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Candidates for U.S. House of Representatives: Part One

Renee Shaw discusses issues in Kentucky's 1st Congressional District with Rep. James Comer, Republican nominee. Next, a discussion of issues in Kentucky’s 2nd Congressional District with Hank Linderman, Democratic nominee. Then, a discussion of issues in Kentucky's 3rd Congressional District with Morgan McGarvey, Democratic nominee and Stuart Ray, Republican nominee.
Season 29 Episode 35 Length 56:33 Premiere: 10/10/22


Kentucky Tonight

KET’s Kentucky Tonight, hosted by Renee Shaw, brings together an expert panel for in-depth analysis on 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. Often aired live, viewers are encouraged to participate by submitting questions real-time via email, Twitter or KET’s online form.
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.

Viewers with questions and comments may send e-mail to 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 1-800-494-7605.

After broadcast, Kentucky Tonight programs are available on 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 Moderator and Director of Public Affairs for Kentucky Educational Television, currently serving as host of KET’s Kentucky Tonight, Connections, election coverage, Legislative Update and KET Forums.

Since joining KET in 1997, Shaw has produced numerous KET public affairs series and specials, including KET’s nationally recognized legislative coverage. Under her leadership, KET has expanded its portfolio of public affairs content to include Kentucky Supreme Court coverage, town hall-style forums, and multi-platform program initiatives around issues such as opioid addiction and youth mental health.  

As an award-winning journalist, Shaw has earned top awards from the Ohio Valley Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, earning two regional Emmy awards, and an award from the Kentucky Associated Press for political coverage of the state legislature. She was inducted into the Kentucky Civil Rights Hall of Fame in 2017. 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; earned the Anthony Lewis Media Award from the Kentucky Department of Public Advocacy for her work on criminal justice reform in 2014; and, in 2015, received the Green Dot Award for her coverage of domestic violence, sexual assault and human trafficking.  

In 2018, KET earned a national media award from Mental Health America for its multi-dimensional content on the opioid epidemic shepherded by Shaw. That same year, she co-produced and moderated a six-part series on youth mental health that was awarded first place in educational content by NETA, the National Educational Telecommunications Association. In 2019, Shaw was recognized by The Kentucky Gazette as one of the 50 most notable women in Kentucky politics and government. In addition, Renee was awarded the Charles W. Anderson Laureate Award by the Kentucky Personnel Cabinet which recognizes individuals who have made significant contributions in addressing socio-economic issues.

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

Candidates from Kentucky's 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Districts Discuss Domestic and Foreign Policy Issues

Kentucky Tonight hosted the second in a series of discussions about the 2022 midterm elections as Renee Shaw spoke with candidates running for the U.S. House of Representatives in the state’s 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Congressional districts.

James Comer, 1st District Republican

James Comer is a native of Monroe County and a graduate of Western Kentucky University. In addition to running his family’s farming operation, Comer served 11 years as a state representative and four years as Kentucky’s Commissioner of Agriculture. In 2015, he made an unsuccessful bid for governor, and then was elected to Congress in 2016.

Democratic challenger Jimmy Ausbrooks, a mental health counselor from Franklin, did not meet KET’s criteria for participating in the program.

As ranking member of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, Comer is poised to chair that panel should Republicans win control of Congress this fall. He says under his leadership, the committee, which has subpoena power, will focus on investigating national security threats as well as waste and fraud in government spending. He plans to examine security problems on the U.S.-Mexico border, the origins of COVID-19, and the actions of President Joe Biden’s brothers and his son, Hunter.

“We’re going to hold some very high-profile Biden-family influence-peddling investigations,” says Comer. “There’s some very serious crimes here and we’re certainly going to get to the bottom of it because I don’t believe the Federal Bureau of Investigation or the Department of Justice have been serious about trying to investigate this and hold anyone accountable.”

Comer says he wants to look into allegations Hunter and Jim Biden have acted as unregistered federal agents lobbying for foreign governments such as China, Russia, and Ukraine. He says he has whistleblowers poised to testify under oath about how family members allegedly profited from the Biden family name.

The Congressman says the committee will not investigate actions surrounding former President Donald Trump’s handling of government documents, or the Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. Comer says he was the only member of the Kentucky delegation on the House floor as rioters stormed the building. He describes the incident as a “rally that got out of hand.”

“It was a very traumatic experience,” says Comer. “It was a sad day in the history of America, and it should never happen again.”

The Republican contends “there were problems” with the 2020 presidential election, pointing to how states loosened absentee balloting laws to accommodate voters during the pandemic. He argues that those changes benefitted the Biden campaign, but he adds that he did vote to certify the presidential election results.

“Once the 50 states certified the election results, there was nothing Congress could do,” he says. “That was the shame of January 6 – there was nothing that was going to change the outcome of that election.”

Beyond his committee assignments and his efforts to eliminate what he calls wasteful spending and unneeded bureaucracies in the federal government, Comer says he will continue to focus on constituent services.

“Being a member of Congress isn’t just voting on bills, it’s also trying to help the people in your district,” he says.

