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Governor Series – Clark, Cooper, and Smith




By Chelene Nightingale, Reporter

Every election cycle, the media and the political parties focus on candidates they deem “important” while ignoring lesser-known applicants they consider “fringe”.

The Kentucky State Constitution specifically states in section 6: “All elections shall be free and equal.” Numerous First Amendment rights lawsuits have been filed over the past several decades to ensure candidates’ free speech is protected. Founding Father John Adams advised: “It becomes necessary to every [citizen] then, to be in some degree a statesman, and to examine and judge for himself of the tendency of political principles and measures. Let us examine, then, with a sober, a manly and a Christian spirit; let us neglect all party [loyalty] and advert to facts; let us believe no man to be infallible or impeccable.”

Samuel Adams adds, “(Voting is) one of the most solemn trusts in human society for which he is accountable to God and his country.” John Jay wisely stated, “The Americans are the first people whom Heaven has favored with an opportunity of deliberating upon and choosing the forms of government under which they should live.”  

Political party representatives and media tell us that if a candidate has no money or no polling, they are not worthy of our time. If every candidate were allotted the same amount of time, promotion, and opportunity with donation limitations, then voters would learn about every candidate equally so they can decide for themselves their best representative. Perhaps the media and political parties are not pushing forth the best options, so the Barren County Progress Governor Series was created to allow every primary candidate an opportunity to share their ideas with voters, so you, the reader, can choose the right candidate.

For this week’s Governor Series column, BCP reached out to all the lesser-known candidates which include Jacob Clark, David Cooper, Dennis Ormerod, Johnny Rice, and Robbie Smith. We sent the same ten questions to each candidate. We did not receive responses from Ormerod or Rice. The answers were edited for spelling, grammar, and space, and the main content was left intact for our readers to review. Answers are in alphabetical order of the candidate’s last name.


BCP: The latest Emerson poll showed each of you with less than 2% a mere month before the election. What purpose does your campaign serve conservatives at this point?

JACOB CLARK: The same purpose it would serve if I were polling 80% with 5 million in the bank- principled people who love the Constitution need someone to vote for besides the mediocre McConnell protégés.

DAVID COOPER: Anything could happen between now and May 16th. As the only Soldier in the race, I’ve never backed down or run from a fight, and I’m going to keep fighting to prove I’m the only candidate that can beat Beshear. Out of all the other candidates, the latest poll had me in 6th place, without tv, radio, or Facebook ads… imagine where I would be if I had the resources and staff the “top” candidates had. The purpose my campaign serves conservatives is this: there is a genuine, authentic option and it’s not too late to join to help make a better KY for all.

ROBBIE SMITH: Currently, our campaign serves as a necessary component in the ever-changing political environment. There is a shift that will happen in politics from only voting for the wealthiest and most well-connected individuals to electing blue-collar non-elite citizens. The day will come when campaigns will brag on how little they spent, not how much they made. That change may happen this cycle or it may happen in ten cycles, but it will happen and our campaign is one step in that process.

Gubernatorial candidate David Cooper
Photo courtesy of Eric Byrd


BCP: If you do not receive the Republican nomination, what next step will you take politically?

CLARK: More activism and lobbying. Hopefully, supporting (Steve) Knipper and (Andrew) Cooperrider through their general elections.

COOPER: I have been told by so many people I need to run for something else statewide. I do not want it to seem or look like I am using the governor race to gain name recognition for another race. I genuinely want to be governor and that is the only thing in my sights. I will support the Republican nominee whomever it is.

SMITH: I do not have any political aspirations beyond this cycle. We’ll just have to see what happens.


BCP:  If you win the Republican nomination, how will you beat Beshear in November? (At this current time, he is leading Republican candidates in every poll.)

CLARK:  My message of liberty is universal to fed-up folks from all political stripes. Most people just want to exercise their American freedom as they see fit, without big government interference. There are fed-up patriots all across this country who will support a candidate who is talking about saving our country, one state at a time. Nullification of federal government overreach is how we take back our country.

COOPER: Winning the primary would force the media to throw me in the spotlight. That would help let the people know they have a service member candidate who has already been serving them since he was 17 on and off the battlefield. I would sit down with teachers and show them my pension plan to make them millionaires and solve the teacher shortage. I would meet with farming organizations to talk about strategic plans for kenaf (hemp), bamboo, and a beef processing plant. These would help Kentuckians know who to vote for in November.

SMITH: They have not polled me versus Beshear yet. I have a message that resonates with everyday Kentucky citizens.

Gubernatorial candidate Jacob Clark
Photo courtesy of Jacob Clark


BCP: Opioids are a major issue in Kentucky, what steps will you take to combat this crisis?

CLARK: As a minister, I have held church services in jails, working mostly with addicts. I have learned that much of the addiction problem stems from child sexual abuse and exploitation. I would focus on protecting children so that they do not become tomorrow’s addicts. Also, I would prioritize funding of fighting the drugs which are killing the most Kentuckians. Currently, we spend a lot of precious resources fighting cannabis- a plant that kills zero people. We should instead focus those resources on fighting fentanyl, heroin, meth, etc.

COOPER: I would help the AG and provide them with any resources they need. I would help find and allocate money and tax breaks for businesses to get kids more involved with their community, church, school, and small businesses. Drug dealers whose products kill a Kentuckian will be charged with murder.

SMITH: Step one includes stopping the prescription of opioids to young adults and children after having wisdom teeth and sports-related surgeries. It turns out that most kids are prescribed opioids for surgical trauma when acetaminophen and ibuprofen are better at managing that kind of pain. Step two is to make sure that we fund and use the successful drug court system in helping rehabilitate individuals who are trying to overcome addiction. The last, and most controversial, step is to expunge the records of those who have overcome their addiction and made it through drug court so that they can get meaningful jobs and become contributing members of society.


