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Hicks visits Winchester in final stretch

Democrat says Barr ads distort his stance on abortion

Thousands of Clark Countians have already voted, but candidates for Congress are still running hard to attract those who have yet to mail in their ballots or go to the polls.

Late Sunday afternoon, Josh Hicks, the Democratic candidate for the 6th District U.S. House seat, met with about 12 to 15 voters on Main Street in front of the Clark County Courthouse in a small, socially distanced event.

The Republican incumbent, Andy Barr, also was in Clark County this weekend, but did not contact The Sun about his visit beforehand.

In an interview, Hicks accused Barr’s campaign of airing negative, misleading ads distorting his stance on issues.

Some of the Barr ads have accused Hicks of supporting a right to abortion almost up until the moment of birth, and favoring a “socialist” approach to health insurance reform.

Hicks has said he is open to restrictions on late-term abortion and favors strengthening the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, a market-based approach to mostly private insurance also known as Obamacare.

“That’s an absolute lie,” Hicks said of the ads about his position on abortion. “I’m on record as saying I’m fine with some regulations and … some restrictions if you’ve got a child that can survive outside the womb,” Hicks said.

He also dismissed the notion that he is a “socialist.”

“I was a registered Republican for many years. I’m definitely not a socialist,” Hicks said. I’m the only one in this race that owns and operates my own small business and makes my own payroll and makes sure my own employees have health insurance.”

Hicks said Barr is “scared to death” because he doesn’t have a record of his own to run on,” and has voted in favor of “huge corporations” and “big pharmaceutical companies.”

“I see the terrible effects it has on folks here with the opioid epidemic ravaging our communities, rural broadband being nonexistent” and “folks in health care who have been struggling for a long time and are going to continue to struggle.”

He mentioned Barr has been “trying to take away their health care” while the U.S. is seeing 100,000 new coronavirus infections each day and a quarter million people have died of COVID-19.

Barr and Hicks were both guests on WKYT-TV’s “Kentucky Newsmakers” show Sunday, and Barr said he is working on opioid addiction treatment and rural broadband, has worked to get personal protective equipment for hospital workers and helped create the Payroll Protection Act to provide forgivable loans to small businesses if they use the money to keep workers employed. Barr has, however, voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act enacted in 2010.

Polls have shown Hicks running behind Barr, who has represented the 6th District since 2013 after he unseated Democratic incumbent Ben Chandler.

Barr is a lawyer who worked in Republican Gov. Ernie Fletcher’s administration before serving in Congress.

Hicks is a lawyer in private practice who put himself through law school while working as a police officer for the city of Maysville. He is also a former ironworker and rigger and served four years in the Marines, where he was a radio operator and sergeant.

Asked what he sees as a path to winning election in a district that has trended Republican for eight years, Hicks said: “We have gone after every single voter who feels disaffected, who doesn’t feel represented in Washington, D.C.,” from his home county of Fleming to Anderson County in the westernmost part of the district, he said.

Hicks was also in Winchester a week ago with Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Amy McGrath.

About Randy Patrick

Randy Patrick is a reporter for Bluegrass Newsmedia, which includes The Jessamine Journal. He may be reached at 859-759-0015 or by email at randy.patrick@bluegrassnewsmedia.com.

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