Candidates appeal to voters in Harlan County debate

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HARLAN, Ky. (WYMT) - Thursday evening in Harlan County, more than 100 people heard from the men and women set to be on their ballots this November.

The event was held at the Harlan Center. Twenty candidates from nine different races answered questions created by people in the community.

One of the biggest races in our region is for state representative in the 84th district. Democratic candidate, Tom Pope, said recent changes in tax reform are not benefitting everyone in the region. He said he aims to change that if elected.

"It brought down the rich people from the six and seven percents to five percent", said Tom Pope, who is the democratic candidate running for state representative in the 84th district. "I don't think that is a good reform. I think we need to look at real reform, not just setting a flat tax."

Incumbent state representative Chris Fugate defended his stance on pension reform. He said without voting the way he did, the severely underfunded state pension system would crumble.

"When I went to Frankfort, I promised I would be part of the solution, not part of the problem", said Chris Fugate, who is the incumbent state representative in the 84th district. "I voted some hard votes, some votes that made some people mad at me, but votes that were the right votes. It was votes that funded education more than it's ever been funded."

There will also be a new state representative in the 87th district. Candidate Adam Bowling said he believes growing tourism will also help grow the region.

"We have a beautiful area here. People want to come see it", said Adam Bowling, who is running for state representative in the 87th district. "A lot of people, they're baby boomers, and they grew up in towns like ours. And they've moved away. But now that they're retired and they're traveling around, they want to get back to their roots. We need to clean up our downtowns."

His challenger sais his experience working at a jail with inmates helps put him in a position to get things done in Frankfort.

"There were some rough customers, especially when they'd first get there, mostly good people after they'd sober up. I could work with about any of them, got along with just about everybody", said Dustin Allen, who is running for state representative in the 87th district. "So this fact that I can work with people will be a strong point that I have."

If you would like to hear the debates in their entirety, including candidates not featured in our story, click the link below.

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