Hello, Reddit!

My name is Mike Broihier, and I am running for US Senate in Kentucky as a Democrat to retire Mitch McConnell and restore our republic.

As a Marine Corps officer, I led marines and sailors in wartime and peace, ashore and afloat, for over 20 years. I retired from the Marine Corps in 2005 and bought a 75-acre farm in the rolling hills of south-central Kentucky.

Since then, I've raised livestock and developed the largest all-natural and sustainable asparagus operation in central Kentucky. I also worked during that time as an educator and as a reporter and editor for the third oldest newspaper in our Commonwealth.

I have a deep appreciation, understanding, and respect for the struggles that working families and rural communities endure every day in Kentucky – the kind that only comes from living it. That's why I am running a progressive campaign here in Kentucky that focuses on economic and social justice, with a Universal Basic Income as one of my central policy proposals.

Here are some links to my Campaign Site, Twitter, and Facebook page.

To make sure I can get to as many questions as I can, I will be joined by /u/StripTheLabelKY , who will also be answering questions – this is Pheng Yang, our Team Broihier Digital Director.

Edit:

Thanks, everyone for submitting questions today. We will continue to respond to questions until the moderators are ready to close this thread. I'm very appreciative of the fact that you've taken time out of your day to talk with me. Hopefully, I got to your question or answered a similar one.

Defeating Mitch McConnell is not going to be easy, but it's hard work that I'm looking forward to. If you're interested in following our campaign, there are some places to do so above.

Mitch has quite the war chest, so if you're able, please consider donating at this link. Primary Day in Kentucky is on May 19.

V/R,

Mike Broihier

Comments: 2212 • Responses: 58  • Date: 

j123guapo1636 karma

Hi mike! So one of your contenders, Amy Mcgrath, has the largest funding of the democratic senate race in Kentucky right now. What’s your plan to gain exposure and ultimately win despite the deep pockets of some of your contenders?

MikeBroihier2585 karma

I just think you have to look at the example of Mike Bloomberg, who had infinite dollars and is now an ex-candidate.

If only there were a way for people across the country to ask questions online and let the candidate field them live...

I think something like that would really help my campaign.

blahfunk92 karma

Being from Kentucky I would think you're more worried about representing me instead of the country since that is a major flaw in McConnell 😔

MikeBroihier520 karma

That was an attempt at humor, but the reality is that exposure begets a platform that I can use to speak with Kentuckians. Poor representation on behalf of this Commonwealth is exactly why I'm running.

Mitch is saying it out loud: Kentuckians will suffer if he wins another term.

We cannot waste this opportunity in November by running the same kind of candidate against him that's lost for 35 years.

Mitch has never run against a farmer, or an educator, or a combat veteran. If you know Kentucky, you know there isn’t a soul here who doesn’t know a farmer, an educator, or a combat veteran.

I’ve been all three, and my ability to connect with Kentuckians is why I think I'm the right person to retire Mitch McConnell.

blahfunk126 karma

I'll vote for shit on a stick before I vote for him. He does not represent Kentucky anymore. However, freshmen senators have very little power, so the main platform any person would run on is that they think they can defeat McConnell.

As a voter, how is your approach any different from Amy's? Freshmen senators don't have much power so the second question is how good are you at compromising and building allies on both sides of the aisle so when you do have power you use it to get work done? How will you break up the gridlock?

But all that is moot if you can't defeat McConnell. What's different between you and Amy?

MikeBroihier139 karma

I came to Kentucky 15 years ago with my wife after getting out of the Marine Corps to start a farm. McGrath moved here to run for office.

Peacock-Shah424 karma

What is your preferred healthcare plan?

MikeBroihier1002 karma

I prefer a single-payer healthcare plan very similar to our Canadian neighbors. But, I see expanding ACA with a public option as the least disruptive path forward.

bearseascape397 karma

Hi Mike! What is your view on gun control in the United States?

MikeBroihier548 karma

[removed]

skultch236 karma

What is your response to those that fear the slippery slope of rights erosion? How will you ensure that new regulations aren't passed in the future after your current position feels normalized? Thanks for your time.

MikeBroihier516 karma

Ensuring due process in the language of a bill should prevent the type of erosion I believe you're referring to here. Courts are not as easily influenced by public opinion.

manifes7o349 karma

Hi, Mike!

