Exercise church's right to speech
Oct. 5 is Pulpit Freedom Sunday. The fact that such a day has been designated is a stark reminder of a sobering fact: In recent years, there has been a steady encroachment upon the constitutionally guaranteed freedoms of religion and speech by agencies of the government.
Rules and regulations were adopted that had the effect of law. One report says the Internal Revenue Service states that churches are prohibited from direct or indirect participation in, or intervening in any political campaign. And that can include a pastor's sermon.
For 42 years, I served as a pastor. I never felt I should participate in partisan debate, but I did feel strongly that I had a constitutional right and a moral obligation to speak out for causes that were right and oppose causes that were wrong without fear that some governmental agency would revoke the tax-exempt status of the church.
With recent revelations of the IRS scrutinizing conservative groups for political purposes, interest in Pulpit Freedom Sunday has grown. In 2008, only 33 churches participated, but in 2012, the number grew to 539. In 2013, the number had grown to 1,477 with expectation that the number will be even larger this year.
Thank you for endorsing Michael Stuart for the 2nd District council seat.
Councilwoman Shevawn Akers has brought unwanted, negative attention to the Masterson Station area over the foreclosure issue. She caused one of her volunteers to be charged with a felony while she was only charged with a misdemeanor and offered diversion. And now she is involved in a civil suit regarding her residency and nomination papers.
Once Akers pleaded guilty to falsifying nomination papers, why didn't some city official attempt to remove her from office or from the election? Why did the clerk's office notarize her signature list when many of the signatures appear forged? It should not be left to constituents or other candidates to file a costly lawsuit.
I know that if Stuart is elected, he will bring much-needed change to District 2 and ensure there are policies and procedures for dealing with rogue council members.
Hern for 6th District
A Herald-Leader editorial implied that 6th District council candidate Thomas Hern is strong on ideology but vague on specific issues. I disagree. He has:
¦ Been an outspoken proponent for a fully funded police force and fire department and more efficient city services.
¦ Proven his management and accounting skills with successful automotive franchises.
¦ Demonstrated community leadership through volunteer Christian missionary trips to Kenya, Habitat for Humanity, and Rotary clubs in three states.
¦ Made a concerted effort to personally call on all residents of the 6th District to directly discuss their concerns and expectations of the council.
As a member of the council he would inject a steady mature voice reflecting lifelong high ethical standards and problem-solving skills.
The district doesn't need a lawyer. We need a leader — a leader like Hern to represent us.
John M. Shotwell
McConnell out of touch
The multimillionaire, Sen. Mitch McConnell, is drowning in his own self-importance. The time he has spent glorifying himself leaves no time to introduce any legislation to improve the well-being of struggling men, women and children.
Instead, he spent his time raising millions from corporations, billionaires and millionaires for himself and other Republicans. Then came the four years he spent to make President Barack Obama a one-time president. His time, wasted.
Ineffective and out of touch with Kentucky families, the senator decided his time would be better spent on repealing the Affordable Care Act.
He didn't even seem to know the law and Kynect were one and in the same and that now 541,000 Kentucky men, women and children have affordable health care.
There should be no doubt Alison Grimes should be the choice of Kentucky voters as our next senator. She is one of us and the senator is one of them.
Evans for 6th District
I will be casting my vote for Angela Evans to represent the 6th District of Lexington.
She has a lot of experience in government. She was a public defender and is now at the attorney general's office. She also was general counsel for the secretary of state. This more than qualifies her to lead the district.
We need to vote more ladies into government. We had another lady in our state government: former Gov. Martha Layne Collins. She brought more jobs to Kentucky than any other governor.
Integrity, constituent service and experience — these words aptly describe Jennifer Mossotti.
Five terms on the council have given her a unique view of how local government works and her response to her constituents is terrific.
I urge my fellow voters in the 9th District to cast their ballots of for her on election day.
Together, we can make city better
Lexington is special, but I believe it can be even better.
My first job was working as a Volunteer In Service To America, creating a health-care clinic for the poor and homeless. Public service is a value I learned from my mom, a special-education professor at the University of Kentucky, whose devotion to children with special needs spilled into our conversations and inspired me to go to law school to help others.
I spent four years on the council, working to make neighborhood schools a part of better city planning, fighting for good jobs and making sure your tax dollars were spent wisely. I eliminated millions in wasteful spending, directing the savings into hiring much-needed police officers and firefighters.
We can do it again. Lexington is uniquely positioned to be a leader in innovation, job growth and education. I'm running for council to bring people together, solve problems and create opportunity. I will:
¦ Bring together the resources of UK, the public schools and city government to help educate our children and close the achievement gap.
¦ Fight for a more environmentally friendly city that lowers pollution, increases recycling by 25 percent and is more bicyclist friendly.
¦ Conduct a citywide assessment of programming for children and seniors to make sure we meet their needs.
¦ Require performance audits and hold the line on taxes so we can invest in our people and our future.
I ask for your vote so that together we can make a better Lexington.
Candidate, Council at-large
Deadline for election letters is 5 p.m. Oct. 20. Letters limited to 150 words.