Lockett wants to be conservative voice

Published 2:50 pm Thursday, October 1, 2020

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Matt Lockett believes that if he’s elected, he would be the first Republican ever to represent the 39th District in the Kentucky House of Representatives.

He also thinks a Republican would be a better fit for a county that used to be solidly Democratic but has trended red in recent years.

“It’s no secret that the majority of voters in Jessamine County are, number one, conservative, and number two, conservative,” he said.

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And his views, he said, better align with those of the majority.

Lockett, 46, is running against Carolyn Dupont, who considers herself a moderate Democrat.

He called himself a “Trump conservative.”

“I would not say that I am a moderate, for sure, and I would not say that Carolyn is a moderate,” he said.

A financial adviser who came to Jessamine County 18 years ago to be a youth pastor, he said his Christian beliefs are “foundational to the way I would represent and govern.”

He is endorsed by Kentucky Right to Life and the National Rifle Association, believes police “ought to have all the support that we can give them,” and is a fiscal conservative who wants to reduce state spending.

“I believe our state has a lot of difficult issues to tackle,” he said. “Our budget and pensions are in complete disarray,” and the state has to find ways to fully fund them.

Lockett said he was “shocked” to see a recent report that showed the state employees’ retirement system gained only 1.2 percent last year. As a financial adviser, he said, if the portfolios he builds for his clients earn that little, he should be fired.

The candidate said the state should keep its promise of a defined benefits pension for current teachers, but to continue that model for new teachers “is not sustainable.”

Reforming pensions would be one of his top priorities, he said.

Lockett says he supports charter schools, which are “not private,” and school choice and thinks “state money should follow the student.”

“I want to see our public schools be the best … and strongest schools that they can be,” he said, but more per-student spending doesn’t always result in better outcomes.

He cited Louisville Public Schools, which spends an “astronomical” amount on students, with “not the best” test scores.

“It’s not a money problem,” he said. “There are obviously other issues there as well.”

Although both Dupont and Lockett call themselves “pro-life,” the Republican insists that he the strongest opponent of abortion.

“I believe that life begins at conception,” he said, and so an abortion at any stage of development is the taking of a child’s life.

He said he was “appalled” last year when Gov. Andy Beshear vetoed the so-called “Born Alive” bill that, he said, would let an infant die after a “botched abortion.”

Beshear said he vetoed the bill because current law “already protects any child born alive,” and the bill would have allowed Attorney General Daniel Cameron to suspend abortions as an elective procedure during the coronavirus pandemic.

“Life, from beginning to end, is God-given, and we ought to treat it as such and do all we can to protect it,” Lockett said.

However, he said he is in favor of the death penalty for “heinous crimes” and doesn’t think people should go to jail for abortions.

He would, he said, work to make adoption easier because “it takes too long, is too cumbersome, and people don’t do it.”

Lockett would not say whether he would support a statewide fairness law to protect the LGBT+ community against discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations until he sees how it is written.

“I’m always going to fall on the side of religious freedom,” he said, but added, “I would not, do not, support discrimination on any level at all.”

If elected, he said, he would support legislation to limit the governor’s ability to issue executive orders to protect public health indefinitely during an emergency such as the coronavirus pandemic.

He said he backs a bill that would allow the governor to issue emergency directives for up to two weeks, but if they go beyond that time, the governor would have to call the legislature into special session to consider extending those orders.

“Our commonwealth is run for about nine months out of the year with no checks and balances, and that’s really not good,” he said.

Originally from Paducah, Lockett is a graduate of Murray State University and Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville. He came to Nicholasville in 2002 as the youth pastor of Edgewood Baptist Church, but now attends Southland Christian Church. He is divorced and has two children, an 18-year-old daughter who is a freshman at the University of Kentucky and a 15-year-old son who is a sophomore at East Jessamine High School. His business mostly involves wealth management for individuals, and he is chairman of the Jessamine County Republican Party.

He ran unsuccessfully for the 39th District House seat in 2012 against longtime Democratic Rep. Bob Damron of Nicholasville, who is now a Republican. Damron represented the district from 1993 until 2015, when he was succeeded by Democrat Russ Meyer, who is not running for re-election. Before the 1992 election, Nicholasville was in the same district as Woodford County, and was represented by longtime Democrat Joe Barrows.

About Randy Patrick

Randy Patrick is a reporter for Bluegrass Newsmedia, which includes The Jessamine Journal. He may be reached at 859-759-0015 or by email at randy.patrick@bluegrassnewsmedia.com.

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