First things first, wanted to say thanks for being here. Two questions for you:

1) Love him or hate him, Trump's November rally in Lexington drew an undeniably-large crowd of fervent supporters, eager to hear what he had to say. I don't think it's a huge logical leap to say that most, if not all, of this crowd plans to continue their support, by proxy, with a vote for Mitch.

Winning the KY seat means turning out the Dem vote but more crucially, I think, flipping GDP voters-- even moreso than Andrew's primary run. How do you convince that particular chunk of the electorate that they're not voting in their best interests without alienating them?

2) I reckon you've been working with Liam for a few weeks now. How's your impression of him? Lol

MikeBroihier569 karma

1) To your first point, Trump's attendance at November rallies failed to save an unpopular Governor. I can't see it saving an unpopular Senator. Part of the reason I ran was my unique resume as a retired veteran, former educator, and farmer. That redounds with a lot of Kentucky voters and makes me far more relatable than the other Dem candidates or Mitch. Also, as a rural newspaper editor, I developed the skills necessary to persuade rural voters without alienating them.

2) Awesome.

ullawanka200 karma

What is your policy position regarding right to repair legislation?

MikeBroihier432 karma

Tough question. Some people just want to fix/mod their stuff and others want access to source code and trade secrets. As a consumer I support open source software/firmware, and while I’ll go elbow deep into my farm truck our newer passenger car goes to the dealer. Crap answer I guess, but I think there is a danger in one size fits all legislation.

WithCheezMrSquidward181 karma

You have UBI In your platform. Do you think seeking out an endorsement from Andrew Yang could give you an edge? I’m sure he would be thrilled to see candidates for other offices take up the issue and he could probably bring you publicity/awareness.

MikeBroihier256 karma

I am not seeking an endorsement from anyone, but I'd absolutely take it. If you think Andrew Yang should endorse me, you can tell him by emailing him at [email protected]

NominalPerson176 karma

How has your life changed now that you’ve started campaigning? Good Luck! I’m rooting for you :D

MikeBroihier399 karma

My wife and I are very private people. For example, a couple weekends ago we had four social commitments in one night. We hadn't had four in the previous year.

Bro_Goals162 karma

What is your stance on the second amendment?

MikeBroihier203 karma

I've answered elsewhere but wanted to make sure you saw where I stand.

I believe in universal background checks for all transfers of firearms and red flag laws that are founded in due process.

IndecisiveShape160 karma

Hey I’ve just one question for you

Mike, will you get it done?

MikeBroihier194 karma

Yes.

AlternativeLawyer1148 karma

You argue that you can beat Mitch because he’s never run against a veteran. Isn’t Amy also a veteran though? What sets you apart from her?

MikeBroihier352 karma

He’s never run against McGrath either. I think the difference is that I came to Kentucky to farm and she came here to run for office. I’ve farmed here, taught school here and lived the rural Kentucky life for 15 years before declaring, Two months after she retired she was a candidate.

RogueLadyCerulean144 karma

Hi, Mike! My boyfriend is a Navy vet (Corpsman/Field Combat Medic) and I know he's sending you his best. Whatever happens, good luck this election!

As someone who lives outside KY (originally from California, now living in upstate NY) how much drive is there in the state to get rid of McConnell? It seems like people have wanted him out for ages, but have had problems getting the votes to boot him.

MikeBroihier246 karma

Tell your Corpsman to stay safe. They take a lot of crap from Marines but that just means we love them.

Re: Mitch, people here hate him too but we consistently run Republican-lites against him. Given that choice people are meh. I’m trying to give them a candidate that embraces Big D Democratic principles which were the heart of Kentucky not too long ago

seniorscrolls137 karma

My question for you Mike is how you plan on dealing with agriculture in the future. With a growing population and a changing climate I've done my own work to experiment with what farming can be in the 21st century. I've been able to grow a handful of crops in my basement, not a sophisticated environment for growing food. I've successful grown a stock of corn in a flower pot with a grow light. So my question to you is would you help farmers get into indoor aeroponics and aquaponics more to make farm lands more sustainable? You can grow more indoor because of verticality and it uses far less water. Can even be done with natural sunlight of course and no need for pesticides.

