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State Representative candidate questionnaire: Leo Johnson

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By The Staff

Leo Johnson

Age:  31

Educational background:  Graduated high school from Russell Co in 1996, attended Eastern Kentucky University

Address: 1370 Ky 80 Windsor, Ky 42565, or mailing address is PO Box 923 Liberty, Ky 42539

Work Experience:  I have worked since age fourteen. I held three jobs while in high school. After graduation, I worked in retail and construction, holding management positions, and eventually working as a self employed building contractor. I have worked for nearly six years for the Administrative Office of the Courts. My wife and I have also owned several small businesses. I am currently a self employed building contractor. 

Family Information: I am married to Kim (Withers), and have been for thirteen years. We have two children; Luke, 10, and Gracie, 7. Kim teaches 5th grade at Liberty Elementary School, where both of our children attend. I am a middle sibling of three sisters and six brothers.

Organizations (church, civic groups, etc.): Kim and I are members of Walnut Hill Baptist Church, and as a family, we attend Green River Valley Baptist, both in Liberty. I am a volunteer with the Liberty Kiwanis club, a former board member of the Liberty/Casey County Chamber of Commerce, a former member of both Casey and Adair County ASAP (Alcohol and Substance Abuse Policy) boards, and a volunteer for the Ronald McDonald House charity. I am a little league basketball coach, and have coached for 6 years.

1. Why are you running for office? What qualifications and experiences have prepared you to serve as a state representative?

I am running for office after much prayer and discussion with my wife and children because it's important to have checks and balances in Frankfort and this district deserves to have a strong, conservative voice in Frankfort who will stand up for our needs and values. 

As a small business owner and someone with experience working in many different industries, I understand the importance of creating a business friendly environment to attract more good paying jobs to Marion, Casey and Pulaski counties.  I will work hard to make health care more affordable and accessible for families without a government takeover.  I will support efforts to make state government more open and honest because I believe taxpayers deserve to know how their money is being spent. I am 100 percent pro-life, a strong supporter of our 2nd Amendment rights, pro-family and believe marriage is between one man and one woman only.  I will work hard to be conservative voice in Frankfort for the working people who put their trust in God.

2. Since the 2010 regular session of the General Assembly has already started, several bills have already started through the legislative process. Please explain how you would vote and why you would vote that way on the following bills:

A. Senate Bill 26 would overturn a 1984 law that prohibits the construction of nuclear power plants in Kentucky.

 

I would support making Kentucky part of ensuring America's energy independence.  Kentucky coal is key to our low electric rates. But, safe nuclear power should be part of the future for alternative fuel sources.

B. Senate Bill 40 would require the creation of websites where a variety of state government expenditures would be posted for the public to see.

I am very excited about this bill and will be happy to help pass the House version introduced by Representative Jim DeCesare (R-Bowling Green). It's vitally important for taxpayers to know how their money is being spent.  Bringing more transparency and accountability in state government will stop out-of-control, wasteful spending. 

C. Senate Bill 38 would require a physician to perform an ultrasound, explain the results of the ultrasound and to provide the ultrasound images to a pregnant woman before an abortion can be performed.

I am a 100% Pro-Life candidate and support legislation that will protect the rights of the unborn.

3. Several ideas have been debated regarding video lottery terminals, including whether or not they should be allowed, if they should be allowed only at race tracks or also at other locations in the state and whether the state legislature or the voting public should decide these issues. What is your position regarding VLTs, specifically, and expanding gaming, generally?

I am personally opposed to expanded gambling and believe the future of gambling should only be decided by a vote of the people - not politicians behind closed doors. 

4. There is general agreement that the state budget is facing a serious shortfall, possibly as much as $1.5 billion over the next few years. Spending cuts and tax reform have both been suggested as means to address some of the shortfall. What approach should the legislature take to address the shortfall? Please provide some details about how you believe this should be done.

Kentucky has a spending problem, not a revenue problem. In my own experience operating a small business and having to make a weekly payroll, I understand what it means to cut back when times are lean, and invest wisely in areas of importance when revenue permits. Just like Kentucky families and businesses, the General Assembly must tighten its belt, cut wasteful spending and set priorities that reflect the most efficient use of taxpayer dollars. Our spending priorities should focus on education, human services and public protection. After those needs are met, we need to make informed decisions about where to make cuts, which programs we keep and which areas need additional funding. 

5. What other issues do you believe will be important during the 2010 session of the General Assembly?

In these tough economic times, priority must be placed on keeping taxes low and finding ways to create more jobs in rural Kentucky.  It's important to create a business-friendly in Kentucky with lower taxes, understandable regulations and more affordable health care. 

I am pleased to see that Amanda's bill, adding protection for battered women, recently passed the House and will now be heard in the Senate.

It will also be important to find ways to cut out wasteful spending in state government. 

6. What legislation has already been filed that you would like to see approved during the 2010 regular session?

I support the enactment of SB 3 and its companion in the House, HB 253 which creates a 21st Century Bill of Rights for Kentuckians.  This legislation would protect Kentuckians from being forced into a government run health care system, create more transparency in state government, support posting the Ten Commandments in public buildings and protect the rights of the unborn as well as our right to bear arms.

I would support the passage of the Taxpayer Transparency Act (SB 40 and HB 128) which requires all state expenditures to be posted online so taxpayers can see where their money is being spent.  I would support the passage of Senator Jimmy Higdon's pension reform bill which puts a stop to costly, pension perks for legislators.

7. Do you plan to introduce any legislation during the 2010 regular session if you are elected? If so, please describe what would be included in those bills.

The first bill I will introduce will require a super majority vote in the House and Senate to raise taxes.  I will also introduce legislation creating a "time out" period before the final passage of the state's budget to give legislators and the public an opportunity to understand how our tax dollars are being spent.  I'm interesting in exploring legislation to require the public vote their approval of and future bonds to build infrastructure projects to help keep Kentucky from going any deeper into debt.

8. What else would you like voters to know about you?

I am a dedicated family man, eager to serve the people of this district by supporting pro life, traditional family values. I will work very hard to ensure that we create good jobs in the district that will lower the unemployment rate, boost the economy, and retain employees with good benefits, including affordable health care packages. I will support efforts to recruit small business to our district to provide these jobs.