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2020 Primary Election Candidates, Part Four

Renee Shaw hosts separate discussions about the 2020 Primary election with U.S. Rep. Andy Barr - Republican, Sixth Congressional District Candidate, and Todd McMurtry - Republican, Fourth Congressional District Candidate. Plus, Renee talks with Kentucky Secretary of State Michael Adams about primary election voting in a pre-recorded interview.
Season 27 Episode 24 Length 56:33 Premiere: 06/08/20

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Kentucky Tonight

KET’s Kentucky Tonight, hosted by Renee Shaw, brings together an expert panel for in-depth analysis of major issues facing the Commonwealth.

This weekly program features comprehensive discussions with lawmakers, stakeholders and policy leaders that are moderated by award-winning journalist Renee Shaw.

For nearly three decades, Kentucky Tonight has been a source for complete and balanced coverage of the most urgent and important public affairs developments in the state of Kentucky.

Often aired live, viewers are encouraged to participate by submitting questions in real-time via email, Twitter or KET’s online form. Viewers with questions and comments may send an email to kytonight@ket.org or use the contact form. All messages should include first and last name and town or county. The phone number for viewer calls during the program is 800-494-7605.

After the broadcast, Kentucky Tonight programs are available on KET.org and via podcast (iTunes or Android). Files are normally accessible within 24 hours after the television broadcast.

Kentucky Tonight was awarded a 1997 regional Emmy by the Ohio Valley Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. The series was also honored with a 1995 regional Emmy nomination.

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Renee Shaw is the Director of Public Affairs and Moderator at KET, currently serving as host of KET’s weeknight public affairs program Kentucky Edition, the signature public policy discussion series Kentucky Tonight, the weekly interview series Connections, Election coverage and KET Forums.

Since 2001, Renee has been the producing force behind KET’s legislative coverage that has been recognized by the Kentucky Associated Press and the National Educational Telecommunications Association. Under her leadership, KET has expanded its portfolio of public affairs content to include a daily news and information program, Kentucky Supreme Court coverage, townhall-style forums, and multi-platform program initiatives around issues such as opioid addiction and youth mental health.  

Renee has also earned top awards from the Ohio Valley Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (NATAS), with three regional Emmy awards. In 2023, she was inducted into the Silver Circle of the NATAS, one of the industry’s highest honors recognizing television professionals with distinguished service in broadcast journalism for 25 years or more.  

Already an inductee into the Kentucky Civil Rights Hall of Fame (2017), Renee expands her hall of fame status with induction into Western Kentucky University’s Hall of Distinguished Alumni in November of 2023.  

In February of 2023, Renee graced the front cover of Kentucky Living magazine with a centerfold story on her 25 years of service at KET and even longer commitment to public media journalism. 

In addition to honors from various educational, civic, and community organizations, Renee has earned top honors from the Associated Press and has twice been recognized by Mental Health America for her years-long dedication to examining issues of mental health and opioid addiction.  

In 2022, she was honored with Women Leading Kentucky’s Governor Martha Layne Collins Leadership Award recognizing her trailblazing path and inspiring dedication to elevating important issues across Kentucky.   

In 2018, she co-produced and moderated a 6-part series on youth mental health that was awarded first place in educational content by NETA, the National Educational Telecommunications Association. 

She has been honored by the AKA Beta Gamma Omega Chapter with a Coretta Scott King Spirit of Ivy Award; earned the state media award from the Kentucky Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution in 2019; named a Charles W. Anderson Laureate by the Kentucky Personnel Cabinet in 2019 honoring her significant contributions in addressing socio-economic issues; and was recognized as a “Kentucky Trailblazer” by the University of Kentucky Martin School of Public Policy and Administration during the Wendell H. Ford Lecture Series in 2019. That same year, Shaw was named by The Kentucky Gazette’s inaugural recognition of the 50 most notable women in Kentucky politics and government.  

Renee was bestowed the 2021 Berea College Service Award and was named “Unapologetic Woman of the Year” in 2021 by the Community Action Council.   

