Congressman Ernie Fletcher

Congressman Ernie Fletcher

Associated Press

In Support Of

Editor's Note: Both Kentucky gubernatorial candidates were posed the following question: "Why should the horse industry in Kentucky support you for governor?" Here is the response by candidate Ernie Fletcher.

By Ernie Fletcher -- The Kentucky horse industry is facing an unprecedented set of challenges that, over time, have the potential to undercut Kentucky's position as the nation's leading horse state, something our state can ill afford. While I do not see a scenario at this time where I could personally support expanding gaming in Kentucky, I do believe the choice should be put before the voters. I understand the challenges facing our horse culture in Kentucky and as governor I will take proactive steps to enhance and grow Kentucky's horse industry.

In Congress I have worked to address the issues facing our horse industry. I was the founding Chair of the Congressional Horse Caucus. Under my leadership, the caucus has supported numerous initiatives in Congress to protect and enhance the horse industry. I also worked in Congress to secure funding to help address mare reproductive loss syndrome.

As governor, I will continue to provide solid leadership for Kentucky's horse industry and ensure that folks with integrity, experience, and sound judgment lead the Kentucky Racing Commission. I will not treat this vital regulatory body as the governor's playground for political payoffs and patronages, as predecessors often have.

I will help ensure that horse farming remains economically competitive with other states. We will explore and pursue tax incentives and other incentive options to ensure the strength and growth of the Thoroughbred industry in Kentucky. I believe with an aggressive, forward-looking plan we can grow the horse industry in Kentucky by 50% and increase the number of stallions in the state.

Additionally, a Fletcher administration will support programs at the state's two research institutions that can significantly increase the economic impact of the horse industry. The Gluck Equine Research Center and the Diagnostic Disease Center play vital roles in protecting and enhancing the economic impact of the state's leading business. We will also take steps to increase the marketing emphasis on the horse industry by the Kentucky tourism industry.

I am proud of our horse heritage in Kentucky and would look forward to continuing my work on the important issues facing the horse industry.

Read Ben Chandler's response here