BCP: Another crisis affecting Kentucky is human trafficking. What action will you take to end this terror?

CLARK: We must not make deals with these criminals. They must receive the heaviest sentences possible. We also must educate Kentuckians on how to cry for help if you are a victim. Many times these victims feel trapped and alone. We must make it clear and easy for them to cry for help.

COOPER:  I would meet with State Police and local law enforcement where this issue is more dominant and figure out together what they need to succeed and then implement or work with legislation to implement plans created.

SMITH: We have to find our police and provide them with every resource they need to carry out their job.


BCP: Parents and children are currently under attack in the school system with trans agendas, CRT, and radical left propaganda. Meanwhile, Kentucky students lag behind in national test scores and grades. What solutions will you implement to tackle the education system?

CLARK: Our public school system needs a conservative overhaul. Our private schools need access to funding so they can compete. We need to change the structure of site-based councils so that we have a majority of parents and taxpayers to make decisions.

COOPER: HB 150 was a huge help and Mr. Jason Glass needs to find a new job out of KY. Parents should know what their kids are being taught, I believe in school choice, and teachers need more assurance their jobs are safe when they have to deal with unruly juveniles. I also want to implement a mandatory life skills class for seniors that has home economics, shop, auto mechanics, finance, and political science to help prepare them for the real world. Also, I want to reintroduce trade schools into middle schools so kids can experiment and attempt different jobs and figure out what they like and pursue that through high school.

SMITH: SB 150 is an excellent starting point. The next logical step is to ensure that student funding follows the student to their school of choice whether it be public, charter, private, or homeschool.


BCP: The Commonwealth is one of the most important states for the coal industry; however, the Biden regime and the left are wanting to end the coal industry because of “climate change”. How will you protect the coal industry?

CLARK: In the first week of my administration, I will sign executive orders eliminating the regulations which have killed industries in Kentucky including the coal industry. We don’t have to put up with the federal regulation nonsense. We don’t have to submit to poverty to appease their agenda.

COOPER: I will not enforce federal laws that restrict KY’s fossil fuels and will fight alongside my AG to keep KY coal industry strong.

SMITH: By nullifying burdensome regulations for coal-fired power plants.

Gubernatorial candidate Robbie Smith
Photo courtesy of Jackie Whitaker


BCP: The Bluegrass state is also a major agricultural state; however, China is buying up farmland. Bill Gates, BlackRock, and other entities are also buying farmland. What incentives will you provide Kentucky farmers to prevent them from selling their land? How will you help the agriculture industry in our state?

CLARK:  In the first week of my administrative, I will issue executive orders which will block bad laws and regulations that stifle agricultural growth in Kentucky. Immediately, it will become easier and more profitable for small farmers to operate in Kentucky and to serve healthy, local food products to Kentuckians.

COOPER: I want to help farmers start growing Bamboo and Kenaf (hemp) to help grow business in KY. These could be Kentucky’s next cash crops. Bamboo can be used as a replacement for trees for anything paper-made AND absorbs 4x more carbon than trees. Kenaf can be used for clothes, rope, animal bedding, animal feed, the seeds for clean fuel, BMW and Ford use Kenaf in their vehicles.

SMITH: Eliminate property tax, usage tax, and all income tax. This will benefit farmers specifically. They will be able to keep what they earn here in Kentucky.


BCP: Why are you the best Republican candidate?

CLARK: No other candidate is offering instant freedom in the first week of their administration. By using executive orders as they are meant to be used, I will set Kentucky free from big government restrictions which have made Kentucky a welfare state with no jobs to offer. Other candidates are saying the same things we have already heard before about how they will work with the federal government to fix these things, but we know that Washington DC is more concerned with giving Ukraine billions and all we will get are more gun laws from Mitch McConnell. I am fed up with waiting on DC to do the right thing. We need a governor who knows how to set Kentucky free. Also, my family and my Lt. Governor have all been victims of corrupt government actors. We have felt the heavy hand of big government. Because of this, we would never turn on the people. Other candidates in the race have already been known to work with the establishment.

COOPER: Because I’m a Christian running on Christian and military values… because I’m not running for any other reason than to serve KY on a higher level. I am the most similar to the average Kentuckian than any other candidate. I’m a blue-collar swing shift worker and a KY Army National Guard soldier of nearly 23 years of service. I’m not a career politician, I’m not rich, and I know how valuable a dollar is. I am and want to be the most bipartisan, transparent, and most accessible candidate. I didn’t try to go Independent when AG Cameron got President Trump’s endorsement, and I’ve never lied to the people. I am the most experienced leader and know how to be successful, you have to surround yourself with an intelligent team, be willing to listen (to the people, ideas, problems), build others up, and lead from the front. There isn’t a soldier I’ve led that wouldn’t follow me again at the drop of a hat. Majority of the people respect soldiers, so respect their opinions on who they follow.

SMITH: Because I’m a common man for this Commonwealth. I’ve got the experience and non-political working background that will enable me to represent Kentucky in a way that hasn’t been done in decades.


BCP: Any final words?

CLARK: Thank you for the opportunity to fight for the future of my children and grandchildren, and our blessed commonwealth.

COOPER: My phone number is 859-322-4154. Please call or text to share your thoughts, ask a question, or just say hi. Please visit my web page at or my Facebook group page (David Cooper for Kentucky Governor) and check out the pension plan pinned at the top.

SMITH: I’m not a politician, I’m a fifteen-year math teacher that just wants what’s best for Kentucky.

Thank you. @rsmith4gov

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