Gubernatorial candidate Adam Edelen visits Bowling Green for town hall

Before a town hall meeting Friday in Bowling Green, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Adam Edelen met with the Herald to discuss his main goals for the state.

Through his campaign, Edelen is hosting several town hall meetings or “Ask Adams,” across the state to speak with communities and take questions. He said he is the first candidate who is also hearing questions over Reddit. 

“I’m passionate about opportunity for all people,” he said.

Edelen said his campaign is unique because it takes no money from political action committees and has spent a lot of time engaging the younger generation of Kentucky.

As former state auditor, Edelen said he has worked to eliminate inefficiency and corruption. He cited an investigation into Jefferson County Public Schools and said he created a path of moving money out of administration and into the hands of teachers for K-12.

As tuition continues to rise for Kentucky public universities, he said tuition can no longer be paid with a minimum wage job, which pushes away students in the middle and working class and limits their options. Additionally he said limiting the ability to fully develop a workforce in a time which demands a skilled workforce is hurtful to the state economy.

“The status quo is an immoral, economic suicide note,” Edelen said.

Currently he said politicians are more focused on keeping low taxes, while allowing tuition to skyrocket. He said he believes enough Kentucky families have been impacted by the costs and inaccessibility of higher education, and may be understanding of higher taxes, provided they know where the money is being directed.

“Skyrocketing tuition is the worst kind of tax because it is a tax on hope, and it’s a tax on future development,“ he said.

Within the United States, Edelen said Kentucky and South Carolina are the only states which have not returned higher education funding to pre-recession levels. In recruiting new and modern talent to the state, he said this is a bad image. He explained people want to know the state has an emphasis on the future and higher education.

“Kentuckians are now learning you can’t educate people on the cheap,” he said.

Edelen reiterated one of his campaign’s focuses to create renewable energy for Kentucky by mentioning his previous work within his private business. Edelen previously partnered with Berkeley Energy Group and EDF Renewable Energy to create the largest solar project in the Appalachian region. The project, which will be constructed on a 1000-acre mountaintop removal site in Pike County will hold 600,000 solar panels and will generate 100 megawatts of renewable energy.

“You cannot be relevant as a state or economy to the opportunities of the 21st century if you don’t include renewables as part of your overall energy portfolio,” Edelen said. “Including renewables…is going to be a source of extraordinary importance to be relevant to recruitment in our state, and also to having existing companies and entrepreneurs further develop.”  

He also said that the Pike County project will create work opportunities for out of work coal miners in the region.

“This is important that we shoot people straight,” Edelen said. “Renewable energy is not just here to stay, it’s here to grow exponentially, and Kentucky has to embrace this the way Texas has.”