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U.S. Rep. Andy Barr

U.S. Rep. Andy Barr

U.S. Rep. Andy Barr

Renee speaks with Congressman Andy Barr who has served Kentucky's 6th Congressional District since January 2013. They discuss his record in supporting the federal tax cut package, reducing mandatory government spending on certain government programs, tariffs, healthcare, and more.
S14 E8 Length 29:16 Premiere: 10.26.18

U.S. Rep. Andy Barr

When Andy Barr first decided to run for Congress in 2009, he travelled the state’s 6th District to learn what voters wanted from their representative. He says Democrats and Republicans told him they wanted someone who would be accessible to constituents in order to resolve their problems, answer their questions, and hear their feedback.

Although Barr lost that election, he never forgot what voters told him. When he did win a seat in Congress in 2012, Barr and his staff launched an accessibility initiative that included office hours in every county of the district as well as in-person coffee klatches and telephone town hall meetings.

“My favorite part of the job is people and visiting with the people,” Barr says. “If you do the job you’re elected to do, then the politics should take care of itself.”

The Lexington Republican has made constituent services a hallmark of his three terms in office. As he competes for re-election, Barr appeared on KET’s Connections to discuss his views on economic policies and health care. This is the second of three programs featuring candidates running in the 6th Congressional District race. The first, with Democratic candidate Amy McGrath, aired on Oct. 21. The third, with Libertarian candidate Frank Harris, will air on Nov. 2.

Taxes and the Economy
When Barr first entered politics during the presidency of Barack Obama, the American economy was struggling to recover from the financial crisis and the recession that followed. Now, he says Republican policies of tax cuts, deregulation, domestic energy production, and banking reform have fueled strong economic growth and record low unemployment.

“This term in Congress has been a Congress of keeping promises, solving problems and delivering results,” he says.

Barr defends the tax cut package enacted last December, saying that the move to lower corporate and individual rates has created a fairer tax system and tax cuts for middle-class Americans.

“If you look at the distribution of how much federal income tax is being paid into the federal government now after tax cuts, it’s interesting: the tax code has become actually more progressive from the standpoint of the share of total federal revenue being paid,” the Congressman says. “The top 20 percent of taxpayers… they’re actually paying a higher percentage of the total income taxes collected by the government and folks in the bottom 60 percent of taxpayers are paying less.”

As a result, Barr says the average family in his district pays $2,000 less on their federal income taxes. Plus, he says millions of American workers are receiving higher pay and bonuses as corporations reinvest their tax savings in their employees. But Barr acknowledges that many Kentuckians still struggle financially.

“The prosperity that we’re experiencing needs to hit everybody,” he says. “We can’t leave anyone out.”

While the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 permanently reduced corporate taxes, the lower rates for individuals are set to expire in 2025. In September, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to make the individual and small business tax cuts permanent. (The Senate has no plans as of now to take up the measure.)

Barr, who touts himself as a fiscal conservative who endorses the Balanced Budget Amendment, voted for the original tax cuts and the extension bill even though some economists estimate the measures will add trillions of dollars to the national debt.

“One of the main reasons I ran for Congress was to save the country from bankruptcy,” says Barr. “The deficit and national debt continue to be a major concern of mine.”

But he adds: “The tax cuts are not the cause of the deficits.”

The Republican attributes the spiraling deficit to slowing increasing interest rates, which means the government has to pay more to borrow money. Another factor, he says, is that Congress hasn’t addressed government expenditures, especially on Medicaid, Medicare, Society Security, and welfare programs.

“Mandatory spending is now almost 70 percent of all federal outlays,” says Barr. “Clearly, the growth in mandatory spending is what’s driving our long-term debt and deficit challenges. It also threatens the solvency of those very important safety-net programs.”

Barr says he wants to reform welfare to help able-bodied, working-age adults with no dependents get the skills they need to hold a job. He contends that a paycheck is the best way for people to escape poverty.

