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Democratic 1st District Congressional Candidate

Democratic 1st District Congressional Candidate

A discussion of the 2016 Democratic primary race in the 1st Congressional District with candidate Samuel L. Gaskins.
S23 E20 Length 26:31 Premiere: 4.18.16

1st Congressional District Democratic Primary

The candidate running in the Democratic primary for the U.S. House of Representatives in the state’s 1st District appeared on Monday’s edition of Kentucky Tonight on KET. Samuel Gaskins discussed a range of issues, including the economy, health care, education, and national security.

A second Democratic candidate, Tom Osborne, did not participate in the program. According to the Paducah Sun, Osborne has dropped out of the race because of health problems.

Kentucky’s 1st District comprises all or part of 35 counties in central, southern and western Kentucky. It includes the cities of Columbia, Henderson, Hopkinsville, Lebanon, Paducah, Madisonville, and Murray. The district is currently served by Republican Ed Whitfield, who is not seeking re-election.

Samuel Gaskins was born at Fort Campbell, and raised in Wyoming and Kentucky. After graduating from Christian County High School, he served five years in the Marines. After the 9/11 attacks, he enlisted in the Army, where he served for eight years. Gaskins works in carpentry and construction.

“I am a true Kentuckian through and through,” Gaskins says. “I’ve got family from here to Wyoming but my roots are deep in Kentucky.”

The Economy and the Federal Budget
Gaskins says the primary issue in the district is economic security for working-class families. He says Western Kentucky is home to farmers, coal miners, and manufacturing workers who worry about how to pay their bills at the end of the month.

Instead of addressing the economy or addressing America’s crumbling infrastructure, Gaskins contends the politicians in Washington either want to privatize Social Security and veterans services, or “tax the rich into oblivion,” neither of which will fix the nation’s problems, according to Gaskins.

He proposes a major bonding program to repair roads, bridges, and dams, and he advocates for tax reforms that would provide incentives to businesses that hire more people.

Gaskins criticizes government policies that he says encourage federal agencies to spend money to maintain their appropriations rather than save taxpayer dollars. He argues there is waste and fraud in every government program from the military to agricultural crop insurance. He also decries the bailout of the banks involved in the 2008 financial crisis.

“That was my money and your money that went to the banks to bail them out,” Gaskins says. “I feel that that’s a form of fraud: They created the mess and then they got paid to clean it up.”

Finally Gaskins calls for a complete audit of the federal budget so taxpayers can learn exactly how their money is spent.

Health Care and Education Issues
Gaskins says he supports most of President Obama’s policies, and he calls the Affordable Care Act “a great piece of legislation.” But he says insurance companies have manipulated the reforms, causing premiums and deductibles to increase. He says a single-payer system would be a solution to the health care crisis.

The Democrat says he supports legalization of medicinal marijuana, but he says more needs to be done to combat drug abuse. He says heroin and methamphetamine are significant problems in the district, yet there are not enough treatment facilities to care for drug users. Gaskins contends people turn to drugs out of desperation, so he thinks treatment should include providing jobs and other economic opportunities to recovering addicts.

On education, Gaskins says not everyone needs a four-year college degree. He supports increased funding for community colleges and creating more training programs and apprenticeships so young people can learn trades like plumbing, electrical wiring, and farming.

Energy Policy
Gaskins decries the loss of jobs in the Western Kentucky coalfields and says more attention should be given to clean-coal technologies, which he says can result in less pollution as well as byproducts that can be used by other industries. Despite regulations to reduce the use and environmental impacts of coal, Gaskins says the nation needs it to power steel production.

“They’re trying to figure out how can we make coal profitable again and it can’t be done with the way regulations are right now,” he says.

As for the oil and gas drilling process known as fracking, Gaskins opposes it for now, but says he is still studying the issue.

National Security
Gaskins says numerous people around the world want to do harm to United States, but living in constant fear only serves to jeopardize the civil liberties of Americans. He says all foreigners entering the U.S. should be thoroughly vetted, and he says the fight against Islamic State terrorists will not succeed if it relies solely on a military strategy.