Hank Linderman, 2nd District Democrat

Born in Florida, Hank Linderman finished high school in Louisville and worked as a musician and recording engineer in southern California before settling back in Kentucky in Grayson County. He was the Democratic nominee in the district’s Congressional races in 2018 and 2020.

Republican incumbent Brett Guthrie, who has served in Congress since 2009, did not respond to KET’s invitation to participate.

Linderman contends working Americans haven’t enjoyed their fair share of the nation’s prosperity for decades. He says that’s led to today’s younger generations feeling that their lives will not be better than those of their parents.

“Our government is in the control of the wealthiest – they elect most of our politicians,” he says. “The wealthiest don’t want to pay taxes, they don’t really want to pay wages, and they don’t want to provide a social safety net, and that is part of why our society feels so unstable, feels so uncertain right now.”

The Democrat says he wants to see renewed growth in labor unions, higher wages, safer workplaces, a national system of preschool and child care, and a health care system that doesn’t force people into bankruptcy over medical bills.

“My focus would always be how can we benefit working people,” he says. “How does this law that we’re talking about or how does this program we’re talking about, how is it actually going to help people on the ground in the 2nd district.”

To help Kentucky farmers, Linderman says he supports legalizing medicinal and recreational marijuana. He wants to encourage production among small farming operations rather than large corporate growers. He says that would create a new cash crop that could make family farms financially viable.

The Democrat argues that immigration policy has been over-politicized and that both parties must move away from their extreme positions, saying that neither a completely open border nor a totally walled-off border will work. Linderman advocates for policies that would punish employers who hire illegal immigrants rather than jailing the workers themselves. He also wants a path to citizenship for immigrants who have been in the U.S. since before 2018.

“Millions and millions of these folks have been here for 10 and 15 years,” Linderman says. “They’re not newcomers, they’re our neighbors and so we should welcome them into our society.”

Climate change is one factor driving illegal immigration, according to Linderman. For example, he says Guatemalan farmers who can no longer survive on land they’ve tended for generations are streaming northward to the U.S. He also says Americans have a massive opportunity to move away from coal and reinvent manufacturing in ways that will make it cleaner and more efficient.

“We’re going to have to transition from one type of energy to another, but that doesn’t mean it has to be today,” he says. “We need to have an orderly transition, and we can do that in a way that’s helpful to the folks who work in these industries.”

Although Guthrie fended off Linderman’s 2018 and 2020 challenges by margins of more than two to one, the Democrat contends his party won’t be out of office forever. The last Democrat to represent Kentucky’s 2nd Congressional district was William Natcher, who died in office in 1994.

“There will be a Democrat once again in the 2nd district,” says Linderman. “I can’t say when it will be, but it will happen.”

Morgan McGarvey, 3rd District Democrat

Stuart Ray, 3rd District Republican

Morgan McGarvey graduated from the University of Missouri and the University of Kentucky College of Law. He was a staff member for former Congressman Ben Chandler. McGarvey was elected to the Kentucky State Senate in 2012 and became Minority Floor Leader in late 2018.

“I am going to stand up and fight for people, I’m going to stay true to my values, I’m going to work to get things done,” says McGarvey

Stuart Ray worked for his family’s steel company in Louisville before starting his own metals and trucking firm. He has served on the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Commission board during Gov. Steve Beshear’s administration, and on the KFC YUM! Center board during the administrations of Steve Beshear and Matt Bevin.

“Louisville’s been under 16 years of failed leadership federally at the Congress level,” says Ray. “I think everyone in Louisville realizes we need a change.”

As Jefferson County faces another year of potentially record high homicides, Ray says he would help secure funding for Louisville to hire up to 400 additional police officers. He also calls for installing metal detectors in schools.

“We have to harden school entrances,” says Ray, “to prevent guns and other paraphernalia from ever entering a public school or a private one.”

McGarvey argues that school security policies should be determined at the state and local levels. He contends that addressing crime must include dealing with the prevalence of firearms in the nation.

“There are some commonsense gun reform proposals we must do,” says McGarvey.
“We need universal background checks... We need to ban assault rifles. We need to make sure that 18-year-olds can’t buy assault-style rifles.”

On background checks, Ray says he supports making mental health issues a component of those reviews, but he says laws on patient privacy won’t allow that. The Republican says he is pro-Second Amendment and doesn’t know if he would have voted for the bipartisan Safer Communities Act, which tightened several federal gun regulations.

McGarvey touts his work with Republic state Sen. Paul Hornback to introduce legislation that would create a mechanism for temporarily removing firearms from the possession of individuals deemed to be an imminent threat to themselves or others. He says the “epidemic of guns” poses a grave risk to children’s lives and community safety.

On the economy, McGarvey applauds the recent passage of the federal infrastructure bill and the Inflation Reduction Act, which he says will bring prices down, reduce the cost of prescription drugs, and lower the deficit. He says he would also like to see passage of a federal gas-price gouging bill that has cleared the U.S. House of Representatives but stalled in the Senate due to Republican opposition.