At the same time, Barr says the Congressional Budget Office estimates that economy will grow by more than $6 trillion thanks to the Republican tax cuts. He says that will result in higher personal incomes, more people paying taxes, and fewer Americans needing government support as they move off welfare and into jobs.

Trade Policy
The federal tax bill also includes tax breaks that will benefit Kentucky bourbon distillers. Barr says he pushed for a provision that creates a level playing field between companies that produce aged distilled spirits, and those that produce non-aged spirits. The tax package also contained a cut in the federal excise tax on distillers.

But Barr fears those gains could be at risk as President Donald Trump pursues tariffs on foreign goods. That’s caused the European Union to retaliate by placing their own levies on Kentucky bourbon and other products.

“We don’t want the trade policy in this country to negate the benefits of tax cuts for bourbon and for soybean exports,” he says.

Barr supports the president’s goal of free, fair, and reciprocal trade deals, but he says lawmakers should have a role in the process. Barr has cosponsored legislation that would give Congress final approval on any tariffs requested by a president.

Health Care
The House has voted dozens of times to repeal the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. Barr says some of his constituents like the ACA, but he also thinks that many more people have been hurt by it because he says they lost access to plans and doctors they liked, their health care options have dwindled, and prices have skyrocketed.

“That is not, to me, a health care system worthy of the American people,” he says.

Rather than simply repeal the ACA, Barr says he voted in May 2017 to repeal and replace it with the American Health Care Act. Among its many provisions, the AHCA would have eliminated the individual mandate, funded high-risk pools for people with pre-existing conditions, and rolled back the expansion of Medicaid. A Senate version of the bill failed to win passage last summer.

Barr says he wants to protect people with pre-existing conditions but he does not want a public option, which he contends would only exacerbate current heath care problems. He also opposes the Medicaid expansion because he says too few providers participate in that system, so patients get “access to a waiting line” instead of access to care.

He says the real cost drivers in health care come down to two populations: People in the individual market and uninsured Americans who are not eligible for Medicaid.

“I was very satisfied that the American Health Care Act was helping deal with the challenges in those groups,” says Barr, “because we were offering something far better than expanded Medicaid.”

“We want a more robust, competitive, private health insurance marketplace with tax credits,” he says. “The American Health Care Act provided that.”

Program Details

Connections

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Each week, host Renee Shaw and a variety of interesting and engaging people - including business leaders, entertainers, authors, celebrities, and more - explore a broad array of topics impacting Kentucky and the world.

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Former Miss Kentucky Djuan Trent talks about her decision come out as a gay woman, reaction from family and friends, her activism in advancing gay rights and marriage, and more.

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Renee speaks with Carol Cecil, executive director of the Kentucky Partnership for Families and Children, a statewide support, training, and advocacy group that works with families and caregivers of children with behavioral health challenges. Also, Resa Gonzalez talks candidly about her son Shawn's trials with depression, bipolar disorder, and a form of autism, and how he's now thriving and helping others.

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DV8 Kitchen - S13 E17

Renee visits DV8 Kitchen, a restaurant and bakery in Lexington that provides second chance employment opportunities for people in substance recovery who are trying to redirect their lives. She speaks with Rob and Diane Perez about their vision for the restaurant and its support from the community. Renee also talks with employees at the eatery to hear their stories of recovery and how DV8 Kitchen helps them.

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Hasan Davis - S9 E31

Renee speaks with former Kentucky Commissioner of the Department of Juvenile Justice, Hasan Davis, about recent juvenile justice reform. Davis was featured in the recent PBS Frontline program "Prison State," about Kentucky's correction system, and interviewed for KET's follow-up program, Prison State: A Kentucky Community Conversation.

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Prison Reform In Kentucky - S9 E32

Renee continues the discussion about Kentucky prison reform recently highlighted on the PBS Frontline program "Prison State." Her guests are: Mark Bolton, director of the Louisville Metro Department of Corrections; Sheila Schuster, Ph.D., clinical psychologist and mental health advocate; and Ray Larson, Fayette County Commonwealth's Attorney.

