FRANKFORT, Ky. — The primary election is on June 23 political reporter Michon Lindstrom sat down with Alexandra Owensby a Democrat running in the Fourth Congressional District.
Q. The primary is just days away how are you feeling?
A. So excited it's been such a long process and especially with the primaries getting pushed back that was so disappointing. I mean, I get why it happened but I just can't wait for the primary as we move into the general.
Q. What are the main issues for your campaign?
A. The main issues in my campaign, obviously as a nurse practitioner, healthcare is the first one, and especially during this pandemic, right health care is the first and foremost of my priorities. If people aren't healthy, if they don't have that assurance of health then they can't work, they can't go to school, they can't do any of that stuff that they need to do to be really productive citizens of Kentucky and so healthcare is the number one issue on my plate. I mean, looking beyond that education and jobs. You know I was born and raised an hour and a half from where I live right now in Fort Thomas, Kentucky and I moved to Florida for a while but after I had my kids what I wanted was to come back home to where my roots were and where I wanted my children's roots to be. And I think moving forward we all want our kids to have our roots in the same place that we do and to come back to where we are. And the only way that we're going to do that is through education and jobs. And so that's the next two priorities.
Q. With your focus on health care do you think this pandemic has really shown the flaws in our care system?
A. Oh, absolutely. I mean the fact that we have all of these people laid off and furloughed, As a nurse practitioner, it's shocking but nurse practitioners are getting laid off left and right in a hospital because we're kind of the middlemen right and you know I looked at, 'Okay, what if I get laid off' and the one thing that went through my mind was, oh my gosh, I'm going to be without health care insurance in the midst of a pandemic. I think hospitals also take the hit from that right because one of the reasons why they are furloughing people and that's the big question, Holy cow, you're gonna get a huge influx of people. Yes, but a lot of these people are going to be uninsured. And so how many of them are going to be able to pay that bill, and so hospitals are getting hit by that left and right, the lack of insurance because it's tied to jobs. And so it's really highlighted the fact that we've got to do something different with health care in the United States.
Q. How has it been shifting your campaign to campaign in the new virtual world?
A. So, one of the best things about it I will say is that it really turned me from a candidate into a representative, you know, as a candidate, you just go out and you're talking to people and saying what they want, but all of a sudden, we got hit into this huge crisis, and there was no voice for us. Our current representative isn't speaking up at all about the pandemic about the jobs, things like that. And so all of a sudden there's rural hospitals in our area that were shutting down in the midst of a pandemic. And so my campaign was at the first and foremost trying to keep our Lady of Bellefonte over in Ashland open whenever that ended up shutting down we were the first and foremost making sure that there were testing centers close to that area because they don't have a hospital anymore. And then with everything that's happened lately with the Black Lives Matter movement we've reached out to local mayor's and sat down and talked to them about the police departments and how they're doing with it and what we need to do to move forward and so it's really taken me from a candidate to a true representative for the people.
Q. What I've noticed with the campaign is that you and your primary opponent aren't taking hits it's been a very positive campaign it seems it’s been more about talking about Thomas Massie.
A. Well, I think the main goal in the end is that we get this extremist out of office because our current representative does have some very extremist views and you know in my mind, we are significantly ahead in the polls so my goal has always been to focus on the long term goal rather than the short term goal. And so the long term goal is getting our current representative out of office and getting somebody in place that actually is a voice for the people because right now he speaks for the extremists, but he doesn't speak for the vast majority of people in the district.
Q. The fourth district is a very wide and diverse district, very interesting district but it is pretty conservative. Why do you think the fourth district is ready to flip and to have a democrat representative?
A. I think it's not so much about party anymore it's about being a voice for the people and that's what I'm saying.I have a lot of Republican friends, I have a lot of Democratic friends ,I was actually an Independent prior to running, because I think both parties have huge flaws. And I think with the way that everything has gone in this country people are seeing that more and more, and they're looking for a voice that brings people together, and that is that middle ground because the vast majority of Republicans and Democrats don't believe in these extremist views. We agree on 90% of things, but our current politicians are focusing on that 10% of things that we don't agree on, and trying to divide us because if we are fighting each other we are not worried about what they're doing. And that's why we're in the state that we're in right now. And I think Kentucky is ready for a change.
Q. What do you think's the biggest issue you know play here the fourth district right now.
A. Well obviously I think healthcare is one of the big ones, but I also think that probably the biggest issue is, you know, unity and not being tied together. You know I think we've been working and fighting each other for so long, and we're starting to realize the repercussions of that and i think that you know what we need is we need a representative that can be a voice for all of us, you know, I think that's why we're seeing all of these protests on.
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Q. My final question is just why do you think you're the best person to be Thomas Massie, if he is the candidate, in November?
A.I think that our fundraising has shown time after time that we are truly a voice for the people, whenever you look at the the FEC reports are important to look at whenever you look at where the money comes from. And in my campaign, greater than 70% has come from small individual dollar donations, which those are votes, those are people that have a voice and that need a voice, well those are people that don't have a voice right now but they need have a voice, and so, whenever you look at my next closest competitor, it's right at 30% small individual dollar donations. For too long the working and middle class has been ignored and we have got to get somebody in place that's willing to be a voice for those and that can prove that they're a strong voice for those. So I think that I've certainly proven all of that with my tenacity and willingness to kind of find that compromise. I think that I am the only voice for Kentucky right now, well there are certainly a number of great voices throughout Kentucky but in the fourth district, we do not have a strong representative right now.