In 2015, she received the Green Dot Award for her coverage of domestic violence, sexual assault & human trafficking. In 2014, Renee was awarded the Anthony Lewis Media Award from the KY Department of Public Advocacy for her work on criminal justice reform. Two Kentucky governors, Republican Ernie Fletcher and Democrat Andy Beshear, have commissioned Renee as a Kentucky Colonel for noteworthy accomplishments and service to community, state, and nation.  

A former adjunct media writing professor at Georgetown College, Renee traveled to Cambodia in 2003 to help train emerging journalists on reporting on critical health issues as part of an exchange program at Western Kentucky University. And, she has enterprised stories for national media outlets, the PBS NewsHour and Public News Service.  

Shaw is a 2007 graduate of Leadership Kentucky, a board member of CASA of Lexington, and a longtime member of the Frankfort/Lexington Chapter of The Links Incorporated, an international, not-for-profit organization of women of color committed to volunteer service. She has served on the boards of the Kentucky Historical Society, Lexington Minority Business Expo, and the Board of Governors for the Ohio Valley Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. 

Host Renee Shaw smiling in a green dress with a KET set behind her.

Congressional Candidates Discuss Issues

Kentucky Tonight hosted the fourth in a series of discussions about the 2020 primary elections as Renee Shaw spoke with two candidates for Congress: incumbent Rep. Andy Barr in the 6th district and Republican challenger Todd McMurtry in the 4th district. They talked about racial injustice, policing, pandemic response, health care and more.

Congressman Andy Barr

The Republican incumbent is a Lexington native who studied government and philosophy at the University of Virginia, and law at the University of Kentucky. He worked in private practice and served as legal counsel for Gov. Ernie Fletcher. Barr is a member of the House Financial Services Committee and Veteran Affairs Committee, and co-chair of the Congressional Horse and Bourbon Caucuses.

The Republican primary also includes Chuck Eddy and Geoff Young, both of Lexington.

The 6th Congressional district comprises all or parts of 19 central and eastern Kentucky counties including Anderson, Bath, Bourbon, Clark, Estill, Fayette, Fleming, Franklin, Harrison, Jessamine, Madison, Menifee, Montgomery, Nicholas, Powell, Robertson, Scott, Wolfe, and Woodford.

Barr says his goals are the same today as when he first ran for Congress in 2012.

“The cause is still to save America from bankruptcy and to restore prosperity for the American people,” he says.

But Barr admits the American dream remains elusive for many citizens, and the federal debt continues to mount. While he often supports measures designed to curb the debt, Barr says he voted for four of the five pandemic relief bills approved by Congress this year, which totaled more than $3 trillion.

“As a fiscal conservative it was, on the one hand, painful to do that,” says Barr. “But on the other hand, I think it would’ve been even more costly to our economic recovery had we not given that lifeline to those small, mom-and-pop businesses that were built over a generation.”

As a member of the House Financial Services Committee, Barr says he made it possible for more small businesses in central Kentucky to get relief through the Paycheck Protection Program. But the Republican voted against the most recent relief proposal, the $3 trillion Heroes Act, which includes funding to help state and local governments. He says the earlier bills contain substantial aid for struggling cites, counties, and states, some of which hasn’t been disbursed yet. He contends all of that money needs to be paid out before Congress considers additional relief for those government entities.

The Congressman praises President Donald Trump’s handling of the COVID-19 crisis, and he applauds the administration for withdrawing support from the World Health Organization. He is also a member of a Congressional task force assigned to investigate China’s actions during the pandemic.

“The American people deserve answers, not only for the origins of the pandemic and the virus, but the cover-up that enabled its spread,” says Barr. “Nothing is more important than getting to the bottom of why you have over 110,000 Americans who are dead now because of this pandemic.”

On the recent protests that have erupted nationwide over acts of police brutality, Barr says the deaths of George Floyd in Minneapolis and Breonna Taylor in Louisville are “horrible tragedies” and that convictions need to be brought in those cases. He also says the voices of protesters need to be heard.

“This country has a very painful and long history of racism, and it needs to stop,” the Congressman says. “I believe that there is racism in this country in virtually, unfortunately, every institution that we have.”

Barr agrees that there needs to be greater transparency and accountability in law enforcement, but he opposes calls by some protesters and politicians to defund police departments. He says that would put people, businesses, and communities in jeopardy.

