Congressional candidates are two men with differing opinions

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William Adkins and Thomas Massie have been far apart in every way – from the polls to fund-raising to how closely they follow their party’s lines on their positions.

By Lisa King

They aren’t close in the polls, and they aren’t close in fund-raising.


And Democrat William Adkins and Republican Thomas Massie certainly don’t agree on how they would govern the Kentucky’s 4th Congressional district.

In fact, heading into November, the men vying for the open seat left vacant by resignation of 4-term incumbent Geoff Davis, aren’t close in any obvious way.

Adkins, a Grant County attorney, said he is not worried about his 44 percent in recent polls, compared to 56 percent for Massie, a former Lewis County judge-executive.

“The response I have received district-wide has been so positive from the debate Monday night, and the fact that I have worked much harder during the summer, I am still very encouraged,” he said. “I just walked into a rally here today in Boyd County, and the enthusiasm was so great. I just feel really good about it.”

Massie said he has gotten a good response during his campaigning also.

“It’s been going really great,” he said.

Even their backgrounds are quite different, although neither has a long political record.

Before being elected Lewis County judge-executive, Massie, 41, was an electrical engineer who invented a robotic program while at MIT and a small business owner, founding SensAble Technologies in 1993.

He moved from Massachusetts back to Lewis County, where he operates a cattle farm, with his wife of 18 years, Rhonda. He was first elected to public office in 2010, when he was elected county judge-executive.

Adkins, 56, has never held public office, other than what he describes as “an unenergetic run for city council” in 2010 in Williamstown. He has served as a criminal attorney for 13 years in Williamstown.

He has been a member of the Grant County Democratic Executive Committee for 12 years and has chaired the committee from 2008 to present. He lists his campaign goals as fighting for the rights of middle and working class Americans, with a mission to save Medicare and social security.

Adkins and Massie engaged in a debate forum on Monday night, aired on KET, their only such encounter so far, in which they expressed opposing views on several topics, including the role of government, spending, health care, abortion and the economy.

Adkins’ view on abortion is pro-choice, and Massie is pro-life.

They differed also on their views of the role of government, with

The follow party lines in their views on abortion, and in government’s role.

 “He is against government involving itself in business,” Adkins said. “I believe government can be proactive. The government is a component in promoting the economic well being of our nation. Job creation is a must. We have to put aside petty partisan differences.”

Said Massie:  “There’s a great owner’s manual for the federal government, and it’s called the Constitution.”

Massie said he doesn’t think the plans being discussed in Congress to cut the federal deficit are adequate.

“Half of the cuts would come to the military, and the other half will come from domestic spending,” he said. “These cuts would happen on Jan. 2. They amount to one hundred million dollars. We have a trillion-dollar deficit. Even if we implement these cuts, we only solve ten percent of the budget problem.”

During the debate, the two clashed about whether Massie had received nearly $170,000 worth of government grants when he was starting up a business after graduating from Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Massie was unavailable for comment about the matter when contacted about it by The Sentinel-News – he also declined to answer the question when it was posed post-debate byThe Courier-Journal –  but during the debate acknowledged receiving federal grants “to the extent that any company that does business with the federal government is a recipient of government funds.”

Adkins said the economy is the biggest issue in the election for voters.

“There are some social issues out there, of course, but people are most concerned about the economy and health care,” he said. “People are concerned about getting back to work, their future their education, and seniors.”

Massie agreed that those issues are foremost in peoples’ minds.

“People are concerned about jobs and the economy and debt and spending,” he said. “It doesn’t matter whether you’re talking to a Democrat or Republican, everybody wants Washington to balance the budget. These are things that have a lot of bipartisan support.

“I’ve been meeting lots of people, both Democrats and Republicans, who are still scratching their heads about why we’re still sending money to Libya, Egypt and Pakistan, sending them foreign aid when they’re attacking our embassies and attacking the people who helped find Osama bin Laden.”