State representative candidate Troy Gaw, of Harlan, has repeatedly said fighting the drug problem is a priority in his campaign. Gaw said there are four vital areas for combating the drug problem.
“We need to educate our young problem about what can happen if you are on drugs. We have to give these children opportunities that they do not have currently to keep them away from drugs. Idle hands are the devil’s workshop,” he said. “We need to increase our enforcement, not only our police, but our court systems. We need to have available rehabilitation services.”
Benny Ray Bailey, another state representative candidate, said educating young people of the damaging effects drugs can have is a key to solving the drug problem.
“One of the main issues that I think we need to use to fight the problem of drugs in this area is education,” Bailey said. “We have to give our young people some semblance of hope. Some idea that they can be, that they can achieve.”
Chester Jones also said prevention is crucial in reducing the drug problem in the area.
“I think the key is simply education in our elementary schools. Once you get on drugs it is almost impossible to get off. The whole key is prevention,” Jones said.
Candidate Fitz Steele said more revenue and resources are needed to combat the problem.
“Our local and county officials need more money to fight the problem. They need more forces,” Steele said. “My job as a legislator is to fight for money and funding for our sheriffs and city police. It is our job as state representatives to provide and care for our local citizens.”
Candidates were also asked if they supported an amendment to the state constitution that would allow casino gambling.
“I do not support an amendment to the constitution of the state of Kentucky in support of expanded gaming,” Gaw said. “This area already has enough addictions. We don’t need to add another addiction to the addictions that we are currently fighting.”
“I am also against casino gambling. The lottery never fixed Kentucky’s problem, nor will casino gambling,” Steele added. “There is no in between. Casino gambling will not fix our problem.”
Bailey said he did not support casino gambling but added that the people should decide.
“The way I understand it, casino gambling is a moral issue. I am not sure if legislators should be in the position of legislating morals on people,” Bailey said. “Am I in favor of casino gambling? No sir, I am not. Do I think people deserve to have their voices heard on the issue? Yes sir, I do.”
Jones made it unanimous, saying that he was also opposed to casino gambling.
“I don’t think we should have casino gambling in Kentucky. I think the drawbacks are too great,” he said. “When you see the low income that we have in some of these homes, some of those same people will use casino gambling if they have got it.”