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Next Tuesday's Primary features four candidates in the sixth district congressional race

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Voters will narrow the Republican and Democratic fields in the sixth district congressional race by two next Tuesday.

The Republican side of the Primary ledger pits incumbent Andy Barr against Lexington businessman Derek Petteys. The 50-year-old challenger says that, too often, what he terms career politicians let constituents down.

“They have uncomfortable associations with financial donors whether it be Wall Street, big pharma, big tech. And they become more distant with the working men and women who elected them,” said Petteys.

If elected, Petteys said he would commit to serving a maximum of eight years. Describing himself as a conservative Republican, Petteys says out-of-control spending needs attention. He believes too much federal COVID recovery money was allocated.

On the issue of abortion, Petteys supports overturning Roe V Wade and sending the issue back to individual states.

“There will be states who will be ok with having that legalized and, that bothers me but, there are some people who will go to those states for their elected procedures. Kentucky is not one of them,” said Petteys.

Petteys noted his spiritual beliefs emphasize the importance of good stewardship of the earth. So, the GOP candidate said protecting the environment should be a priority.

“I think responsibly allowing the free market to evolve from fossil fuels into perhaps electrical vehicles, solar power. I think that’s good, but I don’t think the federal government or any level of government truly needs to be subsidizing, substantially subsidizing these,” said Petteys.

Lexington Attorney Andy Barr is seeking a sixth two-year term in Washington. He said there are a few reasons why he wants to return to Capitol Hill.

“Fighting inflation, restoring sound money, securing our border. Fighting the Biden administration’s open border policies that have given us the worst illegal immigration crisis in American history,” said Barr.

As far as priorities, the 46-year-old representative points to his legislative proposal to close a loophole in sanctions against Russian banks. Currently, the Russian government can still conduct transactions tied to energy.

On the issue of abortion, in a statement, Barr said Roe V Wade was wrongly decided. Quote, “Regardless of one’s personal views on whether and under what circumstances there should be a ‘right to abortion,’ nowhere in the text of the federal Constitution is such a purported right stated or even implied, as the text was originally understood.

Barr said he’s co-sponsored a term-limit amendment in each of his five terms. But the central Kentucky congressman says he’s found career bureaucrats in the executive branch to be an issue. Barr noted voters should not overlook congressional experience.

“Small states like Kentucky benefit from tenure. We benefit from a Hal Rogers and a Mitch McConnell. They would never be in the position of leadership that they are in, but for the fact that they were there,” said Barr.

On the night he won his first congressional race, Barr said then he favored a 12-year term limit. Barr says his commitment was to co-sponsor term limit legislation. The Lexington lawmaker doesn’t see the Washington political climate as adversely affecting him.

“We don’t approach the job any differently. We’re focused on doing the job we were elected to do, advocate for the people of our district, focus on the issues that matter to them,” said Barr.

Barr added that’s why he’s a champion of signature industries of the district like bourbon, auto-manufacturing, horse racing, and the energy sector.

On the Democratic side of the race, 65-year-old retired state environmental engineer Geoff Young is making his eighth run for political office. This is his fifth attempt at a congressional seat plus two runs for governor and one race for the Kentucky House.

Young’s campaign material lists him as the “peace candidate,” something the Lexington man calls the mission of his life. He said he read Gandhi’s autobiography as a teenager.

“And was inspired by his non-violent strategy for achieving the independence of India from the British empire and I followed that interest from then until now,” said Young.

A priority in every political campaign Young has entered is to greatly reduce the U.S. military. He said, quote, “the world is sick and tired of being dominated.”

“My main goal in running for Congress is to save the Republic and let the empire go. The world does not need the U.S. military empire,” said Young.

Young said he favors bringing troops home and cutting the military budget by 70%. The congressional challenger noted economic conditions could deteriorate and result in a much smaller military.

Young spent more than a decade in the state energy cabinet and he’s a proponent of solar, wind, hydro, and biomass sources of energy.

“I still believe that it’s a good way, it’s a good strategy to meet our energy needs going forward. Primarily reduce energy waste and then bring in renewables,” said Young.

In addition to running for political office multiple times, Young has also litigated ballot challenges in several races. He’s argued, unsuccessfully, that the political party backing process is unfair. Young says seven cases have gone to the U.S. Supreme Court. None have been heard.

Chris Preece, a Berea high school science teacher, is also seeking the Democratic nomination in the sixth district congressional race. The 36-year-old says he wasn’t planning on running for political office until the January sixth 2021 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol occurred.

“That shocked me to realize just how divided we are and how harmful some of that division and split in our media really is,” said Preece.

Preece said his campaign is grassroots. The eastern Kentucky native noted he’s putting himself out in the campaign to try to represent people.

One area of interest for Preece is healthcare reform. He added some of his concern comes from issues his diabetic father has faced.

“We have to get it to where it’s prices that we can pay. And I think a large part of that is our government, at the very least our government has to be able to negotiate bulk pricing to get the cost down on goods and services, medications and things,” said Preece.

On the economic front, Preece said COVID has had its impact along with supply chain issues. But, the democratic candidate believes some corporations are still highly profit-oriented.

“And so, this isn’t as much an issue of they’re having to increase prices because the cost of wages to pay workers or the cost of materials. It is more in line with they want more profit for themselves,” said Preece.

Preece, who said his interest in politics goes back to watching presidential debates with his grandfather, realizes what a first-time candidate is up against. He said campaign filing reports show nine out of every ten dollars go to an incumbent.

Look for a report Thursday on the Fayette County Attorney's race.

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