Sannie Overly, left, and Jeanette Hampton took questions from reporters at Paducah forum.
The Paducah Area Chamber of Commerce changed its usual breakfast meeting to lunchtime for a candidates' forum last week. That change seemed to be universally popular with members. In a short business report, Chamber members learned that their membership was over 1100. That's quite an accomplishment in a moderately sized city like Paducah.
The Chamber brought a panel of local journalists to question Democrat candidate Sannie Overly and Republican candidate Jeanette Hampton. Independent candidate Heather Curtis didn't meet whatever criteria was set for participation and was not invited.
Shown at left, reporters Jennifer Horbelt of WPSD Channel 6, Chad Lampe of WKMS radio, Matt McClain of WKYQ & WKYX and Mallory Paluska, of the Paducah Sun, took turns asking Overly and Hampton questions. The event, moderated by Todd Faulkner of WPSD Channel 6, was broadcast live on that station during the noon hour broadcast.
Neither candidate stumbled dramatically. Hampton told reporters that she would be voting for and supporting Sen. Rand Paul as presidential candidate. Hampton has said in the past that she was inspired to get involved in politics by Paul, who also hails from Bowling Green.
Overly reminded the audience of her experience both as a state legislator and member of various boards and committees. She said serving on her local hospital board made her well aware of the problems facing rural hospitals.
After the event, Hampton was asked to expand on her answer to a reporter's question about Head Start. She told reporters that research shows that Head Start has no value for children past fourth grade. She said that Americans are reading on an 8th grade level and that is a problem.
Various news reports have had the Bevin/ Hampton ticket in favor of dropping the federal preschool program for low income children. Hampton said the program should be re-evaluated. She cited a program in Eastern Kentucky that serves families "cradle to career" as a model for low income families.
Hampton said she did not participate in Head Start as a child. She did attend kindergarten and her mother emphasized education. When reminded that newspapers are written on a 5th grade reading level, Hampton said she knew that but she was "aiming high" for educational achievement.