2017-09-06 / Opinions

Hatton and Turner address constituents about pension crisis

‘Assault on working men and women’

To the Editor:

Over the past several days I have received dozens of phone calls and emails regarding the recommendations for the state’s pension systems offered by the governor’s team of consultants. Like you, I am very concerned with the proposals presented thus far.

I thank you for contacting me and want to be clear — I believe these initial recommendations completely ignore the inviolable contract established with teachers, first responders and public employees across the Commonwealth, whether they are drawing those benefits now or will in the future.

State and local public employees teach our children. They provide for our public safety. They offer much-needed services to our veterans and give assistance to the most vulnerable among us — the elderly, those with special needs, the disadvantaged and our youth.

Our public employees perform countless services that the private sector cannot or will not do, for modest pay, all based on a promise that a livable pension awaits them at the end of their public service. For teachers, the pension benefit is even more crucial since they do not draw Social Security.

It appears that we are headed for a special session later this year to consider these recommendations, or perhaps others, put forth by the governor and the legislators of his political party. My hope is that they will craft a much more reasonable set of changes to the system that will place it on a path to sustainability while preserving our commitment to a secure retirement for public servants.

You can be assured of this — I will fight long and hard against anything that infringes on the inviolable contract, which binds the Commonwealth, legally and morally, to the promises made to our retirees and government employees.

To me, these recommendations represent a continued assault on working men and women all across this Commonwealth, and the long-term interests of the families who rely upon them. In our region, it hits particularly hard, as we continue to wrestle with the negative after-effects of the downturn in the coal economy.

I ask you to join me in letting your voices be heard as we fight against all policies that reduce wages, eliminate benefits and strike at the very heart of the American dream — that we would be able to provide our own families with a better life than we have enjoyed.

I’ll keep in touch, and hope you will, as well. I encourage you to leave me a message by calling the Legislative Message Line toll-free at 1-800-372-7181 or emailing me at angie.hatton@lrc.ky.gov. Thank you again for this incredible opportunity to serve the region I am so proud to call my home.

REP. ANGIE HATTON Whitesburg

State Rep. Angie Hatton represents the state’s 94th House District in Letcher and Pike counties.

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