MikeBroihier311 karma

I think with UBI we are far more likely to maintain family farms, small farms, that contribute directly to local economy and provide greater food security, stopping the trends to megafarms and monoculture.

I'd much rather see fifty 50-acre farms than two 1200-acre farms. Higher food quality, greater food security, and better stewardship of the land and environment.

NH4CN97 karma

What most excites you about UBI, and what made you consider adopting it?

MikeBroihier253 karma

What most excites me about UBI is that it acknowledges the value of all work, whether it's on the clock or raising your family or caring for a relative. All work has value and all lives have value.

The foundation of my platform is social and economic justice. When I started my campaign, I saw them as two discrete things but grew to realize they are inextricably linked and therefore kind of backed into UBI as a solution in pursuit of both those goals.

BoisterousPlay95 karma

Where did you find the market for your asparagus?

MikeBroihier162 karma

Almost all goes to the Lexington area: farmers’ markets, farm to table restaurants and food co-ops.

Kneenaw92 karma

How do intend to start a real dialogue in communities that fear what you represent? If I were in your position, I would focus campaigning in the most rural areas of Kentucky. It's your job to remind them of the values our nation was founded on.

MikeBroihier207 karma

I'm from the country. My wife and I have farmed our place for the last 15 years. I edited the third-oldest newspaper in Kentucky, a rural weekly. My dialogue with them started a long time ago.

What I have found is you can sell progressive ideas in rural Kentucky if you are right, patient, and honest.

mrloube91 karma

Hi mike,

Maybe this is off-topic, but why asparagus?

MikeBroihier307 karma

It grows great in Kentucky.

You plant it once and it grows for 20-30 years.

It's not abusive of the soil – you're not constantly plowing the land and adding to erosion.

It sells like crazy at a good price.

And no one was growing it.

karma_kameoleon81 karma

Hi Mike! What is your stance on climate change?

MikeBroihier253 karma

It's a clear and present danger to our republic and to the world. The sooner we acknowledge and address it, the less impact it will have.

Luckily, facilitating a just transition to a green economy addresses climate change and Kentucky's economic needs.

hooklineandsinkers71 karma

What is "social and economic justice"?

MikeBroihier168 karma

We all, regardless of race, gender, creed or zip code, should have the opportunity and tools to live fulfilling lives where we have access to clean water and air, affordable utilities, healthy homes, affordable healthcare and quality and safe jobs that allow for our families and communities to thrive.

puffymustash62 karma

I love seeing politicians on here because it makes me as a young person feel actually connected to politics. How much of this kind of stuff do you do? Like, what (ish) percent of you campaigning is it?

MikeBroihier88 karma

This is my first AMA, it’s actually pretty exhausting but I like it.

MikeBroihier55 karma

Thanks, everyone for submitting questions today. I'm very appreciative of the fact that you've taken time out of your day to talk with me. Hopefully, I got to your question or answered a similar one.

Defeating Mitch McConnell is not going to be easy, but it's hard work that I'm looking forward to. If you're interested in following our campaign, there are some places to do so above. Mitch has quite the war chest, so if you're able, please consider donating. Primary Day in Kentucky is on May 19.

V/R,

Mike Broihier

shadow949439 karma

First, thank you for your service.

Second, I am a resident of Virginia, and we have seen a lot of animocity for the democratic party this year because of gun control proposals made by state representatives who have no clue how guns work in a state that is traditionally very pro gun.

As a former Marine Corps Officer, where is your cut off for gun control? Would you be willing to break away from the Democratic party's basic beliefs since you live in a heavily pro-gun state and stand up for the Second Amendment?

Finally, I am a die hard Republican, but McConnell has stood in the way of ANY progress any direction for either party. I wish you luck.

MikeBroihier57 karma

I support universal requirement for the NICS and favor red flag laws that emphasize due process, that is a warrant from a judge. Can’t tell you the number of people who are concerned that a neighbor who doesn’t like them getting their guns taken away off an anonymous call. I suspect my neighbor runs a meth lab, but the sheriff isn’t going in without a warrant, same for guns.

Bigfourth38 karma

Hey sir, what’s your METT-T Analysis of Mitch McConnell?

