Hendricks, Mayfield face off for state rep
Published 11:40 am Monday, October 24, 2016
John M. Hendricks, the son of Mary Beth Flynn Hendricks and the late John C. Hendricks, was born and raised in rural Clark County.
He grew up working on a family farm and understands the values of hard work, effective leadership and real service. After graduating from George Rogers Clark High School, he attended Georgetown College and the University of Kentucky College of Law, where he graduated with honors. During the summers, he and his family started Beech Springs Farm Market.
Hendricks currently serves as an Assistant Clark County Attorney, prosecuting misdemeanor crimes, juvenile offenses and dependency, neglect and abuse cases in addition to advising county government.
Hendricks is also a partner in the law firm of Grant, Rose and Pumphrey.
He serves as a member of the Juvenile Substance Abuse Program and the Family Accountability Intervention and Response Team. He also serves as a director of the Winchester YMCA and is first vice-president of the Boonesboro Lions Club.
He is married to Megan Parker Hendricks.
Donna Mayfield was born in Lexington, where she graduated from Bryan Station High School, and attended Lexington Community College.
She worked as a legal stenographer at the U.S. Attorney’s Office and then worked at the U.S. Marshals Service in Lexington for 26 years. She retired as administrative officer and was responsible for financial management, procurement, contracting and supervision of the administrative staff.
Mayfield worked for the Clark County Sheriff’s Department from 2007-10.
She was elected as state representative for the 73d District in November 2010, winning re-election in 2012 and 2014.
She is a member of the Winchester-Clark County Chamber of Commerce, the Richmond-Madison County Chamber of Commerce, and a member of Calvary Christian Church. She is married to Robert Mayfield and has one daughter, Emily.
Heading into the election, the Democratic Party holds the majority in the Kentucky House of Representatives, but that stands to change depending on the results of the Nov. 8 election. What do you think it could mean for the House if the Republican Party were to gain the majority? What would it mean if the Democratic Party maintains that majority?
JH: The issues to me are not about Republican or Democrat but about what is best for Clark County. As state representative, I will work tirelessly for the people of Clark County. I do believe that it is important that we have someone willing to hold Gov. Matt Bevin accountable and act to ensure actions taken by the state are prudent and lawful.
I think it is important to have some balance in Frankfort. We do not need someone who will merely be a rubber stamp for Bevin. I intend to always put the interests of the 73rd District before partisan politics.
What I think is really important is to ensure that we have a state representative who is working for us, instead of worrying about election results in eastern or western Kentucky. Whether the majority in the House of Representatives is Republican or Democrat does not change the challenges that we are facing in Clark County. My concerns are ensuring that we have more good paying jobs, that we expand infrastructure to attract industry, that we make sure our children are safe and we address the drug epidemic destroying families. These problems and solutions do not change based on who holds the majority in Frankfort.
DM: Should the Republican Party gain control of the Kentucky House of Representatives, I believe it would dramatically improve the well being of the Commonwealth. Kentucky, unfortunately, has been ranked too low for far too long in many different categories when compared to other states. This includes education, health issues, employment, and most recently, ranked 50th in state pension systems. The Democratic-led House, under control of Greg Stumbo, is hindering progress by refusing to permit new ways of doing business, including blocking transparency, and open discussion from both parties. The current House also stifles any legislation proposed by conservative members for political reasons, and Kentucky misses out on the benefits of new ideas relating to job development, tax reform, healthcare improvement and other important initiatives. After having control of the House for 95 years, I believe Kentucky could benefit from a change in leadership, methods and ideas utilized by Greg Stumbo and his Democratic leadership.
What is your perception of bipartisan relationships in the Kentucky House of Representatives, and how do you intend to work with the other party if elected?
JH: Frankly, I think that Frankfort has become dysfunctional due to partisan politics. Unfortunately, I think the problem has gotten worse over my opponent’s last three terms in Frankfort, as we have seen more attempts to divide people instead of finding real solutions.
As state representative, I will work in a bipartisan fashion to work for the people of the 73rd District. As an Assistant County Attorney, I have experience working with people from all walks of life to better our community. After five rounds of budget cuts, we lost funding for our local Juvenile Drug Court Program. Instead of blaming Frankfort or just giving up, I had the opportunity to work with our judges, social workers, mental health providers and public defenders to develop our own local Juvenile Substance Abuse Program.
This is the kind of cooperation we need in Frankfort. Instead of merely saying no or giving up, we must have elected leaders who are willing to work with everyone to get things done and help the community. I work with people, not a political party, to find solutions.
DM: Make no mistake about it — the Kentucky House of Representatives is absolutely politically driven and there is rarely any bi-partisan activity. Speaker Stumbo controls the House by having his people chair each legislative committee, thereby having absolute control over what bills are heard in committee and sent to the floor for voting. This way of doing business is a disservice to forty seven percent of our citizens. I refuse to accept this method of legislating. This past session, I stepped “across the aisle” and partnered with Chairman of Health and Welfare Committee Tom Burch and amended the Infant Safe Haven bill with my ideas and his. We collaborated on the bill and passed it out of the House. I presented the bill to the Senate, where it passed. The Governor signed our bill and it is now law. Chairman Burch and I worked together, so it can be done and I am always to willing to work with all members of the House.
