Three other candidates running against Barr, McGrath for Congress
The race in Kentucky's 6th Congressional District continues to draw national attention. The election is now just two months away. Republican incumbent Andy Barr is facing democrat Amy McGrath. However, there are three other candidates also on the ballot including a man who lives in Ohio.
Rikka Wallin and Frank Harris are both making their first run at politics, both Lexington residents recently leaving their longtime parties. Wallin was a lifelong Democrat is now an Independent, while former Republican Harris is now a Libertarian.
"Everything that the Democrats and Republicans are doing is pushing people in our direction and I want to thank them for that," said Harris.
Another man registered to run as an Independent is James Germalic. He stands out from the other candidates as he calls Ohio home. Germalic has appeared on numerous ballots throughout the country able to do so through some loopholes in the wording of the Constitution.
It requires that to run for Congress you must be at least 25-years-old, a U.S. citizen for at least seven years, but only having to be a resident of the particular state at the time you are elected. It does not say anything about where you live when you file or during any part of the nomination process.
"The Constitution placed notably few hurdles between ordinary citizens and becoming a member of the U.S. House of Representatives. The founders wanted the House to be the legislative chamber closest to the people — the least restrictive on age, citizenship, and the only federal office at the time subject to frequent popular election," states the House office of History, Art & Archives.
Harris describes himself as fiscally conservative and socially liberal, putting a lot of focus on balancing the budget and the national debt. "We don't want to tell you how to live your life and we want to take less money from you."
Meanwhile, Wallin says she is progressive and wanted to make sure everyone has a choice in November.
"That is why I'm using a peace sign. I'm very anti-war, very pro-people, I want living wage, universal health care, and free education," said Wallin.
One thing these two candidates have in common is their stance on cannabis
"Oh I want to legalize all of it, this would be the most perfect place to grow it." Both Wallin and Harris wanting to see it legalized for industrial, medicinal, and recreational use.
"It is a freedom issue, why shouldn't people be allowed to use something if they want to" explained Harris. "We spend an awful lot of money incarcerating people for marijuana and it is pointless. We could be getting tax revenues from the sale of marijuana."
Congressman Andy Barr and Amy McGrath are each a little more hesitant when it comes to blanket legalization of marijuana.
Barr saying, "The possession, use, or growing of marijuana for any purpose is currently illegal in Kentucky. I strongly support the efforts of our local law enforcement officials, as they work to enforce our laws and protect our citizens. While as a federal legislator I do not vote on state laws, I oppose changing the federal statues governing the illegal status of marijuana for recreational purposes. That said, I remain encouraged by the therapeutic benefits and potential of low-tetrahydrocannabinol hemp in the form of cannabidiol for the purpose of helping those suffering from epilepsy. Additionally during consideration of the 2018 Farm Bill, I supported amendments and legislation to exempt industrial hemp from the Controlled Substance Act's definition of marijuana. I also introduced the Industrial Hemp Banking Act to ensure farmers under the pilot program have access to capital. Finally, I supported the 2014 Farm Bill, which established the Industrial Hemp Pilot Program to allow the research and growth of hemp in Kentucky."
McGrath explains her stance on her campaign website, "Many veterans suffering from chronic pain and PTSD report improved healthcare outcomes from medical cannabis and I'm proud to stand with the American Legion in calling for the removal of cannabis as a Schedule 1 drug and permit its use to treat ailments that veterans, and others, face. It may also alleviate some of the dependence on opioids for pain relief and that, alone, is a meaningful reason to consider moving in that direction. On the issue of full legalization, I'd like to see our government permit full research on the subject. The Schedule 1 classification means that we can't even conduct studies on the effect of legalization. Perhaps it's the military officer in me, but I'm all about thoughtful planning and research before diving head first into fully opening that door.
But I hope the state — and the federal government — begin to relax its unnecessarily rigid position on medical cannabis."
Harris and Wallin say they are excited to get the word out about their campaigns and let Kentuckians in the 6th district know there are options on this November's ballot.
"As far as winning the election goes the odds are probably pretty slim but we've come a long way. We think the more choices people have the better product they will get," explained Harris.
James Germalic could not be reached for this story. He is also reportedly running for Congress on the Wisconsin ballot for current Speaker Paul Ryan's seat.