Two GOP candidates running for the U.S. House of Representatives in the state’s 3rd Congressional district appeared on Monday’s edition of Kentucky Tonight on KET.
Harold Bratcher and Everett Corley discussed a range of issues, including the federal budget, health care, and the presidential race. A third Republican candidate in the primary, Robert DeVore Jr., did not participate in the discussion.
The 3rd district covers most of Jefferson County except for the eastern edge of the county. Democratic incumbent Rep. John Yarmuth represents the district.
A lifelong Louisvillian, Harold Bratcher is a real estate agent and owns a trucking company. He says he has also worked as a volunteer in the Jefferson County Public Schools. Bratcher says he wants to focus on bringing more jobs to Louisville and on lowering taxes for the middle class and for corporations.
Everett Corley is also a real estate agent and Louisville native. Active in Republican Party politics for more than two decades, Corley previously ran for Metro Louisville Council and the state House. He says his top priorities include bringing accountability to government, veterans’ services, and immigration.
The Federal Budget
Corley says the omnibus spending bill Congress passed last December was a “disaster for the country.” He says wasteful federal spending leads to endless deficits and higher taxes.
“I would rather see the government shut down than mortgage the future of the children of this country,” Corley says. “Shut it down.”
While affirming his fiscal conservatism, Bratcher says he opposes government shutdowns and pledges to work to find common ground on fiscal issues. He contends that lawmakers who fail to pass a budget should be voted out of office.
“You never solve [anything] by shutting down the government,” Bratcher says. “That shows weakness to the world if we cannot come together and balance our budget.”
Both candidates oppose the individual mandate contained in the Affordable Care Act that penalizes individuals for not having health insurance. But Bratcher and Corley say they favor the ACA provision that requires insurance companies to cover people with pre-existing medical conditions.
Bratcher adds that he would allow insurers to sell policies across state lines, while Corley says he wants to abolish the medical device tax.
The candidates differ on the provision that allows young people up to age 26 to remain on their parents’ insurance policies. Bratcher says he would retain that option because some young people may still be in college at that age, or they may find entry-level work that doesn’t include health coverage.
Corley says that policy needs to be reviewed.
“Most American young men [and] women can take care of themselves and are proud to do so,” says Corley. “Put the chicks out of the nest and make them work.”
The Presidential Race
Of the three presidential candidates still actively competing for the Republican nomination, Corley says that he supports Donald Trump. He says the New York businessman will restore leadership and respect to the Oval Office and balance the budget. Corley says he also admires Trump’s business success and how he has raised his children.
Bratcher says that he backs Ohio Gov. John Kasich.
“He has brought the state of Ohio back up to where it needs to be,” says Bratcher. “He has shown to be a proven leader and I don’t think there’s anyone more qualified… to be the next president.”
Bratcher admits Kasich likely won’t win the nomination because he lags Trump and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz in funding. Bratcher says he would support Trump if he is the nominee, but he says he doesn’t like how Trump makes fun of people.
Corley says that he opposes Cruz for flip-flopping on key issues and for lying about fellow Republican contender Ben Carson during the Iowa caucuses. He also criticizes Kasich for implementing the Affordable Care Act in Ohio.
The candidates favor overhauling federal entitlements to bring more accountability and fairness to those programs. Corley contends that Social Security wastes billions of dollars each year providing disability benefits to people who don’t deserve them. He says people should be means tested before receiving welfare. Corley also favors a work requirement for food stamp recipients.
Bratcher also thinks that many able-bodied people receive disability payments for which they shouldn’t qualify. He also argues that it is unfair for people on disability to pay so little for their medicines when working families face steep co-pays for their prescriptions.
Regarding gun violence, Bratcher says that he supports the Second Amendment but that he favors background checks on gun purchases. Corley says that he would reduce shooting deaths by applying the death penalty to gun-related crimes.
And concerning the current U.S. Supreme Court vacancy, Corley says the Senate should block President Barack Obama’s nomination of federal Judge Merrick Garland. Bratcher says that the next president should select a new justice.