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Ted Strader - COPES - S9 E33

Ted Strader, the director of the Council on Prevention and Education: Substances, Inc. (COPES) in Louisville, discusses how partnering agencies with the corrections system can help former inmates with successful re-entry into society.

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Colene Elridge - S9 E34

Renee speaks with human resources professional and life coach Colene Elridge, better known as Coach Colene, owner of Be More Consulting.

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Rape Culture - S9 E35

Renee's guests are Mae Suramek, executive director of the Bluegrass Rape Crisis Center and Rus Funk, executive director of MensWork- Eliminating Violence Against Women.

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Connections

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Mental Health Courts - S9 E36

Kelly Gunning, director of advocacy and public policy, NAMI Lexington (National Alliance on Mental Illness), and Public Defender Jon Landon, discuss mental health laws in Kentucky.

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Dr. Timothy M. Houchin - S9 E37

Renee speaks with Lexington psychiatrist Dr. Timothy M. Houchin about attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Houchin is a board-certified adult, child/adolescent, and forensic psychiatrist, and the founder and president of 360 Mental Health Services in Lexington.

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Charisse Gillett - Lexington Theological Seminary - S9 E38

Renee speaks with Dr. Charisse Gillett, president of the Lexington Theological Seminary. Dr. Gillett is the first woman and first African-American selected to lead the seminary.

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African Americans and Mental Health - S9 E39

Renee speaks with Sycarah Fisher, associate professor in the College of Education at the University of Kentucky, and Shambra Mulder, an assistant professor in the School of Education at Kentucky State University.

  • Thursday August 27, 2020 5:30 am ET on KETKY
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Wil James - S9 E40

Renee talks with Wil James, president of Toyota Motor Manufacturing of Kentucky.

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Dr. Robert Hilgers - S9 E41

Renee speaks with Dr. Robert Hilgers, founder and president of the Global Women's Cancer Alliance (WGCA). The WGCA works to advance women's health, addressing particularly those in need of cancer care in developing countries.

  • Monday August 31, 2020 5:30 am ET on KETKY
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Judi Jennings - S9 E42

Renee's guest is Judi Jennings, former executive director of the Kentucky Foundation for Women, feminist art advocate, and writer.

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Marta Miranda - S9 E43

Renee speaks with Marta Miranda, chief empowerment officer of the Center for Women and Families in Louisville.

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SWAG - Sisters and Supporters Working Against Gun Violence - S9 E44

Lexington moms LaTosha Reynolds and Tonya Lindsey talk about losing their sons to gun violence and how the group they founded, SWAG - Sisters and Supporters Working Against Gun Violence, is working to keep youth safe.

  • Thursday September 3, 2020 5:30 am ET on KETKY
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Frontier Nursing University - S9 E45

Drs. Susan Stone and Julie Marfell of Frontier Nursing University discuss the institution's 75-year legacy as the longest continually-operating and largest midwifery program in the nation.

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Tanya Torp and Holly Houston - S9 E46

Community Activist Tanya Torp, program director for Step by Step, a mentoring ministry for at risk single mothers, and Holly Houston, a family court lawyer and co-founder of GLOW - Greater Louisville Outstanding Women, discuss social justice, youth empowerment, leadership development, and girl power.

  • Monday September 7, 2020 5:30 am ET on KETKY
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Chris Rabb - S10 E1

Chris Rabb, author of Invisible Capital: How Unseen Forces Shape Entrepreneurial Opportunity, explores how behind-the-scenes factors - human, cultural, and social capital - affect whether a business will be successful.

  • Tuesday September 8, 2020 5:30 am ET on KETKY
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Bloggers on Personal Development - S10 E2

Meet two women who share their personal journeys through life's challenges by writing blogs. Writer Emmie Sandford is a corporate marketer who owns a social media consulting company. She has been chronicling her journey to a healthier weight on her blog, authenticallyemmie.com. Sheryl Withers Woolverton, a Lexington clinical social worker and therapist, is a former grief counselor with Hospice of the Bluegrass who has shared her journey of grief over a miscarriage and the death of her mother and grandmother. Her blog is called How to Make a Life.

