A gubernatorial candidate visited Murray State on April 6 to discuss the upcoming election.
Adam Edelen, Democratic candidate, has visited campuses across Kentucky to host a town hall style event called Pizza and Politics. He said he hosts these events in hopes of engaging students and members of the community to share their questions and concerns.
At the Murray State Pizza and Politics, Edelen spoke about his campaign platform and what he plans to do if he is elected governor. His platform consists of bringing Kentucky into the digital age by expanding accessibility of broadband internet to rural Kentucky, increasing the use of renewable energy and improving public education.
“I am running for governor because I believe I am the best candidate to help us build the modern Kentucky where all our children can realize their versions of the American dream,” Edelen said. “Where we can stop exporting the next generation to places like Nashville, Atlanta and Charlotte, and we can build opportunity here. In order to do that, we need leadership relevant to the 21st century.”
Public education was one topic among Edelen’s platforms. He said we need to build a more ambitious agenda for public education and the fight on the pension needs to be won, but fixing it is the least we can do.
“We’ve got to be talking about how to get our teachers on a path to earn at the national average, and we’ve got to be concerned at the spike of students-to-teacher ratios,” Edelen said. “Because everybody knows that students learn better when there are fewer in the classroom.”
Edelen also said Kentucky needs to embrace renewable energy to move forward in the future and to create more modern jobs.
Concerns about a variety of issues, including solar energy bills, opioid addiction, lack of healthcare and the public education system were brought to Edelen’s attention by the audience.
A member of the audience asked about Senate Bill 100 – a bill that caps renewable energy at 1 percent and has directly affected her solar panels and the ability to pay them off because of a processing fee.
Edelen said the bill is a sign that we are not open for modern economic development. If elected, he said he will appoint a public service commission with positive attitudes toward renewable energy.
Opioid addiction was another topic important to the audience.
In response, Edelen said opioid addiction is a public health emergency and there is a limited amount of space in rehabilitation facilities for those who are in dire need of it. He argued the need for alternatives to heroin-based opioids which could be medical marijuana.
Edelen also received questions about public education. An audience member said they want Edelen to confer with teachers before passing any education legislation.
To combat issues in public education, Edelen said he is committed to hiring a real teacher as his adviser on education.
The audience also brought up the lack of health care facility availability in rural communities.
Edelen said hospitals are necessary for economic development because factories and industries will not establish a workplace if there is nowhere to take injured workers.
Some students and community members said they came to the forum for insight on the candidate’s platform and solutions for problems in this area.
Tess Elder, senior from Owensboro, Kentucky, said she supports Edelen’s ideas because of his research and experience.
“It is very important for people our age to get involved… I have seen younger people in the past not have a good voter turnout,” Elder said. “With a candidate that is this invested in the future, it is very beneficial for people our age to know about.”
Leah Rullman, senior from Owensboro, Kentucky, said this event was beneficial to Murray State because it allows students to hear from a candidate that is not polarized on one side of the political spectrum and is willing to work with the opposing political party for results.
“I am definitely more interested in getting involved in his campaign… Also, he was very personable, and I felt like my voice was heard,” Rullman said.
The primary election for Democratic candidates will take place on May 21 and the gubernatorial election will take place on Nov. 5.