MikeBroihier76 karma

Mitch's unpopularity makes for favorable terrain

Owen_Quinn21 karma

Hello Mike, I am a fellow Kentuckian. What do you think about the news about the coronavirus in Lexington?

MikeBroihier41 karma

Well, it was inevitable that it would come to Kentucky.

Sadly, our county health departments – the front line prevention agencies for managing disease – are so-called "quasi's" whose pensions are repeatedly threatened by Frankfort. We expect them to prepare a budget and take risks to handle this virus, but legislators refuse to offer them decent pensions.

A couple of governors ago, when facing a pandemic flu, a governor said in regards to closing schools, "I wouldn't want to be the Superintendant that made that decision."

That's crappy leadership. What we need now is bold, decisive leadership from Washington and Frankfort. And that may involve making costly decisions or will ultimately protect the population.

WookieeSteakIsChewie21 karma

You had me at "Running to retire Mitch."

Where do I donate?

FlamingWhisk21 karma

I’m Canadian but our politics do impact each other.

What is your stance on immigration?

I can only go on my personal experiences of the States but I have always experienced and witness as us vs them. You are country built on the back of immigrants. My experience in Canada is that this view is that of a small minority.

MikeBroihier88 karma

We’ve lumped everyone attempting to enter the US into a scary mob. First, asylum seekers and refugees are protected under international treaties to which we are signatories so they need to be processed and accepted as quickly as possible. Second, we need to move quota generation for migrants, people who want to work here and go home, to labor organizations that know what skills the country needs. Lastly, I welcome anyone who wants to contribute to our country.

baddbrainss17 karma

Do you believe most war is a racket?

MorningDewbie14 karma

What's your stance on marijuana legislation in Kentucky and the potential impact on its economy?

MikeBroihier57 karma

I support legalizing marijuana for recreational and medicinal use. Kentuckians are already self-medicating with highly addictive and powerful opioids. People always self-medicate, I'd prefer they did it with a non-addictive, non-lethal, naturally derived substance.

As to the economy, we've seen the disastrous rollout of hemp production in Kentucky - where the only people making money are investors and middlemen. I'd like to follow our traditional tobacco share model to ensure that farmers have guaranteed access to markets and the most money isn't made by those who own the seed-stock and processing plants.

componentm14 karma

Hi Mike. I wish you luck in this campaign, bud. You're going to need it! I've lived in eastern KY almost my entire life, and the entire time I have heard nearly everybody I meet complain about how Mitch is terrible...and then they go vote for him.

What is your outreach plan for the southeast portion of the state? Pretty much the only ads we get down here are for Mitch.

MikeBroihier24 karma

A handshake and a conversation is far more effective than an advertisement. I'll be travelling to all parts of the Commonwealth to make the case for why it's time we retire Mitch McConnell.

quidpropron11 karma

Hello Mr. Broihier, I guess I'll go for a paragraph. What is your personal stance on climate change/global warming? How does it affect your thoughts personally? Do you stress about it ever? Not at all? Is it something you'd rather leave to scientists to figure out, or do you think politicians need to be involved? And then as follow up, what would be coolest thing, to you, that you would like to do if or when your elected? Thanks for reading, and if you respond, thanks for that too. Best of luck to you.

Edit: words

MikeBroihier28 karma

Scientists are working hard on climate and hoping we catch up. Climate change is an existential threat that will have long-lasting effects if we fail to act. It's one of many reasons why Mitch McConnell has to go.

Transitioning to a just and green economy will not only help us avert some of climate change's worst effects, but it will also create jobs and economic growth in Kentucky.

grassfeeding9 karma

Mike, As a fellow farmer, I’m sure you have experienced the change we’re all facing in weather and climate patterns. We in agriculture have the unique ability to store carbon in soil through grazing management, cover crops, adopting lower input practices coal longer rotations, etc.

If you are elected will you pursue policy to encourage regenerative practices? Placing a value on soil carbon capture is a great place to start, but incentivizing the use of legumes and small grain in rotations can be of great value as well. We need to find a way to get diversity back into our landscapes, and I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.

MikeBroihier16 karma

Absolutely.