  • Wednesday September 9, 2020 5:30 am ET on KETKY
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Soreyda Benedit Begley and Chris Begley - S10 E3

Honduras native Soreyda Benedit Begley is dressing up Lexington's fashion scene by showcasing the blossoming talents of designers, like herself, right here in the Bluegrass. Her one-of-a-kind originals have graced runways in New York, Chicago, and Atlanta.

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Kevin Chapman - S10 E5

Renee speaks with Kevin Chapman, Ph.D., a licensed psychologist who provides evidence-based treatment for anxiety and related disorders to clients in his private practice in Louisville. Dr. Chapman also specializes in Exposure and Response (Ritual) Prevention for OCD and Prolonged Exposure for PTSD.

  • Friday September 11, 2020 5:30 am ET on KETKY
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MaryLee Underwoood and Chastity Ross - CCDD - S9 E27

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Aaron Thompson - S9 E26

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50th Anniversary of the March on Frankfort - S9 E22

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Carol Cecil; Resa Gonzalez - Youth Mental Health - S14 E5

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Kentucky Poet Laureate Frank X Walker - S9 E21

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Vershawn A. Young - S9 E20

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Sabrina Butler and Kate Miller - S9 E19

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History Maker; Tuskegee Airmen Historians - S9 E14

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Middle Class Struggles and Poverty - S9 E13

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Sharon Price; Damon Cobble - S15 E7

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The Forgotten Minority - S9 E12

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Human Trafficking - S9 E11

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  • Thursday July 30, 2020 2:00 pm ET on KETKY
  • Thursday July 30, 2020 1:00 pm CT on KETKY
  • Thursday July 30, 2020 5:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Thursday July 30, 2020 4:30 am CT on KETKY

Diabetes Prevention and Control - S9 E10

  • Wednesday July 29, 2020 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Wednesday July 29, 2020 9:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Wednesday July 29, 2020 5:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Wednesday July 29, 2020 4:30 am CT on KETKY

Innocence Project - S9 E9

  • Tuesday July 28, 2020 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Tuesday July 28, 2020 9:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Tuesday July 28, 2020 5:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Tuesday July 28, 2020 4:30 am CT on KETKY

Pop Culture and Commodification of Women - S9 E8

  • Monday July 27, 2020 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Monday July 27, 2020 9:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Monday July 27, 2020 2:00 pm ET on KETKY
  • Monday July 27, 2020 1:00 pm CT on KETKY
  • Monday July 27, 2020 5:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Monday July 27, 2020 4:30 am CT on KETKY

Tiffany Manuel - Affordable Housing - S13 E42

  • Sunday August 2, 2020 8:00 am ET on KETKY
  • Sunday August 2, 2020 7:00 am CT on KETKY
  • Saturday August 1, 2020 4:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Saturday August 1, 2020 3:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Wednesday July 29, 2020 11:30 pm ET on KET
  • Wednesday July 29, 2020 10:30 pm CT on KET
  • Wednesday July 29, 2020 6:00 pm ET on KET
  • Wednesday July 29, 2020 5:00 pm CT on KET
  • Sunday July 26, 2020 6:00 pm ET on KET2
  • Sunday July 26, 2020 5:00 pm CT on KET2
  • Sunday July 26, 2020 4:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Sunday July 26, 2020 3:30 pm CT on KETKY

Ruth Brinkley - KentuckyOne Health - S9 E5

  • Friday July 24, 2020 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Friday July 24, 2020 9:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Friday July 24, 2020 2:00 pm ET on KETKY
  • Friday July 24, 2020 1:00 pm CT on KETKY
  • Friday July 24, 2020 5:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Friday July 24, 2020 4:30 am CT on KETKY

Malcolm Ratchford - S9 E4

  • Thursday July 23, 2020 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Thursday July 23, 2020 9:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Thursday July 23, 2020 5:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Thursday July 23, 2020 4:30 am CT on KETKY