“What you’re seeing is one party who is passing bills and putting out proposals that help people every day in their lives,” says McGarvey, “and another party that is content to just say no and try to use it as an election-year wedge issue.”

Ray contends the $750 billion Inflation Reduction Act is another example of Democratic spending gone out of control. He also questions the need for 87,000 new Internal Revenue Service agents funded by the legislation. He argues the roughly $3 trillion the Biden Administration spent on pandemic relief and infrastructure projects is fueling record-high inflation. He says there is “all kinds of waste” that could be eliminated from the federal budget, including money for the Department of Education.

“I would pump the breaks on this unsustainable spending,” says Ray. “That in itself will help reduce inflation.”

On abortion, McGarvey says he will continue to lead the fight for access to reproductive health care. He says forcing a woman to carry an unviable fetus to term is wrong and cruel. Ray says he doubts he would vote for a federal ban on abortion, saying that issue should be decided by the states. But he adds that he supports exceptions for victims of rape and incest, and when the life of the mother is at stake.

On national security, Ray says Russia and China pose the greatest threats to the U.S. McGarvey points to threats to free and fair elections that he says are posed by former President Donald Trump and his allies.

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Season 29 Episodes

Medical Marijuana Legalization in Kentucky

S29 E44 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 01/30/23

Kentucky's Juvenile Justice System

S29 E43 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 01/23/23

Legislation Introduced in the 2023 General Assembly

S29 E42 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 01/09/23

2023 Legislative Session Preview

S29 E41 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 12/19/22

National Politics

S29 E40 Length 56:34 Premiere Date 12/05/22

2022 Election Preview

S29 E39 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 11/07/22

Inflation and the Economy

S29 E38 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 10/31/22

Constitutional Amendments 1 & 2

S29 E37 Length 56:36 Premiere Date 10/24/22

Candidates for U.S. House of Representatives: Part Two

S29 E36 Length 56:35 Premiere Date 10/17/22

Candidates for U.S. House of Representatives: Part One

S29 E35 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 10/10/22

U.S. Senate Candidate Charles Booker

S29 E34 Length 26:31 Premiere Date 10/03/22

Discussing Flooding's Impact on Eastern Kentucky Schools

S29 E33 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 09/26/22

COVID-19, Monkeypox and Influenza

S29 E32 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 09/12/22

Eastern Kentucky Flooding and Legislative Relief Package

S29 E31 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 08/29/22

Child Care in Kentucky

S29 E30 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 08/22/22

School Safety: Debating State Policies

S29 E29 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 08/01/22

Work, Wages and Welfare

S29 E28 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 07/25/22

50 Years of Title IX

S29 E26 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 07/18/22

The Impact of U.S. Supreme Court Decisions

S29 E24 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 07/11/22

Kentucky's Ban on Abortion

S29 E23 Length 56:34 Premiere Date 06/27/22

Discussing New Developments in the COVID-19 Pandemic

S29 E22 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 06/20/22

Reducing Opioid Addiction Rates in Kentucky

S29 E21 Length 56:36 Premiere Date 06/13/22

Mass Shootings and Gun Laws

S29 E20 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 06/06/22

Discussing the Rise in Gas Prices and Inflation

S29 E19 Length 56:34 Premiere Date 05/23/22

Previewing Kentucky's 2022 Primary Election

S29 E18 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 05/16/22

Third Congressional District Democratic Primary

S29 E17 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 05/09/22

Candidates in the 2022 Primary Election: Part Two

S29 E16 Length 58:33 Premiere Date 05/02/22

Candidates in the 2022 Primary Election: Part One

S29 E15 Length 58:40 Premiere Date 04/25/22

Lawmakers Review the 2022 General Assembly

S29 E14 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 04/18/22

Recap of the 2022 Legislative Session

S29 E13 Length 56:35 Premiere Date 04/11/22

Public Assistance and Jobless Benefits

S29 E12 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 03/28/22

Abortion Legislation in the 2022 General Assembly

S29 E11 Length 56:34 Premiere Date 03/21/22

State Budget, Taxes, and Other 2022 General Assembly Topics

S29 E10 Length 57:42 Premiere Date 03/14/22

Critical Race Theory and Approaches to Teaching History

S29 E9 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 02/28/22

2022 Legislative Session at the Midpoint

S29 E8 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 02/21/22

Name, Image and Likeness Compensation

S29 E7 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 02/14/22

Child Abuse and Neglect

S29 E6 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 02/07/22

Debating School Choice in Kentucky

S29 E5 Length 56:35 Premiere Date 02/01/22

Debating Provisions in the Proposed State Budget

S29 E4 Length 56:34 Premiere Date 01/24/22

Redistricting, State Budget, and Other Legislative Issues

S29 E3 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 01/10/22

Discussing Legislative Goals for the 2022 General Assembly

S29 E2 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 01/03/22

Previewing the 2022 Kentucky General Assembly

S29 E1 Length 56:35 Premiere Date 12/06/21

See All Episodes

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