With about $35 billion owed to retirees, Kentucky has one of the most underfunded pension systems in the nation, according to a report of the Pew Charitable Trust. What are your plans to address this pension backlog and funding deficits?
JH: Unfortunately, at this point Kentucky’s pension deficit is three and a half times the state’s annual tax revenue. We have the worst funded pension system in the nation. The pension crisis did not develop overnight and we will not be able to fix the problem tomorrow. It is unfortunate that this problem was not addressed sooner and the truth is that both political parties are to blame for the crisis. Both the Republican controlled Senate and the Democrat controlled House failed to show up and do their job on this issue.
To fix our pension system, three things are critical: Increased transparency in the retirement system and in how investments are made; Better Investments — we have to stop using hedge funds and placement agents which increase fees but have delivered poor investment returns; A long term commitment to provide the actuarially recommended contribution (ARC).
The next few years are critical for Kentucky’s pension system and the Commonwealth’s financial health. At this point, the Kentucky Employee Retirement System only has 17 percent of the funding needed. Every dollar we spend fixing the pension system is a dollar that cannot be used for our schools, roads or our community. The pension crisis requires real, immediate leadership.
DM: Due to poor management and oversight, Kentucky’s pension system faces a $35.2 billion pension liability. This deficit has worsened due to costly and inept investment strategies and this is inexcusable and fixing the pension system is the biggest challenge facing our Commonwealth. In the biennial budget passed this April, Governor Bevin put $1 billion into our pension funds and made the largest single investment in pensions for teachers and state employees in the state’s history. It is the first time that a budget included a permanent pension fund for paying down our pension obligations, and it is imperative that we continue to make this our first priority in executing all future budgets.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services earlier this month permitted Gov. Matt Bevin to dismantle kynect, Kentucky’s healthcare exchange. Do you agree with the governor’s decision to transition to the federal exchange? If not, what healthcare exchange process would be most beneficial for Kentuckians?
JH: I believe that dismantling Kynect was a bad move. While I believe that the Affordable Care Act is an imperfect piece of legislation, we should try to control as many decisions as we can on a local level. Dismantling Kynect ended a state-controlled website which has been described as a national model. Instead, we are now at the mercy of the federal government and are forced to use a federal website that has numerous reliability issues. Even more troubling is the fact that Kynect was cheaper to use than switching to the federal exchange. By dismantling Kynect, we are only increasing the cost of insurance in the Commonwealth.
In this situation I actually agree with Sen. Ralph Alvarado’s proposal regarding attempting to market Kynect to other states. Kynect has been a national model for how a healthcare exchange website should operate and we should use this success to benefit the citizens of the Commonwealth. Kentucky consistently ranks as one of the worst states in regards to health. We need to take every available measure to ensure that we have healthy citizens and emphasize preventive care, over more expensive emergency treatment.
DM: I absolutely do agree with the Governor’s decision to dismantle Kynect and transition to the federal exchange. There is much confusion about the new healthcare system, but KYnect was simply a conduit to assist customers with moving them through the selection and enrollment process. The federal exchange does the same task, and Kentucky doesn’t have to pay extra to maintain it, as we did with Kynect.
What are the greatest challenges facing Clark County in the next two years? How are you uniquely qualified to address these challenges?
JH: Clark County faces a number of serious challenges in the next two years — one-in-five of our children live in poverty, there are not enough good paying jobs in the community, we are looking at the potential for little or negative population growth, and we have a serious drug epidemic that is devastating the community.
As a prosecutor and small business owner, I have the experience and knowledge we need in Frankfort. I am not a career politician but have spent my life showing up and working for the citizens of Clark County. I have seen first-hand the issues that we need to address to counteract the drug epidemic attacking Kentucky. We need more treatment and we must give our law enforcement the necessary tools as they go after the drug traffickers. On my farm and in my business I know what it is to make payroll and manage employees, and I understand the tools needed from a quality workforce. Most of all, I am the product of a first-class Kentucky public school education and understand that supporting our public schools, community engagement and workforce development help raise children up and break the generational cycle of poverty. A quality, well-educated workforce brings in better jobs, more restaurants and grows our community the right way.
DM: I believe the biggest challenges facing Clark County in the next two years are jobs and the economy, and the explosion of drug abuse that has become rampant in our society. I believe that I am uniquely qualified to address these issues due to my current position as State Representative. As State Representative, I have had countless conversations with experts in job development and heard their goals and struggles in opening new avenues of employment in Kentucky. I have also heard hours of Education Committee testimony discussing career-ready programs for students, as well as similar programs being implemented for veterans. I have had many discussions and read many presentations on the drug epidemic and how it is so widespread as it envelopes our citizens. Having worked in law enforcement for many years, I have a wealth of knowledge on the problems associated with drug abuse. I continue to pay close attention to both of these issues, as I believe they both play a large role in the lives of the citizens of the 73d District and the entire Commonwealth.