As Kentucky’s Senator, Amy would take action to help families and small businesses get through this crisis, ensure every Kentuckian has access to affordable health care, provide good-paying jobs, and mitigate intergenerational poverty. In Jefferson County, her plan would help make seeking medical care more affordable, address food insecurity and job loss, invest in Black and minority-owned businesses and fight racial inequity.
The president of the Kentucky Restaurant Association recently said that 15% to 20% of restaurants in the state will not be open a year from now. That means as many 12,000 individuals employed in the food preparation and service industry in the Louisville metro area could lose their jobs in the near future. At the same time restaurants are without customers, people across the region are going hungry. Even before the pandemic, nearly 40% of residents in West Louisville said they were food insecure and often didn’t have money to buy the food they needed.
Mitch has refused to even bring bipartisan legislation to the Senate floor that would provide restaurants with funds to help weather the pandemic and economic downturn.
To both keep the restaurant industry alive and combat food insecurity, Amy will help pass the bipartisan FEED Act, which will provide funds for local and state governments to pay restaurants to give food to those going hungry. She would also support the RESTAURANTS Act, which has bipartisan support, including from some of Mitch’s closest allies, to provide funds to restaurants so they can weather the pandemic without having to close.
The FEED Act has the power to save the almost 20% of restaurants in metro Louisville at risk of being eliminated and provide food to the 120,000 people who struggle with food insecurity in Jefferson County. In total, the RESTAURANT Act would provide $1 billion to Kentucky restaurants, many of which have been around for generations.
A staggering 40% of residents in West Louisville said they delayed getting medical help in the previous year because they couldn’t afford it. In the richest country on Earth, no one should have to go without the medical care they need.
Mitch has tried 19 times to weaken or overturn the Affordable Care Act. He is supporting a lawsuit that would strip almost 400,000 Kentuckians of their health insurance, and, right now, during this pandemic, he is holding up a bill that would ensure companies cannot offer plans that refuse people coverage because of pre-existing conditions.
Amy will fight for a subsidized public option for the duration of the pandemic that anyone who loses their job or falls below 200% of the poverty line would be enrolled on. There would be no deductibles for anyone. Even after this crisis passes, Amy will ensure a public option is available so that all Americans can have the opportunity to buy a publicly run insurance plan, which would also increase competition and help to lower premiums.
During the pandemic, the subsidized public option would ensure every Louisvillian is covered, and those who are struggling the most financially would have minimal costs. Over time, a public option would force private insurance companies to lower their prices and help provide medical attention to the 40% of West Louisville residents who’ve delayed needed care because of the cost.
Out of the 48,000 Kentucky businesses that received federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans, only 104 reported having a Black owner. All businesses deserve a fair shot at success, and that means giving more opportunity to Black-owned businesses that have systematically been cut off from government resources.
Mitch wanted to pass a $250 million COVID-related small business relief package that gave no consideration to the demand from many of his colleagues that aid be targeted toward minority-owned businesses.
Amy believes we need to address racial inequities in our business community through targeted federal funds to Black- and minority-owned businesses, in addition to student loan forgiveness for minority college graduates who start businesses.
Giving targeted aid to Black- and minority-owned businesses that have often been cut off from necessary resources will ensure fewer businesses close, fewer people lose their jobs and more young people who are minorities are able to open their own businesses. It will also bring an influx of resources and opportunities that Louisvillians deserve.
The Black poverty rate in metro Louisville is roughly 30%, nearly three times the white poverty rate, while only 36% of Black residents in the area own their homes compared to 73% of their white counterparts.
The inequality, and injustice, is systemic and begins early in a Black child’s life with discrepancies in resources and educational opportunity.
Mitch has repeatedly voted against efforts that would help close the resource gap and uplift the Black community. He has voted three times to eliminate the Department of Housing and Urban Development, which has awarded millions of dollars to Louisville in 2020 to help keep residents housed, and he has voted 16 times against raising the minimum wage. Mitch has shown little care for the future of the commonwealth’s youngest residents, negotiating budget cuts that forced Head Start programs to shut down across Kentucky and eliminated access to these programs for 1,100 young people in the state.
Amy will fight to ensure that young Black and minority Kentuckians have the resources they need to succeed and break the cycle of intergenerational poverty. She would fight to provide all 3 and 4 year olds with access to high-quality pre-kindergarten or Head Start programs in order to lay a strong foundation for children and save parents thousands of dollars each year on child care. She also would make home ownership more accessible for Black families in Louisville through better access to the banking system (at postal banks and with other financial tools) and tax breaks for first time home buyers.
Implementing universal pre-k would allow children aged 3 and 4, regardless of race or income, to participate in a comprehensive educational and developmental program and reap the long-term benefits that have been demonstrated by many years of study. Universal pre-K or Head Start would also save parents child care costs that could then go to other needs. Increased home ownership for Black Louisvillians will help close the wealth gap and decrease how frequently young people need to move, which often has negative effects on their social and educational development.