Gubernatorial candidate Williams speaks to students

Elizabeth Beilman

Sen. David L. Williams, president of the senate of Kentucky, told a political science class Friday in the Grise Hall Auditorium that the most difficult question he’s ever been asked was why a Kentuckian has made the right choice to stay in the state.

“If, 10 years from now, you come back and sit in this room here, I would be charged with asking you, where do you live now?” Williams said. “Unfortunately, I’m afraid most of you will not live in Kentucky.”

He said this will most likely be because economic opportunities will be greater elsewhere, a problem which must be solved.

Williams was the third in a series of gubernatorial candidates speaking to a political science class taught by Scott Lasley and Joel Turner, professors of political science.

The other two have been Republican candidates Phil Moffett and Bobbie Holsclaw.

Lasley and Turner have invited Beshear to speak, but he has not yet responded to the request.

“He still has a couple days to change his mind,” Lasley said.

Lasley hopes to have Independent candidate Gatewood Galbraith speak next semester.

Williams, a Burkesville native, has been in the state senate for more than 25 years and is running for governor this November.

“That’s the choice many of you are going to be making in a few years,” he said. “Are we going to change or are we going to be undecided as to where our future is?”

Lexington freshman Hannah Black, a student in the class, said she plans on staying in Kentucky after she graduates, but only if job opportunities allow her to do so.

“I do agree what he said about taxes pushing corporations and people out of Kentucky, and that does need to be resolved,” Black said. “I prefer to stay in Kentucky because it’s where I’m from.”

Williams said that in order to become competitive as a state, Kentucky must change its tax structure.

He proposed creating a commission of experts to redraw the tax code “from top to bottom — not just the state code, but the local codes.”

He said the commission should make Kentucky a lower tax state and move toward consumption taxes and away from corporate or business taxes.

This will allow the state to grow and retain jobs, he said.

“The most important thing a government does is create an atmosphere where jobs can be created,” Williams said.

He said Gov. Steve Beshear has failed to change the economic status of the state.

“Even the most ardent Democrat in the state of Kentucky has asked, ‘What has the governor accomplished?’” Williams said. “He has no agenda. And without a vision, the people will perish.”

Williams also spoke about the shifting ideologies in both the state and the country.

“Party registration is not as important as philosophical representation,” he said. “The vast majority of people are not identifying as party but by philosophy.

“We think in the future that more young people will register independent or think independent.”

One manifestation of this is the tea party movement because this group does not necessarily identify as either Democrat or Republican, he said.

“This is a situation we find ourselves in politically not only in Kentucky, but in the country,” he said.

Independent groups such as the Tea Party are angry about certain aspects of the federal government, he said.

“They try to translate that anger about the federal government to the state government,” Williams said.