“We created the idea of ISIS by our actions and our inactions,” Gaskins says. “We’re going to have to combat that with more education and less bombs as far as teaching them that we’re not the enemy. We’re trying to do what’s right by them even though a lot of countries don’t feel that way.”

Gaskins opposes the idea of a wall along America’s border with Mexico, saying people will simply find a way to go over it or tunnel under it. He says immigrants who want to come to the United States for better opportunities should be able to do so legally. He supports allowing most of the so-called DREAMers (children illegally brought into the country by their immigrant parents) to remain here, but he opposes sanctuary cities that provide shelter to illegal immigrants.

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Season 23 Episodes

U.S. Senate Candidates

S23 E43 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 10.31.16

6th U.S. Congressional District Candidates

S23 E42 Length 56:53 Premiere Date 10.24.16

Countdown to the Election

S23 E41 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 10.17.16

Setting Education Policy

S23 E40 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 10.10.16

Jobs and Wages: Latest Trends

S23 E39 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 10.2.16

The Race for President

S23 E38 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 9.25.16

Forecasting the U.S. Economy

S23 E37 Length 56:34 Premiere Date 9.19.16

Changes to Kentucky's Medicaid

S23 E36 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 9.12.16

U.S. Foreign Policy Issues

S23 E35 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 8.29.16

Impact of Campaign Finance Laws

S23 E34 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 8.22.16

The Electoral College and Politics

S23 E33 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 8.15.16

The Future of Medicaid in Kentucky

S23 E32 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 8.1.16

Previewing the 2016 Election

S23 E31 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 7.10.16

Gun Control vs. 2nd Amendment

S23 E30 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 6.27.16

Debating Immigration Policy

S23 E29 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 6.20.16

Debate Over Jobs and Wages

S23 E27 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 6.6.16

Decoding Kentucky's Primary

S23 E25 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 5.23.16

2016 Primary Election Preview

S23 E24 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 5.16.16

Democratic U.S. Senate Primary

S23 E23 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 5.9.16

Republican U.S. Senate Primary Candidate

S23 E22 Length 26:31 Premiere Date 5.2.16

Republican 1st District Congressional Candidates

S23 E21 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 4.25.16

Democratic 1st District Congressional Candidate

S23 E20 Length 26:31 Premiere Date 4.18.16

Democratic 6th District Congressional Candidates

S23 E19 Length 28:01 Premiere Date 4.11.16

Republican 6th District Congressional Candidates

S23 E17 Length 28:01 Premiere Date 3.28.16

Republican 3rd Congressional District Candidates

S23 E16 Length 28:01 Premiere Date 3.21.16

2016 General Assembly at Midpoint

S23 E15 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 2.29.16

Negotiations on State Budget

S23 E14 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 2.22.16

Crafting New Education Policy

S23 E13 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 2.15.16

Debating the Minimum Wage

S23 E12 Length 56:31 Premiere Date 2.8.16

Assessing the Governor's Budget

S23 E11 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 2.1.16

Felony Records Expungement

S23 E10 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 1.25.16

Right to Work and Prevailing Wage

S23 E9 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 1.18.16

Charter Schools in Kentucky

S23 E8 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 1.11.16

Major Issues Await Legislature

S23 E7 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 1.4.16

Solving the State Pension Crisis

S23 E6 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 12.14.15

Preparing for the 2016 General Assembly

S23 E4 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 11.23.15

Priorities for the State Budget

S23 E3 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 11.16.15

Election Analysis

S23 E2 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 11.9.15

What's at Stake in the 2015 Election?

S23 E1 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 11.2.15

About

Kentucky Tonight, hosted by Renee Shaw, is a public affairs discussion program broadcasted live on Monday nights at 8/7c on KET and KET.org/live.

Viewers with questions and comments may send e-mail to kytonight@ket.org or use the message form on this page. All messages should include first and last name and town or county. The phone number for viewer calls during the program is 1-800-494-7605.

After broadcast, Kentucky Tonight programs are available on KET.org and via podcast (iTunes or Android). Files are normally accessible within 24 hours after the television broadcast.

Kentucky Tonightwas awarded a 1997 regional Emmy by the Ohio Valley Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. The series was also honored with a 1995 regional Emmy nomination.

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