HAZARD — Eastern Kentucky native and Democratic candidate for senate, Jeff Kender, spoke to The Hazard Herald during a phone interview on Jan. 7 about his campaign and what makes him different than incumbent Rand Paul. He told The Herald that he was for the common man and against lobbyists in Washington. He filed for his candidacy on Dec. 7. This is his first time running for public office.
“Basically, I just got fed up. I just want the people of Kentucky to know I want to represent them and put the people’s voice back in Washington…. I watched as the bureaucrats in Washington, the people that we elect to take care of us, instead they serve their millionaires and billionaires that fund their campaign. It seems like they put Wall Street ahead of Main Street,” said Kender.
Kender feels like the current members of Congress are out of touch with the American people, especially the citizens of Kentucky.
“The rich are getting richer, while the poor are getting poorer. For instance, the average income has dropped $4,000 since 1999,” said Kender.
Despite all of the problems that Kentucky and the United States is facing, Kender still believes in the American dream.
“I still believe in the dream. No matter what you are raised, religion, or social status is, we are all created equal in God’s image,” said Kender.
He also believes that the United States should put itself first, and take care of problems that affect the nation before lending aid to other countries.
One of the main themes of Kender’s campaign is that he is a common man. He prides himself on that fact. His family comes from a line of coal miners, and Kender himself works at a Kellogg’s plant. His family’s history in the coal mining business has made him a pro coal candidate. He is also pro union.
“I’m a common man. I wasn’t born with a silver spoon in my mouth. I know what it is like to live in the real world, I’ve been there and I’m still living in it,” said Kender.
Kender’s campaign feels the economy is one of the most important topics within Kentucky. With so many people out of work, Kender feels that lifting the ban on hemp could help produce jobs from that industry.
“We can make over 2,500 things with hemp,” said Kender.
Some of the other issues that Kender supports is: overturning Citizens United, close tax loop holes for the rich, protect Social Security and Medicaid, invest in infrastructure, decriminalization of Cannabis, supports medical marijuana, treatment centers instead of incarnation for non-violent drug offenders, body cameras for Police, increasing the minimum wage to $10, fight wasteful spending, defeat terrorism, strong border and port security, strong military, immigration by need, pro gun and he supports two term limits for senators and congressmen.
While Kender feels that him and Sen. Rand Paul share similar political beliefs concerning the second amendment, the use of coal, there are key differences between them.
“The biggest difference is that we have is that he wants to raise the retirement age, cut Social Security and Medicare and he wants to lower taxes even more for the rich…. I feel like I am more about freedom than Rand Paul is. I feel that Rand Paul goes by what his millionaire campaign donors wants him to do, basically,” said Kender.
Kender had this to say for the voters of Hazard, “I’m a common man, fighting for the common good and I’m wanting to give them a screaming voice in Washington… I’m going to fight like hell to win.”
TJ Caudill can be reached at 606-629-3245 or on Twitter @HazardHerald.