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Two Republicans seek state rep nomination

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Winner will challenge Terry Mills in November

By Stephen Lega

State Rep. Terry Mills doesn't have any opposition in the Democratic primary election. But he will have a challenger in November for the 24th District seat, which now includes Green, LaRue and Marion counties.
J. Alex LaRue of Hodgenville and Richard Treitz of Green County are vying for the Republican nomination in the May 20 primary election. A third Republican candidate, Amber Rogers Dones of Hodgenville, has withdrawn from the race.
Both LaRue and Treitz believe that something needs to change in Kentucky.
"We need to change the way things are done in Frankfort. There's too much wasted time and activity on nonproductive things," LaRue said.
Treitz said the Capitol needs new leadership.
"Not that I'm going to be the new leader, but I hope to a part of the change in leadership so that we can have some good reforms in Frankfort," he said.
The Enterprise interviewed LaRue and Treitz Friday, and full transcripts of those interviews can be found at http://goo.gl/VlvLM1 (LaRue) and http://goo.gl/DiaR2Y (Treitz).
Both candidates also have campaign websites. LaRue's website is http://www.laruenow.com/, and Treitz website is http://richardtreitz.com/.

J. Alex LaRue
LaRue, 61, has been married to his wife, Iris, for 41 years. They have three children and three grandchildren.
LaRue graduated from LaRue County High School in 1970, then studied for two years at Elizabethtown Community and Technical College and for two years at the University of Kentucky. At UK, he majored in accounting with an emphasis in economics.
After college, LaRue returned to Hodgenville, where he worked in his father's accounting and tax practice. In 1992, they sold that business, and LaRue took over the family's insurance agency.
LaRue believes his educational background and more than 40 years of "working with and for businesses" have prepared him to serve in the legislature.
"I understand how businesses operate, what it takes to create new and attractive jobs, how to control spending," LaRue said.
LaRue has followed the legislature for the last 10 years through the news and through his involvement in the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce Small Business Council, the chamber's competitiveness council, and the independent insurance agents association. Through these organizations, he said he gets regular updates on current issues and on issues that are coming down the road.
"The single biggest issue facing the state is our drug problem. The second biggest issue, which will have an effect on the first, is lack of jobs," LaRue said.
In order to create more jobs, he said Kentucky needs to be more business friendly. More jobs also will raise wages throughout the district, he added.
"A good job is the best social program that there ever was, and that's a quote from Ronald Reagan," LaRue said.
He continued to say that the state needs to curb its out of control spending. That includes reducing wasteful spending and stopping Kentucky's move toward Obamacare, according to LaRue. He noted that the federal government is subsidizing the increased Medicaid enrollment for the next three years.
"At the end of that three years, if the federal government cuts back on that funding, that's going to create a huge burden for the Kentucky budget," he said.
In order to be more business friendly, LaRue said Kentucky needs to become a right-to-work state. (In right-to-work states, employees in union shops cannot be required to join the union.)
He added that Kentucky also needs tax reform. He said eliminating income taxes and increasing sales taxes would make Kentucky more competitive with states like Tennessee.
"That would encourage more people to work because they get to keep more of their money," LaRue said.
In the long-term, he said the state must address its underfunded pension system, be transparent, and deal with the state's doctor shortage.
With regard to the Bluegrass Pipeline, LaRue said the project would bring jobs to the area, and that a pipeline is the safest way to move natural gas liquids from where it is removed from the ground to where it is refined.
However, he also believes property rights must be respected.
"The Bluegrass Pipeline people will have to do a good job selling it to the landowners to make it work. But I don't believe eminent domain should be available," LaRue said.
He said he agreed with the recent Franklin Circuit Court ruling that the pipeline project cannot use eminent domain. If the appeals court upholds the circuit court decision, the legislature may not need to take any action.
"There's no point in passing legislation to reinforce a court ruling," LaRue said.
If the appeals court overturns the circuit court, however, then the legislature may need to take action to clarify eminent domain laws, he said.
Governor Steve Beshear signed into law last week a bill that will allow state medical school to prescribe cannabidoil for medicinal purposes. With that in mind, LaRue said he would not be in favor of allowing medical marijuana.
He noted that medical marijuana could be abused, and he didn't see how that could be reconciled with a proposed statewide smoking ban.
LaRue also opposes expanded gaming. He said it would bring low paying, minimum wage jobs as state residents gamble away billions of dollars, which could be spent instead in local businesses.
"It makes losers out of all rural Kentuckians," he said.
If he is elected, LaRue said he would work as hard for Marion County as he will for Green and LaRue counties. He added that he will not support the liberal agenda.
"I am pro-life and pro-family, and I'm a life member of the NRA," LaRue said.

