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Getting to know the candidates for governor: Attorney General Daniel Cameron

daniel cameron
Posted at 7:00 PM, Apr 13, 2023

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Daniel Cameron believes he's the Republican candidate with the best shot at becoming governor.

"Some folks are running on ads. We're running on record," said Cameron.

He points to his action on vaccine mandates as an example of that record.

"When it comes to vaccine mandates that came from Washington D.C, again disregarding the 10th amendment to the Constitution, I went to federal court and got those vaccine mandates stopped in Kentucky," he explained.

Although Cameron is one of 11 candidates in the Republican primary, the Mason-Dixon Kentucky poll has him as the front-runner. The poll, which was conducted between January 18th and 23rd of this year, asked Republican voters who they would pick if the election were held today. Cameron led the poll with 39%. He had a 26-point lead over his next-highest challenger, Kelly Craft.

Cameron is also being endorsed by former President Donald Trump in Kentucky's gubernatorial race.

However, not everyone is happy with Cameron running for governor.

Cameron, who currently serves as Kentucky's attorney general, has been criticized by some for his office's handling of the investigation into the police shooting that left Breonna Taylor dead. But Cameron believes his office did its job correctly.

"We did our job in terms of making sure that we ran a fair and complete investigation on what occurred that night in Ms. Taylor's apartment when she was killed," said Cameron. "And again, as I travel across Kentucky, I don't know a Kentuckian who isn't heartbroken by the fact that a mom lost a daughter, that this was a tragedy. And no one - no one that I've come across - says anything else than this is a tragedy. But we have a responsibility in the Attorney General's Office to make sure that we follow the law and marry it with the facts. And we did that." 

But Cameron says he now has his eyes set on a different role in Kentucky. The one of governor. And he says his goal is to fight for Kentucky values.

Cameron believes, as governor, he would work well with the legislature on things like economic plans. He says he supports the General Assembly's current decision to gradually eliminate the personal income tax. Cameron believes the move was necessary to keep Kentucky competitive.

"It is really important that we do that because as I've talked to folks and recruiters that are trying to attract businesses into our state, they often have difficulty even competing with some of our border states, particularly Tennessee because of that low-income tax rate," he said.

He also stresses that Kentucky's workforce shortage is a pressing issue. What's his proposed solution? Part of it involves benefits reform.

"Move people off the government rolls. Those programs - Medicaid, particularly for the able-bodied, should be transitory, not something you stay on for the remainder of your life. Especially if we want these programs to continue to be solvent," said Cameron. "So, we've got to encourage those people through adding a work requirement to get back into the workforce, to help us increase our participation rate." 

Cameron also supports the anti-abortion laws lawmakers have put into place.

Kentucky's current law does not allow for exceptions in cases of rape and incest. While some critics argue those exceptions should be added in, others disagree.

Cameron, who defended the anti-abortion laws in court, tells LEX 18 News he supports the laws as they are written.

"I understand that this is a very sensitive issue - a very sensitive topic - that a lot of households across Kentucky have conversations about. But I'm not going to waiver in my position on this and we're going to continue to defend the law as is," said Cameron. "And we'll continue to work with our legislature on the Human Life Protection Act. It's obviously being enforced right now and because of it, the abortion facilities have been closed since last August." 

Sticking to the topic of healthcare, Kentucky's General Assembly passed a law that critics call one of the worst anti-trans laws in the country. It does things like ban gender-affirming healthcare for trans kids.

Supporters of the law say it's to protect children from possible regret in the future. But opponents believe the government is interfering in decisions that are meant for parents to make.

Where does Cameron stand on this issue?

"It's about making sure that we are protecting our children from irreversible procedures," said Cameron. "Look, I understand that kids - minors - can have mental health struggles and we certainly need to help kids through that experience. But to say that the step is having an irreversible procedure as a minor, I don't agree with. And I know a lot of Kentuckians don't agree with."

One of the issues Cameron is emphasizing on the campaign trail is public education. He tells LEX 18 his first move would be to remove Education Commissioner Dr. Jason Glass.

"If the voters out there give me an opportunity and help me out in becoming the next governor of Kentucky, I will help them out and make sure that Jason Glass is no longer the commissioner of the Department of Education. Because again, whether it's Commissioner Glass or it is Andy Beshear, they are out of step with the men, women, and children of all 120 counties," said Cameron.

Cameron also believes Kentucky needs options when it comes to education. So, he supports school choice.

"I support expanding education choice for every child here in Kentucky. And I've said that repeatedly. This conversation doesn't have to be an either-or proposition. You can support our hard-working teachers," said Cameron. "You can make sure we have a strong public education system, but we can also expand choice."

So, what is Cameron's pitch to voters?

"The proof is in the pudding," said Cameron. "You know what I will do as governor because you've seen me fight day in and day out for the men, women, and children of all 120 counties. Whether it's on holding the Biden Administration accountable for their failures at the southern border. Whether it's bringing money into Kentucky to fight the opioid epidemic. Whether it's getting churches re-opened in the Commonwealth or getting the vaccine mandates stopped in Kentucky. You know you're going to have somebody that's going to fight for you, that's not going to back down."

"We are always going to do what's right by the values of the men, women, and children of this Commonwealth."
 

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This profile on Daniel Cameron is part of an LEX 18 series on the contending Republican candidates for governor. Based on debate invitations, public polling, and campaign finance reports, LEX 18 reached out to five of the eleven candidates to answer questions about their policy stances. In addition to Cameron, Mike Harmon, Alan Keck, and Ryan Quarles have accepted our invitation. Kelly Craft's campaign declined, citing a scheduling conflict.