Ellinger and Stein Vie for Senate Seat
October 31, 2008 Leave a comment
by Melissa True
On the brink of Election Day a historic presidential election looms ever closer, but another election that will affect the Transylvania community also approaches.
The candidates for the 13th District State Senator election are Chuck Ellinger and Kathy Stein. Ellinger, the Republican nominee, has served as a member of the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Council At-Large since 2003. Ellinger grew up in Lexington and attended the University of Kentucky College of Law. Stein, the Democratic nominee, served as a member of the Kentucky House of Representatives for 12 years.
When asked the accomplishments he is most proud of, Ellinger said, “Going on my sixth year [on the Council], the biggest thing that I’ve done is that I’m fiscally conservative. I really try to watch the tax dollars, especially in these bad economic times, We need people that can really try and live within our means, and I think that’s what my biggest accomplishment has been,” said Ellinger.
Stein said, “I am most proud of initiatives I have achieved on behalf of children. I carried the Kentucky original K-CHIP bill in 1998, and that was the federal funding that offered insurance to children of the working poor.” She also mentioned working on the passing of a booster seat bill that requires children between the ages of four and seven to be in a booster seat while in a car.
Both candidates said that they consider education to be the most important issue facing Lexington and Kentucky in the next few years.
“I’m tired of us being in the bottom five, and I’d like us to move to the top five in many areas. Education—when we talk about being a top 20 university at the University of Kentucky, that’s a good goal we need to move towards,” said Ellinger.
Stein said, “I have been on a 12 year effort to advocate funding education properly. We want smaller classroom sizes. We want people not to drop out of high school, and when students graduate high school, we want them to go on to some sort of post-secondary education. Yet, when push comes to shove, as it has in the past few difficult budgets, rather than raise revenue in a reasonable manner in order to fund P-16 education, we find it easier to cut education rather than give it the revenue it needs. There is no doubt that the only way Kentucky will get out of the bottom rankings in the nation is to make a culture of education across the Commonwealth.”
Stein proposes an increased cigarette tax, an additional 70 cents per package to fund changes to education.
“Education is what we have to fund, and an immediate way that we could fund it is to increase the tax on cigarettes, which would have many, many other side benefits,” said Stein.
Most Transy students do not live in Lexington and will not be able to vote in the 13th District Senate race. When asked why those students should care about this election, Ellinger said, “First of all, the 13th senate district is where they go to school, so obviously it has a big impact on them. Whatever we do here in the 13th district also affects all of Kentucky. There are only 38 Senators, so I represent the 13th district but I am also a part of Kentucky as a whole. People are going have to pay taxes. They’re going need jobs, so all those issues are going to impact them, so, even though maybe they don’t live here, they’re going be directly or indirectly impacted by it.”
Stein named the state budget, infrastructure and keeping the roads in good working order as things that will directly affect Transy students. “Those sorts of things really impact Transy, as well as the quality of the education we give to our children at public schools, so that they are able to come to this very spectacular university,” she said.