence the decision of a voter and the source of the money is unknown it creates an opportunity to violate contribution laws meant to protect the process. It should be prohibited.
Another issue that concerns me is that while legislators file annual financial disclosure forms with the Legislative Ethics Commission, many report receiving income from their PLC or LLC. That is not sufficient transparency. In my plan to put Kentucky First and hold the politicians accountable, I propose to require all legislators who report income from their private PSC or LLC, disclose any income that their PSC or LLC receives from any business or individual that is regulated by the state, has a state contract or may benefit from legislation such as a tax break for example. Without such disclosure, there is no way of knowing if a legislator is receiving income from such a business and/or individual. We need more transparency and we need to hold our elected legislators accountable.
Together Frankfort: Will you identify all contributors to your campaign, including those who contribute to political action committees that support you?
Candidate Teresa Barton: If Yes. The cost of campaigns continues to grow, but I think the current contribution limits are reasonable. The areas that concern me the most are the political ads bought by non-profits, particular 501(c) organizations who can buy political ads to trash or support a particular candidate with little traceability. Without knowing who the donors are, there is no accountability. These organizations should be prohibited from participating in the political process unless it is revealed where and from whom the money comes.
~~~~~ Health Care ~~~~~
Together Frankfort: What is your position on reproductive health care for women and Constitutional Amendment #2?
Candidate Teresa Barton: I will be voting no on the amendment. While I support reasonable restrictions, I believe there are valid reasons for abortion that include rape, incest, miscarriages, if the fetus is not viable outside the womb, or if the mother’s health is at serious risk.
I strongly oppose abortion on demand, just as I strongly oppose government-forced pregnancies in cases of rape or incest. I strongly oppose public funding and late-term abortion is never acceptable.
Extreme government regulations that do not allow a patient and her provider to make a health-care decision is wrong. As State Senator, I will fight for the liberty and freedoms of every woman, every mother, and their daughters to make medical decisions without interference from political extremists like my opponent. This decision should be between a woman, her family, her faith, and her physician – not a government decision.
Together Frankfort: What is your position on expanding mental health care in Franklin County?
Candidate Teresa Barton: I believe we need to help Kentuckians understand that mental health disorders are illnesses just like diabetes or heart disease. I would support the expansion.
~~~~~ Housing ~~~~~
Together Frankfort: Would you, if elected, tackle our affordable housing crisis by supporting a city/county ordinance that adopts the Uniform Residential Landlord Tenant Act (URLTA) to define the rights of renting citizens and families and landlords, and follow the lead of other towns and cities by adopting regulations on Airbnb and other short-term rentals?
Candidate Teresa Barton: As a former landlord myself, I clearly understand the importance of protections for tenants and landlords. Unfortunately, neither all landlords nor all tenants observe best practices. I can support establishing a statewide standard of habitability (most Kentucky counties have no legal recourse for tenants to address unsafe and unsanitary housing conditions) and other best practices that will help with affordable housing.
Thank you, Candidate Barton, for responding to Together Frankfort's questionnaire.
For readers interested in discussing these issues further with this candidate,
her contact information can be found below.
Democratic Candidate for
Senate District 20
Where is House District 56?
Shaded area, in the map above, represents all parts of House District 56: parts of Franklin, Jessamine, Mercer, & all of Woodford.
Questionnaire Responses from
Candidates for Kentucky Senate District 20
Shaded area, in the larger map, represents the portion of House District 56 which is in Franklin County
During the 2021 legislative session, Kentucky's General Assembly enacted redistricting legislation which changed the make up of Senate District (SD) 20. Franklin county was moved into the district, as the southern most county. SD 20 now includes: Franklin, Owen, Carroll, as it moves north, then east to include Gallatin, & parts of Boone & Kenton counties (northern Kentucky).
Together Frankfort sent questionnaires to both candidates running to represent Franklin County in both Kentucky Senate District 20. Of the two candidates for SD 20, Candidate Teresa Barton responded. Republican candidate, Gex "Jay" Williams did not reply.
Kentucky's House District 56. The Kentucky House of Representatives is the lower house of the Kentucky General Assembly. Composed of 100 Representatives, members are elected from single-member districts throughout the Commonwealth. Not more than two counties can be joined to form a House district, except when necessary to preserve the principle of equal representation.
A member of Kentucky's House of Representatives must be at least 24 years old, a citizen of Kentucky, and must have lived in the state for at least two years and in the district for one year prior to election. Representatives are elected for two-year terms, with no term limits. The entire House is elected every two years.
House District 56 (HD 56) was changed by the 2022 General Assembly through the redistricting legislation. Previously, HD 56 included Woodford and parts of both Franklin and Fayette Counties. However, currently, District 56 includes Woodford County and a larger portion of Franklin County, as well as portions of Jessamine County to the south.
In Franklin County, the western boundary of HD 56 is mostly defined by the Kentucky River, then dropping down to include parts of the eastern precincts of Frankfort. Further south, the district is bounded again by the Kentucky River to the west, before it moves into Jessamine County, picking up several precincts in the northwestern part of Jessamine County. The district borders Fayette County and Scott County, on the eastern side.