“I think what we need if anything is more training of law enforcement to make sure that these horrendous tragedies and injustices don’t occur again,” says Barr. “Under-resourced police departments is a very dangerous situation where you could actually exacerbate the problem that we saw in the case of George Floyd.”

He says the federal government could also use the “power of the purse” to direct funding to departments that implement better training and reform their policing practices.

4th District Republican Candidate Todd McMurtry

Covington trial attorney Todd McMurtry is a graduate of Centre College and the Chase College of Law at Northern Kentucky University. He worked as a paid intern for Sen. Mitch McConnell and as a fundraiser for the Republican National Committee before entering private practice. McMurtry represented Covington Catholic High School student Nick Sandmann in his 2019 libel suit against news outlets. He served two terms as a Ft. Wright city council member.

The Republican primary also includes incumbent Congressman Thomas Massie of Garrison.

Kentucky's 4th Congressional district comprises all or parts of 20 counties in northcentral and northeastern Kentucky, including Boone, Boyd, Bracken, Campbell, Carroll, Gallatin, Grant, Greenup, Harrison, Henry, Jefferson, Kenton, Lewis, Mason, Oldham, Owen, Pendleton, Trimble, Shelby, and Spencer counties.

McMurtry says he is running because he says the district deserves a representative who will be an effective advocate for constituents and work to address infrastructure needs in the region.

“I intend to be the type of person who has a seat at the table, a voice [in] the conversation that uses my skills as an advocate for my clients to be able to advocate for the people of Kentucky,” he says.

The candidate also pledges to help enact President Trump’s agenda. But McMurtry’s loyalty to the president has been called into question over Facebook posts the candidate wrote in 2017 criticizing Trump and his policies. McMurtry admits it took a while for him to realize that the president’s agenda was good for the state and nation.

“Like a lot of Kentuckians, when President Trump was first elected I was unsure if he was going to govern as a conservative,” the candidate says. “Like so many people in Kentucky, I changed my tune and now consider myself a staunch supporter of the president’s policies.”

McMutry also drew criticism for tweets he posted late last year that some people considered racist and anti-immigrant. The candidate confirms he did write the tweets in question, but he says they were taken out of context. He points out that his wife is Puerto Rican and that his three children were raised in a household where Spanish was spoken daily. The Republican says it’s part of the left’s political playbook to label someone a racist.

While he credits President Trump for his “excellent record” of working with blacks and other minority groups, McMurtry also says that racial injustice is a “massive problem” in the United States. He says Americans who are protesting inequity and police brutality have a message that needs to be heard.

“We’ve been at this for 50 years and we haven’t really solved the problem,” says McMurtry. “It’s not that long ago that we had Jim Crow laws, and we have to work through that and we have to create a society that offers equal opportunity.”

Like President Trump, McMurtry calls for a wall on the southern border and for a fair system of immigration that supports economic growth.

“Legal immigration is vitally important to our country,” he says. “We need to continue to bring in top quality people into this country.”

On health care, McMurtry says people should be able to exercise their own judgment about insurance coverage. He also wants to repeal the Affordable Care Act, implement wider use of telehealth services, and allow doctors to be licensed to practice in multiple states.

“Let the free market be the better guide of health care as compared to government regulation exemplified by Obamacare,” the candidate says.

McMurtry says he also supports the president’s right to launch military actions, arguing the United States Constitution gives the chief executive broad war powers. In January, incumbent Rep. Massie was one of only three House Republicans to vote for a resolution to limit Trump’s ability to engage military force against Iran.

Related: Kentucky Secretary of State Michael Adams provides updates on primary election voting procedures

