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John Hicks' Issue Positions (Political Courage Test)

On The Ballot: Running, Libertarian for Governor with Ann Cormican
John Hicks is currently being tested through the 2019 Political Courage Test.
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What is the Political Courage Test?

Kentucky State Legislative Election 2018 Political Courage Test

This candidate has responded to a Political Courage Test in a previous election. As a continued effort to provide the American public with factual information on candidates running for public office, these archived responses are made available here.

a) Do you generally support pro-choice or pro-life legislation?
Yesb) Should abortion be legal when the pregnancy resulted from incest or rape?
Yesc) Do you support the prohibition of public funds for organizations that perform abortions?
d) Other or expanded principles:

Abortion is one of the toughest issues facing anyone who supports life and liberty. How do you weigh the mother's liberty (and right to be free from arbitrary government intrusion) versus the rights of her unborn child? And having made that personal judgment, what power do you give government to enforce it?

My approach:
Abortion is primarily a moral issue, at least up until the fetus is viable. Therefore the decision should be the mother's to make.
Government should stay out of it: No onerous rules that invade a woman's privacy and no public funds to pay for the procedure.

1) Budget Stabilization:
Indicate which proposals you support (if any) for balancing Kentucky's budget.
a) Reducing state employee salaries AND/OR pensions?
b) Instituting mandatory furloughs AND/OR layoffs for state employees?
c) Reducing benefits for Medicaid recipients?
d) An income tax increase on any tax bracket?
e) Other or expanded principles:

I would not apply any single arbitrary rule to magically balance the budget. Good business principles apply here.
A well-run government should maintain a reserve fund that can be used for unforeseen, short-term budget shortfalls.
If the shortfall is great or long-lived, across-the-board budget cuts should be instituted, with non-essential services bearing the brunt of any immediate cuts but essential services also scaled down over time to meet anticipated income.
Clearly, state employee pension contracts, like all contracts, must be honored in full.

Noa) Do you support any limits on campaign contributions to state candidates?
Nob) Do you support the regulation of indirect campaign contributions from corporations and unions?
Noc) Do you support the use of an independent AND/OR bipartisan commission for redistricting?
Nod) Do you support requiring a government-issued photo identification in order to vote at the polls?
e) Other or expanded principles:

One of my primary reasons for running for office now is to work for instituting instant-runoff voting (IRV or RCV) and proportional representation (PR). I believe the form of PR known as Single Transferable Vote (STV) would radically reduce both the role of money in campaigns and the motivation to gerrymander when redistricting.

Campaign finance limitations are largely futile since money, like water, seeks its own level: Anyone with money who wants to influence an election will find a way to try to do so, and regulation merely makes such attempts more indirect and less discoverable.

Likewise with "independent" commissions.

Noa) Do you support capital punishment for certain crimes?
Yesb) Do you support the legalization of marijuana for medical purposes?
Yesc) Do you support the legalization of marijuana for recreational purposes?
Nod) Should a minor accused of a violent crime be prosecuted as an adult?
Noe) Do you support the enforcement of federal immigration laws by state and local police?
f) Do you support alternatives to incarceration for certain non-violent offenders, such as mandatory counseling or substance abuse treatment?
g) Other or expanded principles:

I generally oppose capital punishment but would retain it provided a system is in place to minimize its use and ensure that system is administered equitably.
Violent crimes should be dealt with harshly, but that doesn't mean a minor must be treated as an adult.
The citizens of a state or a locality should decide for themselves whether their police force should aid the federal government in enforcement of federal law.
Many non-violent crimes are also victimless crimes and therefore should not be crimes at all.

Noa) Do you support state government spending as a means of promoting economic growth?
Nob) Do you support lowering state taxes as a means of promoting economic growth?
Yesc) Do you support reducing state government regulations on the private sector?
Nod) Do you support expanding access to unemployment benefits?
Noe) Do you support requiring welfare applicants to pass a drug test in order to receive benefits?
Nof) Do you support an increase of the minimum wage of Kentucky?
Nog) Do you support the legalization of casino gambling in order to fund Kentucky's pension system?
h) Other or expanded principles:

Our limited state funds should be spent on necessary services, not in futile attempts to manipulate the economy.
Minimum wage legislation hurts those who need help the most: inexperienced and unskilled [generally young] workers and owners of small businesses.
I generally support legalization of most things that don't harm others. I'm leery of tying casinos to pensions. (Pensions are part of employee compensation and thus should be included in the general budget, not tied to a particular source.) I would open up gambling and charge license fees that cover the costs to government (and any indirect costs to the public).