Roszalyn Akins - S9 E3

  • Wednesday July 22, 2020 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Wednesday July 22, 2020 9:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Wednesday July 22, 2020 5:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Wednesday July 22, 2020 4:30 am CT on KETKY

Betty Baye - S9 E1

  • Tuesday July 21, 2020 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Tuesday July 21, 2020 9:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Tuesday July 21, 2020 2:00 pm ET on KETKY
  • Tuesday July 21, 2020 1:00 pm CT on KETKY
  • Tuesday July 21, 2020 5:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Tuesday July 21, 2020 4:30 am CT on KETKY

Nikky Finney - S8 E43

  • Monday July 20, 2020 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Monday July 20, 2020 9:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Monday July 20, 2020 2:00 pm ET on KETKY
  • Monday July 20, 2020 1:00 pm CT on KETKY
  • Monday July 20, 2020 5:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Monday July 20, 2020 4:30 am CT on KETKY

Joshua A. Douglas - Voting Rights Reform - S14 E25

  • Sunday July 26, 2020 8:00 am ET on KETKY
  • Sunday July 26, 2020 7:00 am CT on KETKY
  • Saturday July 25, 2020 4:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Saturday July 25, 2020 3:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Wednesday July 22, 2020 11:30 pm ET on KET
  • Wednesday July 22, 2020 10:30 pm CT on KET
  • Wednesday July 22, 2020 6:00 pm ET on KET
  • Wednesday July 22, 2020 5:00 pm CT on KET
  • Sunday July 19, 2020 6:00 pm ET on KET2
  • Sunday July 19, 2020 5:00 pm CT on KET2
  • Sunday July 19, 2020 4:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Sunday July 19, 2020 3:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Sunday July 19, 2020 12:00 pm ET on KET
  • Sunday July 19, 2020 11:00 am CT on KET

Dorothy J. Edwards - S8 E41

  • Friday July 17, 2020 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Friday July 17, 2020 9:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Friday July 17, 2020 2:00 pm ET on KETKY
  • Friday July 17, 2020 1:00 pm CT on KETKY
  • Friday July 17, 2020 5:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Friday July 17, 2020 4:30 am CT on KETKY

Food Security (Part 2) - S8 E39

  • Thursday July 16, 2020 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Thursday July 16, 2020 9:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Thursday July 16, 2020 2:00 pm ET on KETKY
  • Thursday July 16, 2020 1:00 pm CT on KETKY
  • Thursday July 16, 2020 5:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Thursday July 16, 2020 4:30 am CT on KETKY

Food Security - S8 E38

  • Wednesday July 15, 2020 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Wednesday July 15, 2020 9:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Wednesday July 15, 2020 2:00 pm ET on KETKY
  • Wednesday July 15, 2020 1:00 pm CT on KETKY
  • Wednesday July 15, 2020 5:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Wednesday July 15, 2020 4:30 am CT on KETKY

Shevawn Akers - S8 E37

  • Tuesday July 14, 2020 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Tuesday July 14, 2020 9:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Tuesday July 14, 2020 2:00 pm ET on KETKY
  • Tuesday July 14, 2020 1:00 pm CT on KETKY
  • Tuesday July 14, 2020 5:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Tuesday July 14, 2020 4:30 am CT on KETKY

Dana Branham - S8 E36

  • Monday July 13, 2020 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Monday July 13, 2020 9:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Monday July 13, 2020 2:00 pm ET on KETKY
  • Monday July 13, 2020 1:00 pm CT on KETKY
  • Monday July 13, 2020 5:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Monday July 13, 2020 4:30 am CT on KETKY