LoudFootSteps8 karma

Hi Mike, thank you for having this AMA! Presidential candidate Andrew Yang chose not to pursue a $15 federal minimum wage increase as the effective increase in labor costs would hasten the adoption of automation. I understand that you support a $15 minimum wage. Do you have specific reasons for disagreeing with Yang on this point?

MikeBroihier24 karma

In a state that is "right-to-work" we have destroyed the ability of workers to organize and demand real wages, living wages. The only thing legislators seem to want to address is the minimum wage. It would be nice if we could instantly transition to a just economy envisioned by Yang, but until that happens, people have to pay their bills.

DropofCrumb8 karma

Hey, Mike! It seems to me that the education system is failing to prepare many student's for jobs of the future, and push college onto students that don't benefit from it. How would you feel about subsidizing and incentivising high schools that allow introductions to trades such as welders, electritions, plumbers, farmers, ect? Furthermore, how would that be funded and assessed?

MikeBroihier19 karma

You’re spot on. Too much emphasis on “college” and less on enabling young people to pursue training and education that leads them to satisfying futures. I’ve proposed a rewrite of federal student loan programs that finance all pursuits at accredited institutions whether it’s for a skill, trade or degree at or near zero percent. I absolutely support vocational training in secondary education.

Gayloser277 karma

Great call doing an AMA, I'm a Kentucky voter and haven't seen your name up yet. Very excited to see support for a UBI.

I hear Charles Booker is supporting a Green New Deal. As a farmer and prospective senator, what role do climate discussions have in your campaign?

MikeBroihier6 karma

Well, you can talk about something or you can live it. We’ve farmed for 15 years using sustainable practices which are unquestionably less profitable but the benefits are higher quality food, biodiversity and a healthier environment. I talk about climate change as it relates to Kentuckians in the sense that we can save the family farm and the planet at the same time

RustyCrustyy5 karma

Whats your stance on medical and recreational marijuana?

MikeBroihier17 karma

I support legalizing marijuana for recreational and medicinal use.

src445 karma

Hello sir .Thank you for the ama.

Q) what are your thoughts on encouraging agroforestry ? How receptive are Kentucky farmers especially small scale farmers in adopting agroforestry techniques ?

Do you think UBI and additional grants can shift farmers adopting agroforestry more ?

Thank you.

MikeBroihier10 karma

Years ago we put about 20 acres into the KDF Forestry Improvement Program and it’s worked great, the canopies are better the forest floors are more open, but I know we’ll never have the heart to harvest it. I prefer sustainable agroforestry mostly because it has a minimal impact on erosion and subsequent stream degradation

RadeonXenon4 karma

The election of Governor Beshear showed that Democratic values -when conveyed as kitchen table issues - can win in Kentucky even in the face of ardent Trump support and backing. Moving forward, I think the KDP needs to do serious grassroots building to ensure democrats can continue to win across the state. What do you see as the future of the Democratic party in Kentucky? Do you see Democrats reclaiming Western Kentucky, a traditional Democratic stronghold?

MikeBroihier6 karma

I was at the KDP election after-action meeting which was very self-congratulatory and barely acknowledged the grassroots work that pushed Beshear over the top and ignored the total failure of the down ballot. The NKY model of relentless door knocking, house parties and outreach will translate well into WKY.

EspressoLove5173 karma

What is the absolute biggest threat brought upon by Sen. McConnell?

MikeBroihier7 karma

Probably stacking the federal bench. Trump will go, McConnell will go but I won’t outlive the u qualified and ideologically driven judges to whom he’s given life appointments.

dubs17043 karma

Hi Mike! I’m a big supporter of UBI. What do you say to those that are on the fence/skeptical about it?

MikeBroihier12 karma

Show them the data! Talk about the success of resource-rich countries with sovereign wealth funds. Talk about Alaska. And, explain that in those instances, individual productivity, liberty, and satisfaction have increased without destroying budgets.

Ghost_Nation033 karma

Thoughts on Medical Marijuana possibly coming to Kentucky? As a resident the thought excites me, and I’d love to hear your opinions.

MikeBroihier11 karma

I support legalizing medicinal and recreational marijuana. Many Kentuckians are self-medicating on powerful and addictive opioids. A safe, non-addictive and natural alternative should be available.