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Season 27 Episodes

The Economic State of the State

S27 E44 Length 56:34 Premiere Date 12/14/20

Reopening Kentucky Classrooms During a Coronavirus Surge

S27 E43 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 12/07/20

COVID-19's Impact on Kentucky's Health Care System

S27 E42 Length 56:34 Premiere Date 11/23/20

Understanding the Grand Jury System

S27 E41 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 11/16/20

Analyzing the 2020 Election and State Politics

S27 E40 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 11/09/20

2020 Election Eve Preview

S27 E39 Length 56:34 Premiere Date 11/02/20

Kentucky's U.S. Senate Race

S27 E38 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 10/26/20

Legislative Leaders Preview the 2020 General Election

S27 E37 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 10/19/20

Issues Affecting Kentucky's 4th Congressional District

S27 E36 Length 26:33 Premiere Date 10/12/20

Issues Affecting Kentucky's 3rd Congressional District

S27 E35 Length 26:31 Premiere Date 10/05/20

Previewing the 2020 General Election

S27 E34 Length 56:34 Premiere Date 09/28/20

Special Education, Student Mental Health and COVID-19

S27 E33 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 09/21/20

Challenges and Benefits of Remote Learning in Kentucky

S27 E32 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 09/14/20

The Impact of COVID-19 on Kentucky's Tourism Industry

S27 E31 Length 56:36 Premiere Date 08/03/20

COVID-19's Impact on Higher Education in Kentucky

S27 E30 Length 56:35 Premiere Date 07/27/20

Reopening Kentucky's Schools

S27 E29 Length 56:36 Premiere Date 07/20/20

Racial Disparities in K-12 Public Education

S27 E28 Length 56:27 Premiere Date 07/13/20

Police Reform Issues

S27 E27 Length 56:36 Premiere Date 06/29/20

Previewing the 2020 Primary Election

S27 E26 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 06/22/20

Kentucky Tonight: State of Unrest

S27 E25 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 06/15/20

2020 Primary Election Candidates, Part Four

S27 E24 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 06/08/20

2020 Primary Election Candidates, Part Three

S27 E22 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 06/01/20

2020 Primary Election Candidates, Part Two

S27 E21 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 06/01/20

2020 Primary Election Candidates, Part One

S27 E20 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 05/27/20

Reopening Rules for Restaurants and Retail

S27 E19 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 05/18/20

Debating Steps to Restart Kentucky's Economy

S27 E18 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 05/11/20

COVID-19's Impact on Primary Voting and Local Governments

S27 E17 Length 56:34 Premiere Date 05/04/20

Reopening Kentucky's Economy

S27 E16 Length 56:36 Premiere Date 04/27/20

Wrapping Up the General Assembly and a COVID-19 Update

S27 E14 Length 56:36 Premiere Date 04/13/20

Health, Legal and Voting Issues During the COVID-19 Outbreak

S27 E12 Length 57:23 Premiere Date 03/30/20

Kentucky's Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic

S27 E11 Length 58:03 Premiere Date 03/23/20

Finding Agreement on State Budget Issues

S27 E10 Length 56:34 Premiere Date 03/16/20

Election and Voting Legislation

S27 E9 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 03/09/20

State Budget

S27 E8 Length 56:36 Premiere Date 02/24/20

Debating State Budget Priorities

S27 E7 Length 56:34 Premiere Date 02/17/20

Medical Marijuana

S27 E6 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 02/10/20

Sports Betting Legislation

S27 E5 Length 56:36 Premiere Date 02/03/20

2020 Kentucky General Assembly

S27 E2 Length 56:37 Premiere Date 01/13/20

2020 Kentucky General Assembly

S27 E1 Length 56:34 Premiere Date 01/06/20

See All Episodes

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Early Childhood Education - S30 E42

Renee Shaw and guests discuss early childhood education. Scheduled guests: State Senator Danny Carroll (R-Benton), chair of the Senate Families and Children Committee and sponsor of the Horizons Act, SB 203, that addresses the child-care industry needs in Kentucky; State Senator Cassie Chambers Armstrong (D-Louisville), member of the Senate Families and Children Committee; Sarah Vanover, Ed.D., author of America's Child-Care Crisis: Rethinking an Essential Business, and policy and research director for Kentucky Youth Advocates; Kate Shanks, vice president of public affairs at the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce; Brigitte Blom, president & CEO of the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence; and Andrew McNeill, president of Kentucky Forum for Rights, Economics & Education (KYFREE). A 2024 KET production.

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Abortion Legislation - S30 E41

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School Choice & Education Issues - S30 E40

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The State Budget - S30 E39

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Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) at Kentucky Colleges & Universities - S30 E38

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Safer Kentucky Act - S30 E37

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