Forum features Thomas, Dossett for District 8 | Cadiz Record

Second Amendment

Eighth District incumbent Walker Thomas squared off against Pam Dossett, his opponent in the November general election, during a political forum for the state representative seat on Oct. 18 at The Way Christian Youth Center.

District 8 represents Caldwell County and portions of Trigg and Christian counties in the Kentucky House of Representatives.

Thomas, a Republican, told those at the forum he is honored to serve in the state House of Representatives on behalf of Trigg County.

“I am committed to y’all,” said Thomas, noting that in his six years of service he has never missed a meeting during interim or regular sessions in Frankfort and never missed a vote.

Among other things, he noted that, in the aftermath of Gov. Andy Beshear’s decision to shut church doors during the pandemic, he has already voted to keep churches open should similar circumstances arise in the future.

Thomas wants to protect gun rights and the Second Amendment and has fought to protect women’s sports. He is endorsed by Right to Life, the Chamber of Commerce, the Family Foundation, Fraternal Order of Police, U.S. Sen. Rand Paul and the National Rifle Association.

Democratic challenger Dossett, who also campaigned in 2020 for the District 8 seat, said she chose to do so because she did not feel well-represented in Frankfort; she and other educators were being attacked, Dossett said.

“Eventually, our pensions were removed,” she said, adding that “any new hire after January 2022 no longer receives a defined benefit.

“We were voted against time and time again.”

She subsequently decided to run for office, representing educators and others who she said were not being well-represented in Frankfort.

Dossett and Thomas answered several questions posed during the forum, with Dossett noting that she has three priorities for the district if she is elected state representative, i.e., education, healthcare and workforce.

Of those, Dossett said she believes workforce will be her first priority, following conversations with Trigg County residents and particularly one who said her family couldn’t afford housing.

Dossett noted she’d like to begin directing young people ages 16 to 24 into professions.

“While they are still in high school, we want to work on getting them internships, apprenticeships, certifications, a CNA, a pharmacy tech, hairdresser, car mechanic, plumber, along those lines, so we can immediately upon graduation put them into the workforce at a salary where they can afford housing, where they can afford to remain in our community,” the candidate said.

Thomas noted that, as chairman of the veterans, military affairs and public protection committee, his focus for a while has been on securing tax exemptions for military pensions, with legislators doing so by gradually “whittling down” the tax without increasing sales tax.

“We’ve done this without any sales tax raise at all,” Thomas said of state legislative efforts.

He said he wants to get military veterans to retire in local communities; most retire in Tennessee because of the income tax, he said.

When asked about addressing infrastructure needs in the district, Thomas pointed to his earlier success in getting the Pennyrile Parkway designated as Interstate 169 and said he wants to continue those efforts by getting the cloverleaf at the Martin Luther King bypass fixed and straightened out “so we can finally get that designation” as well as addressing problems with an on-ramp at Nortonville that Thomas said comes up too quick to a bridge.

Dossett noted that an area of concern for her when it comes to infrastructure needs is constant water shut-offs and boil warnings that Caldwell County has been experiencing.

Thomas pointed to one bright spot for Caldwell County; that community has recently received a $700,000 grant, he said, and $350,000 of the grant will be used to run a water line from Princeton to Fredonia, which is currently buying its water from Eddyville.

“Now they’ll have a choice where they can buy it from Princeton or Eddyville, and that should help their rates,” Thomas said. “So (we’re) helping the people down in Fredonia too.

During last week’s debate, Thomas and his opponent also addressed questions about funding for Lake Barkley in the aftermath of the pandemic and recent disasters as well as help for eastern and western Kentucky communities impacted by recent flooding and tornadoes.

They shared their views on legalizing marijuana and on sports betting in the state.

Dossett said she did not see any reason legislators would not vote in favor of sports betting for Kentucky; she noted that people in the state are gambling elsewhere, and the commonwealth is not making money on it.

Thomas said he has previously voted against historical horse racing machines in the state and prefers money should stay in people’s pockets.

“I am not for expanding gambling anymore right now,” he said. “The studies have found that, even the sports betting, the rewards to state as far as tax dollars, are minimal.”

On the issue of legalizing marijuana, Thomas said he isn’t opposed to medical marijuana but wants it to go through the right channels, going first through the Federal Drug Administration.

After attending the governor’s forum on medical marijuana, Dossett said it makes sense to legalize medical marijuana in the state.

She said she heard from people all over western Kentucky who cited evidence, sources and positive effects of using medical marijuana.

Both candidates were in favor of providing assistance for Lake Barkley and for communities in need following the tornadoes and floods.

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