CuntfaceMcgoober3 karma

Hey Mike, as a Marine officer (sounds like you were an officer for ~20 yrs based off of your ending rank) it was part of your job to follow the UCMJ and make sure your troops followed it. Two very important tenets of the UCMJ are the separation between the military and politics, and the obligation to follow the international laws of war

Given Trump's authoritarian tendencies and the attack on the integrity of our military (among many other institutions), I have two very urgent concerns:

-how does an aspiring officer (Army) such as myself safeguard the non political nature of the military and the laws of war from a commander in chief (hopefully it's someone else by the time I commission) who seems devoted to undermining these principles?

-In what ways can you use a victory over mitch McConnell to hold Trump more accountable for his attacks on our military specifically and our institutions in general?

MikeBroihier6 karma

You can look to the example of Alexander Vindman. Follow the rules, tell the truth, refuse to follow illegal orders and accept the consequences.

A different Senate Majority Leader would hopefully handle illegal activities by any president differently than McConnell

Snowdaysarethebest3 karma

Mike, I’d love to hear more about how you think UBI should be rolled out and how you think it would impact folks in rural areas in Kentucky?

MikeBroihier2 karma

The great thing about a UBI, as Andrew Yang often says, is that when we spend money in our local economy it doesn't just vanish. It goes to pay the wages of people in your community, who will, in turn, spend it locally again. I think rural Kentucky, where main streets are too often shuttered, is one part of the country that could gain most from a universal basic income.

JakobKnight2 karma

How do you feel about the general ineffectiveness of the senate and what do you think would be the most beneficial way to remove the extreme partisanship inside of it?

MikeBroihier11 karma

I don't think the founders ever conceived that the delicate balance of power they described in our constitution would be stymied by a single avaricious and selfish man. Mitch McConnell has managed to expose the fundamental flaw in our system that assumed, for the most part, that those elected would serve first the nation before their party or themselves.

I'm confident that McConnell is an anomaly and ridding the republic of him will be a system restart.

mugwump4ever2 karma

Good luck Mike, we need to get McConnell out of the senate. Maybe I missed it somewhere, but who are you endorsing in the primary?

MikeBroihier6 karma

All my first choices are out, I’m going to wait until they pick VPs.

CupOBeverage2 karma

As a gay resident of Ky, I feel compelled to ask.. what is your experience with the LGBT community? Would you help bring a fairness ordinance to the state?

MikeBroihier4 karma

I stood up against 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' as a newspaper editor in rural Kentucky, and I'd do it again. I had to explain what I wrote to many people, but if you're right, you're patient, and you're honest, you can communicate well with folks in rural places and show them what you see.

Gene_Yuss1 karma

I am curious how you stand on socialism to bolster the majority of American people?

MikeBroihier1 karma

I do not support a system where the government owns the means of production.

AshineB1 karma

Hi Mike! Happy Birthday! As far as election interference goes what are your thoughts regarding hand counted voting? Also, if Coronavirus interferes with our voting, what are your suggestions to make sure we all get a counted vote?

MikeBroihier1 karma

Actually, it might be the same answer to both questions. Heard today that Wash State is going to an all mail primary. The definition of a part trail...I’m warming up to the idea.

ourmanflint1-1 karma

We spoke a few months ago (I'm in California and donated) Your video "Labels" should have garnered millions of views. If anyone would like to see it here is a link https://youtu.be/uuwJxze39N4 Are you going to be running this in ads?

MikeBroihier1 karma

I am. I had a digital media team that just refused to integrate videos in email so I replaced them.

yashoza-2 karma

Hi Mike. A common source of confusion it seems is what district voters are in (does not apply to you), why the position is important (I still don’t know what a governor is or does, or what a comptroller is), when the voters are supposed to vote, and where they are supposed to vote. Finding out this information may require more than a 10-second effort since it seems there is no centralized national database for this. Do you think ads and signs should include this information for on-the-spot education?

MikeBroihier1 karma

Most voting laws these days seem intent on suppression. Kentucky is trying to move driver licensing out of the counties and into the state capital with mobile licensing teams roaming the state on some kind of schedule. Of course, this is coupled with legislation to make that ID your voting card. I’m for any plan that makes voting easy, accurate and accountable.