Questionnaire: Jack Conway
What opportunities do you see to further strengthen Kentucky’s position in the global automotive industry?
Our automotive industry has deep roots in Kentucky – employing tens of thousands of our family members, friends and neighbors and contributing billions to our economy. As Governor, I’m committed to making the business environment in Kentucky better for our automotive industry and for all employers across the state.
Improving the business environment for employers like our automotive industry includes investing in infrastructure across the Commonwealth because it’s critical that our businesses have dependable, safe and efficient roadways. My plan also includes realigning our workforce training program to ensure that workers are getting the skills they need to get hired, especially in areas like advanced manufacturing where employers have a need for more skilled workers. I’m also committed to continuing my work as Attorney General in combating federal overreach that jeopardizes Kentucky’s low-cost energy because I know how important it is for employers across the Commonwealth.
Finally, I will hold the line on taxes to keep Kentucky’s businesses competitive. As Governor, I’ll conduct a top-to-bottom review our tax incentives to make sure that businesses have the tools they need to expand and create more good paying jobs.
How will your administration utilize and support economic associations such as KAIA?
Groups like the Kentucky Automotive Industry Association are an important voice for employers across Kentucky. KAIA provides critical insight into the priorities and needs of the automotive industry and the industry’s employees. As Governor, I will bring groups like the KAIA to the table when making important decisions about Kentucky’s budget and economy, because our employers know best what they need to thrive.
What are three ways your administration will seek to enhance workforce development in Kentucky, particularly in regard to advanced manufacturing?
Building the best workforce is an important part of my plan to create more Kentucky jobs because too many of our employers can’t find enough skilled workers to fulfill their needs. As Governor, I’ll aggressively expand existing successful apprenticeship programs, like the Kentucky Federation for Advanced Manufacturing Education (FAME), with the goal of being the first state in the nation to have a coordinated, multi-industry statewide apprenticeship program to help workers earn while they learn.
We also need more and better employer engagement and coordination between government, our education community and labor organizations to do away with redundant training, and focus on workforce development programs that meet the demands of today’s employers. As Governor, I’ll request that colleges within the Community and Technical College System conduct an annual assessment to identify the top three leading industries for growth in their communities to ensure that they are providing nearby employers with customized training programs that meet their needs.
To meet our workforce challenges, we also need to ensure that Kentucky’s students are making smart decisions about their futures. As Governor, I’ll implement a new program for high school juniors and seniors to help them do exactly that. The Kentucky PLAN (Pathways to Learning, Achievement, and New Opportunities) Program will provide students with information about regional economic opportunities, growing industry sectors, and best practices to evaluate higher education options. The program will also connect schools and students with local businesses and education leaders who can speak directly to students and educate them about their options following graduation.
What is your plan to keep energy costs low and reliable in Kentucky?
As Attorney General, I was proud to stand up for Kentucky consumers and businesses to keep our energy prices low. I advocated for Kentuckians before the Public Service Commission, preventing nearly $1 billion in utility rate increases for our families. And I fought the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) when it threatened Kentucky’s low-cost energy prices through federal government overreach – suing the EPA and winning a case before the Supreme Court just this year to stop the agency from forcing regulations on Kentucky that would raise our energy costs and jeopardize jobs.
As Governor, I’ll continue to challenge the EPA’s regulatory agenda when it threatens Kentucky’s jobs and businesses. And I’ll appoint commissioners to the Public Service Commission who understand the importance of keeping our energy prices low, because I know our low-cost energy attracts and keeps businesses and jobs in our state.
What changes, if any, will your administration recommend for Kentucky’s tax code regarding businesses?
Our tax code needs to be reformed to make sure we are in the best position to grow Kentucky’s economy and create more good-paying jobs. I’m committed to holding the line on taxes and I support eliminating the state portion of Kentucky’s inventory tax to keep our Commonwealth competitive. Any attempt at broader tax reform needs to done through bipartisan cooperation with input from groups across Kentucky.