Noa) Do you support adopting federal education standards in Kentucky?
Yesb) Do you support state funding for charter schools?
Yesc) Should immigrants unlawfully present in the United States who graduate from Kentucky high schools be eligible for in-state tuition at public universities?
d) Other or expanded principles:

Kentucky's schools should have high standards, and we should aim for their performance to compare favorably to other states.
(Note that the Common Core standards are not federal standards but were created by the states working under the National Governors Association.)
I support a gradual and limited rollout of charter schools. As public schools themselves, they should be financed in a similar way as our current public schools.
I believe most Kentucky citizens support immigrants who respect our culture and are working to improve their lives. This would probably include granted them in-state tuition provided we can afford it.

a) Do you support state funding for the development of renewable energy (e.g. solar, wind, thermal)?
b) Do you support state government regulations of greenhouse gas emissions?
c) Do you support increasing state funding for clean drinking water initiatives?
d) Do you support decreasing compensation for citizens who generate excess energy from personal solar panels ("net-metering")?
e) Other or expanded principles:

Our government should be a good steward of our environment, just as we citizens should be.
We should remove any unneeded regulatory barriers to the development of renewable energy.
With limited state funds and many pressing needs, we should be skeptical of spending additional funds on development projects of any sort, since they merely tend to enrich the contracting businesses.
It is heartening that solar and battery technology is advancing so rapidly that climate change may soon cease to be such a political hot potato.
Net metering is more complicated than pundits make it out to be. See my website.

Noa) Do you generally support gun-control legislation?
Nob) Should background checks be required on gun sales between private citizens at gun shows?
c) Should teachers be allowed to bring guns into the classroom?
Nod) Should a license be required for gun ownership?
e) Other or expanded principles:

Whether teachers should be armed is a matter that should be decided by local school boards and/or local school principals based on local needs and parental sentiment.

a) Should the state government increase funding for treatment facilities to combat opioid abuse?
b) Do you support Medicaid expansion through Kentucky's health care programs?
Noc) Do you support requiring individuals to purchase health care insurance?
d) Do you support legislation that grants citizens the right to choose to die through euthanasia?
e) Do you support eliminating religious exemptions for vaccinations?
f) Other or expanded principles:

I favor maintaining a strong social safety net for those who need it. A major part of my job as a legislator will be to study the budget and help make the difficult decisions of how to spend limited funds.
I have no objection to removing legal barriers to voluntary euthanasia, but I don't recognize that as a major problem at present.
Local school systems should decide on any vaccination requirements for their students.

a) Do you support the inclusion of sexual orientation in Kentucky's anti-discrimination laws?
b) Do you support the inclusion of gender identity in Kentucky's anti-discrimination laws?
c) Do you support greater efforts by Kentucky state government in closing the pay gap between men and women?
d) Other or expanded principles:

When hiring or contracting, state government should not discriminate against anyone based on sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity (among other things). This should be reflected in state law and regulations.
Good governmental human resource administration should continually monitor its personnel data to ensure that discrimination in hiring and promotion does not occur.

In the following area, please explain in a total of 100 words or less, your top two or three priorities if elected. If they require additional funding for implementation, please explain how you would obtain this funding.

I want to use my office as a bully pulpit to advocate for electoral reform: changing to an electoral system that includes instant runoff voting and proportional representation.

As a Libertarian in a legislature dominated by two other parties at war with each other, I will work for good will and cooperation among all. This particularly applies to the upcoming battles over teachers pensions and charter schools:
--Current pension contracts must be upheld and fully financed. Future compensation programs may require 401K instead.
--Our schools must innovate to find better solutions. But such innovation must be done gradually and carefully.

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