Candidates for the state House of Representatives and state Senate seats that cover Madison County gathered Monday night at the Perkins Building on Eastern Kentucky University campus night to share their views with voters.

The public forum was attended by several dozen members of the public, who were given the opportunity to submit questions as part of the forum.

Jared Carpenter, Republican candidate for the 34th District senate race, said to those in attendance, “People are looking for people that haven’t been involved in politics.” Government should be earning more money than it spends and Carpenter would fight to control spending and “ensure a bright future for children,” he said.

He said he was compelled to run after seeing the state of the government.

“If I’m not going to be involved then I can’t be an armchair quarterback and complain and not do anything about it,” Carpenter said.

His opponent, Lee Murphy, a Democrat, said he wants to be the voice of change.

“If you want something to changed you have to get out there and get involved in that change,” he said. “Everybody says government spending is out of control, but nobody tells us where the cuts will come from. I say we have an income problem.”

Murphy also said that he believed that tax reformation was necessary and that he would also fight to protect education.

Donald VanWinkle, the Evangelical Christian party candidate for Senate District 34, was not present.

Donna Mayfield, Republican candidate for the 73rd District representative seat, said she believes the government needs to be brought in check.

“I believe our government is out of control. People feel that there’s a need to get our government back in control,” she said.

Mayfield opponent, incumbent Don Pasley, a Democrat, credited his work on the budget committee and the appropriations and revenue committee as evidence of his dedication to Madison County.

“We’re facing the toughest economic slowdown since the great depression,” he said.

Pasley also said he had worked to eliminate waste through his work on the state budget.

“I’ve fought to keep improvements we’ve made in education from being lost,” he said.

Lonnie Napier, current 36th District state representative, said his proven leadership and experience are what make him a qualified candidate.

“I serve on some of the top committees in Frankfort,” he said. “I’ve been able to work across party lines to get things done for Madison and Garrard counties.”

Napier said his top priorities would be able to continue job growth and ensure and affordable education for all.

Napier’s Republican opponent, Jerome Isaacs, was not present.

Running for the 81st District representative seat are Republican Tiffany Nash and Democrat Rita Smart.

Nash said 2010 is an important time politically.

“It’s an important time and an important election,” she said. “I am concerned about the future of our state.”

Nash said she would work to solve the state’s financial problems by restructuring the state government to prevent wasteful spending while creating jobs.

Smart said she is running to help protect Madison County.

She credited her previous election as a Richmond City Commissioner as one qualification to work for Madison County during tough economic times. Smart cited her “willingness to be a watchdog for your tax dollars. I will devote myself to this work full time and with my full energy,” she said. “I have the experience needed to do this important work.”

Emily Burton may be reached at or at 624-6694. Follow Emily on Twitter at RR_EBurton@

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