Richard Treitz
Treitz, 59, lives just outside of Summersville in Green County. He is single, but he has relatives throughout the state.
Treitz graduated from Ballard High School and attended Vanderbilt University for two years. In his professional life, he's worked in the fields of seismic engineering and telecommunications, and he is currently working in the health and wellness industry.
Now, he'd like to represent the 24th District in Kentucky House of Representatives.
"I have been a citizen advocate for a number of years. I'm real familiar with the legislative process," Treitz said.
He added that he's spent more than a decade volunteering his own time and using his own gasoline to travel to Frankfort to advocate for issues, working on legislation and testifying before legislative committees.
"I can step right in immediately in the position and start," Treitz said.
He has followed the progress of legislation through the Legislative Research Commission's website and as a member of Take Back Kentucky. According to Take Back Kentucky's website, its mission is "to preserve the God given rights that are recognized in the constitutions of the Commonwealth of Kentucky and the United States of America."
Treitz said the biggest issue Kentucky is facing is its broken pension process, which he described as "woefully underfunded." To go along with that, he said the state needs to have a balanced budget.
"Despite the fact that we have a constitutional provision requiring a balanced budget - the state continually adds more and more debt every year," Treitz said.
He said USA Today recently reported that Kentucky was one of the five worst states with regard to unfunded liabilities in its budget.
That's not the only issue that he would make a priority, however.
"I'm unashamed to be pro-life, and every year there are good pro-life legislative bills that are introduced and have continually been not acted upon in the House," Treitz said.
To address both those issues and others, Treitz said the House is long overdue for new leadership. He said the House leadership sends pro-life legislation to committees that won't allow it to go to the floor for a vote.
"The leadership is responsible for the roadblocks in front of good pro-life legislation," he said.
He added that he blames the House leadership for the broken budget process, including more taxes, more spending and more debt.
With regard to the Bluegrass Pipeline, Treitz said he supports private industry and private contracts, but he also supports private property rights.
"I don't think that this pipeline qualifies for the use of eminent domain," he said.
Treitz agreed with the Franklin Circuit Court decision that the Bluegrass Pipeline does not meet the requirements for eminent domain under state law.
"Whether or not there is legislation that is actually needed in order to continue to address this issue, frankly, I would have to study it a little more in depth," he said.
In light of the state's recent decision to make it legal to prescribe cannabidoil in certain situations, Treitz said he is undecided about whether the state should make medical marijuana legal. He said he has seen research that suggests it could have some benefits, but he would have to see the specifics of any proposed legislation before deciding if he would support it.
He added that he is glad that Commissioner of Agriculture James Comer has supported hemp production in Kentucky.
"We should continue to pursue that aggressively. Hemp, to me, is industry for the state and for our farmers and for workers," Treitz said.
He also wanted to make it clear that industrial hemp and marijuana are not the same thing.
Treitz said he does not know how he would vote on legislation regarding expanded gaming, but he did express concerns. From a moral standpoint, he said he opposes expanded gaming, and he also thinks it could do more harm than good.
"There's a lot of proponents of expanded gaming that claim there will additional revenue to the state and taxes, and seem to think this is some kind of great panacea. But studies show overwhelmingly from a practical standpoint that gambling is a net negative to society," Treitz said.
He also said tax reform would be another important issue.
"If we really wanted to reform our tax system in this state we'd need to eliminate both the personal and the corporate income tax, and go strictly to a sales tax," Treitz said.
He argued that Tennessee already does this and that the Volunteer State has outpaced Kentucky economically for years.
"I personally know of businesses and businessmen who have left or are seriously considering leaving Kentucky because of our anti-business, anti-free market tax and regulation structure that we have in this state," Treitz said.
In a more general sense, he described himself as a constitutionalist.
"I believe in all the principals of the Declaration of Independence, our federal and state constitutions and our Bill of Rights," Treitz said.
He added that Kentucky and other states can fight back against the federal government by exercising the powers given to them by the ninth and 10th amendments to the U.S. Constitution.
He also knows he has an uncommon name, but he has a way to help people remember how to pronounce it.
"It rhymes with rights," Treitz said. "And my campaign slogan is ‘Treitz fights for your rights.’"