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Kentucky's lawmakers headed back to Frankfort this month. Grant County is represented in Frankfort by Sen. Damon Thayer, a Republican from Georgetown and Rep. Royce Adams, a Democrat from Dry Ridge.
Newly-elected Gov. Steve Beshear addressed both houses of the General Assembly on Jan. 14 and warned lawmakers that Kentucky would have to change the way it conducts business or it was in trouble financially.
Thayer and Adams were asked to rank their top three priorities for this session. Below are their answers. Beshear will present a budget later this month and both lawmakers said they would have a better idea of how Grant County would fare after the budget.
STATE SENATOR DAMON THAYER
#1 - Education - "I'm concerned about cuts the governor is suggesting in education. We should do no harm to education. If we have to make tough decisions in other areas, so be it. We made particular strides in 2006 and want that to continue."
#2 - Pension - "We do have a crisis in funding for state, city and county retirees. It is putting a financial strain on the county and city governments. More and more of their budgets are being eaten up by this funding."
#3 - Jail funding - "We continue to force unfunded mandates on county government by forcing them to pay for state prisoners in county jails. When someone is arrested, until they are convicted and the state takes over the funding, we need to give the county credit for time served."
STATE REPRESENTATIVE ROYCE ADAMS
#1 - Budget - "That's an area I direct most of my attention to. As the budget subcommittee chairman, I have to. I'm hoping that things won't be as bad as they seem, but I do appreciate the governor being forthcoming. We've had tight budgets before."
#2 - Education - "We've got to keep kindergarten through 12th grade on track, as well as post secondary funding. Our children are our future and we have to take care of their educational needs."
#3 - Health Care - "We can't run and hide from health care issues, including pensions because they go hand in hand. We've got to make corrections to pensions, but I believe they are driven by the rising costs of health care and I don't think it will be fixed in one year."