Republican state rep candidates speak at political forum

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Primary winner will face incumbent in November

By Linda Ireland

A pair of conservative Republicans spoke at the April 20 candidate forum sponsored by Kentucky Farm Bureau and LaRue County Chamber of Commerce.

Craig Astor, a Realtor, airplane mechanic and small business owner in Hodgenville, and Michael Lee Meredith, a member of Brownsville City Council and marketing officer for Bank of Edmonson County, agreed on most issues.

In introductory statements, Astor said he’d like to be a “voice of reason” in Frankfort. Meredith said he “shares conservative beliefs” such as right to bear arms and sanctity of marriage.

Astor said there are some issues he will not compromise on – such as the rights of the unborn child. However, he sees the necessity of working together with Democrats “to move things along” in the state.

Today’s problems are the result of “80 years moving away from sound basic government,” he said.

He prefers to see “belt-tightening” on budgetary issues rather than raising taxes.

Meredith said Frankfort should concentrate on long-term projects and investments rather than short-term and cut fraud, waste and abuse of funds.

He is disappointed that legislators left Frankfort without a budget. They will have to return in a special session. One way to eliminate this problem, he said, is for legislators to “fund their time in special sessions themselves.”

Both acknowledged that the budget takes time and needs to be “right.”

Both said they would represent the entire 19th District – LaRue, Hart and Edmonson counties – and not focus only on their home counties.

In closing, Meredith said he plans to hold town hall meetings and work with community leaders, if elected.

Astor described his efforts in a children’s ministry and said he wants to continue to be a public servant for his community.

The two face off in the May 18 primary. The winner faces Democratic incumbent Dottie Sims in the fall. She was invited to the forum, according to organizers, but did not attend.