Education:Smart said an emphasis on vocation education is key to improving the area’s workforce. She believes that manufacturing jobs are coming back, but they will be more high-tech so students need to be learning more about technology in the classroom.
While area elementary schools tend to do well in testing, middle and high schools need more attention, Smart said. Giving teachers raises and finding a way to get funding for full-day kindergarten will be priorities for Smart if she is re-elected.
Long noted that “education starts at home,” and she supports exploring ways to make childcare more affordable.
Helping the Kentucky’s elderly and children will be her focus if she’s elected, Long said.
“It’s those two segments that have the hardest time,” Long said, adding she believes families and churches are the key to helping those vulnerable groups.
“We need to get where we feel responsible for our community,” Long said.
If Long is elected to represent the 81st District, she would create an advisory board of people who have experience in certain areas, including economic development, to help guide her. She said she supports financial incentives and reducing taxes to bring jobs to the area.
Smart said she supports state economic incentives to bring new industries to the area as well as allow existing companies to expand and add more employees.
She noted that a “big percentage of our workforce is through the government,” including EKU, public schools, Department of Criminal Justice Training, judicial system, the Army depot and city and county government.
“I’ve worked really hard to maintain funding for things we already have,” Smart said. “I was really happy with the revenue we were able to maintain.”
This election:Long said she was driven to run for office because she was raised to be civic-minded.
“We need to give back more than we take,” she said.
Long said she’s always been a problem-solver, and she is willing to push for bipartisanship if it helps the state.
“I’ve always been very vocal,” Long said, calling Smart an “uncompromising liberal.”
“I don’t know why we can’t reach across the aisle anymore,” Long said.
Smart said she hopes the voters of the 81st District will let her “continue what I’ve started.” The past two years have helped her “learn the ropes in Frankfort,” networking with key people who can help the district and the entire state, she said.
More importantly, Smart said she has enjoyed helping constituents with problems navigate the red tape in Frankfort.
“I will continue to do that because that is what a representative is for,” Smart said. “We work all year long.”
In 2012, Smart earned $25,409, which was made up of the in-session salary and interim work days. She earned $20,139 as a legislator in 2011, according to state records.
To find out more about Smart, go to www.ritasmart.com. Long does not have a campaign website.
Sarah Hogsed can be reached at email@example.com or 624-6694.