Pastor Edward Palmer - Racial Bias and Juvenile Justice Reform - S15 E2

  • Sunday July 19, 2020 8:00 am ET on KETKY
  • Sunday July 19, 2020 7:00 am CT on KETKY
  • Saturday July 18, 2020 4:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Saturday July 18, 2020 3:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Wednesday July 15, 2020 11:30 pm ET on KET
  • Wednesday July 15, 2020 10:30 pm CT on KET
  • Wednesday July 15, 2020 6:00 pm ET on KET
  • Wednesday July 15, 2020 5:00 pm CT on KET
  • Sunday July 12, 2020 6:00 pm ET on KET2
  • Sunday July 12, 2020 5:00 pm CT on KET2
  • Sunday July 12, 2020 4:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Sunday July 12, 2020 3:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Sunday July 12, 2020 12:00 pm ET on KET
  • Sunday July 12, 2020 11:00 am CT on KET

Beth Silvers and Sarah Stewart Holland - S15 E10

  • Sunday July 12, 2020 8:00 am ET on KETKY
  • Sunday July 12, 2020 7:00 am CT on KETKY
Top

Season 14

The 'I Was Here' Project

S14 E36 Length 27:42 Premiere Date 8.4.19

Mike Runyon and Sherita Miller; Wendy Kobler

S14 E35 Length 26:57 Premiere Date 7.28.19

Filmmaker Lynn Novik

S14 E33 Length 28:27 Premiere Date 7.14.19

Brent Hutchinson; Christine Thompson - Education

S14 E32 Length 27:37 Premiere Date 7.7.19

Lieutenant Governor Jenean Hampton - Youth Mental Health

S14 E31 Length 26:32 Premiere Date 6.2.19

Julie Cerel - Youth Suicide Prevention

S14 E29 Length 26:32 Premiere Date 5.19.19

Dale Suttles - Sunrise Children's Services

S14 E28 Length 27:33 Premiere Date 5.12.19

Education in Rural Eastern Kentucky

S14 E27 Length 28:13 Premiere Date 5.5.19

Joshua A. Douglas - Voting Rights Reform

S14 E25 Length 26:32 Premiere Date 4.21.19

Jay Box - Ky. Community & Technical College System

S14 E24 Length 26:32 Premiere Date 4.14.19

Author and Life Coach Colene Elridge

S14 E23 Length 26:19 Premiere Date 4.7.19

FIRST STEP Act - Criminal Justice Reform

S14 E22 Length 27:44 Premiere Date 3.31.19

Cheryl A. Oldham

S14 E21 Length 26:38 Premiere Date 2.22.19

Linda Hampton - Early Childhood

S14 E20 Length 29:47 Premiere Date 2.15.19

Donald Mason

S14 E19 Length 26:34 Premiere Date 2.8.19

Community Action Council; First 5 Lex

S14 E18 Length 28:53 Premiere Date 2.1.19

Seamus Carey

S14 E17 Length 26:57 Premiere Date 1.25.19

Michael Benson

S14 E16 Length 27:32 Premiere Date 1.18.19

Dr. Aaron Thompson

S14 E14 Length 28:13 Premiere Date 1.11.19

Mary Todd Lincoln and Lincoln Lexington Walking Tour

S14 E13 Length 28:55 Premiere Date 12.14.18

Youth Suicide

S14 E12 Length 29:22 Premiere Date 12.7.18

Jean Schumm and Amanda Gale

S14 E11 Length 28:22 Premiere Date 11.16.18

M. Christopher Brown II

S14 E10 Length 28:02 Premiere Date 11.9.18

Frank Harris

S14 E9 Length 25:17 Premiere Date 11.2.18

U.S. Rep. Andy Barr

S14 E8 Length 29:16 Premiere Date 10.26.18

Amy McGrath

S14 E7 Length 29:02 Premiere Date 10.19.18

Kevin Chapman - Youth Mental Health

S14 E6 Length 28:47 Premiere Date 10.12.18

Carol Cecil; Resa Gonzalez - Youth Mental Health

S14 E5 Length 26:03 Premiere Date 10.5.18

Joe Bargione - Youth Mental Health

S14 E4 Length 28:57 Premiere Date 9.28.18

WKU President Timothy Caboni

S14 E3 Length 28:40 Premiere Date 9.21.18

Dr. Neeli Bendapudi

S14 E1 Length 28:47 Premiere Date 9.14.18

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