Voters in Madison, Rockcastle and Lincoln counties can choose one of two good candidates Tuesday to represent them in the state Senate.
Both Republican Jared Carpenter and Democrat Lee Murphy come from small business backgrounds and know firsthand the difficulties that excessive taxes and regulations place on entrepreneurs, the creators of jobs.
Both have pledged to make job creation a priority.
Both also pledge to emphasize continued improvement in Kentucky schools. Carpenter’s wife is a teacher, so he knows the challenges our schools face. As the operator of a technology business, Murphy knows the importance of math and science.
We like Carpenter’s idea of creating competition among health insurers by allowing consumers to buy insurance from companies in other states. We also like Murphy’s idea of giving incentives to physicians to practice in towns of fewer than 15,000 people.
Murphy says he believes expanded gambling can be a new source of state revenue. Although Carpenter says he personally opposes expanded gambling, he is willing to let the issue be laid to rest in a referendum.
Because referendum to amend the state constitution will almost certainly be required to expand gambling, the two candidates are not that far apart on this issue.
Murphy has some edge over Carpenter in his proposals for campaign finance reform and to make state contracts more transparent.
Choosing the best candidate, however, is more than a matter of issues.
Currently, Democrats control the governor’s office and have a wide majority in the House of Representatives. Republicans maintain a narrow majority in the state Senate.
The genius of the founding fathers was evident in their dividing government into three branches and then dividing the legislative branch into two chambers. By dividing government, the hope to ensure that only laws truly in the common interest would be enacted.
We agree with the founders and think the public interest is best served when a different party controls at least one part of the machinery of government.
Also, if the Republicans maintain their hold on the Senate, which most observers predict, the 34th District’s interest would be better served by a member of the Senate majority.
Carpenter has been a Republican for less than a year. According to Carpenter, he made the change after facing the fact that his personal philosophy is more closely aligned with the Republicans, who tend to be more fiscally conservative, he says.
While he based his decision on principle, we think this move also as a demonstration of Carpenter’s flexibility. The legislative arena requires members who can start from principle but negotiate compromises that work for the common good, just as the founders envisioned.
We see Carpenter doing that more successfully than Murphy.
Although Murphy could serve the district well, we believe Carpenter is the better candidate and urge his election.