Rising energy costs, health care and employment are main concerns on the minds of millions of Americans this upcoming election. They are also issues that hit close to home for South Central Kentuckians.
Republican incumbent Rep. Ed Whitfield and democrat Tom Barlow are running for Kentucky's 1st Congressional District seat. Kentucky's 1st Congressional District is the largest in the state and domestic issues are vitally important for residents across this 34 county area.
Both Whitfield and Barlow said employment is one of their main domestic issues of this election term, but they see Kentucky's employment status from two different views.
Whitfield said 15 foreign companies have put plants in the 1st District and attributes Kentucky's quality of life and tremendous workforce training program for this economic development, but Barlow said there is a lack of technical education in Kentucky.
Health care is another major concern on the minds of Kentuckians.
Both candidates said they are aware of the more than 500,000 Kentuckians without insurance and plan to change this staggering statistic.
Barlow said a productive bi-partisan effort is needed for improvements. While Whitfield said important strides have already been made as far as medicare and medicaid go, but efforts need to be focused on those who fall in the cracks.
Even though prices at the pump may be relatively low right now energy remains a concern for Kentuckians and a hot topic of debate for these candidates. Barlow said democrats are the reason for the recent reduction in gas prices, but Whitfield attributes the sudden downward trend to recently passed legislation. Whitfield also said although there remains a lot to be done progress has been made.
Both candidates agree looking for alternative fuel sources is the best way to combat the nation's dependence on foreign fuel, and they both also say securing bio-diesel production plants will ensure farmers agricultural productivity.