By: Diego Perez
State Representative Steve Riley was invited by AP U.S. Government teacher Matt Gardner to talk about serving in the Kentucky House of Representatives, bills he passed, the legislating process,campaigning, and answering some questions posed by the students.
|Riley speaks with Gardner’s first period AP Government and Politics class Monday.|
Riley said he did not originally plan to run for the House after his retirement as principal of Barren County High School. After several months of peer pressure and having the sense to still serve the community, however, Riley gave in. Riley also said that the similarities between being a principal and a representative is he deals with people all the time and has to hear what their issues are along with making a decision that can best suit both parties. However, he also said that he is one out of a hundred representatives of Kentucky therefore he does not as much influence as a principal would in a school.
Riley serves on three committees: Economic Stimulus, Family and Health, and Education. With the new General Assembly, Riley said he helped Kentucky gain $11 billion (this is only counting the new industry in the Commonwealth.)
Since in office, Riley passed one hundred and eight bills in the House; three of those have been bills he created. He successfully passed four bills in the House but one of them did not get passed in the Kentucky Senate; however, Governor Matt Bevin did create a legislation that did have Riley’s bill in it. Some of the bills he voted to pass he wasn’t a hundred percent sure on because although he was looking at it from the view of the benefit for Barren County and the Commonwealth as a whole, some would be losing something in return.
Students had to create two questions to ask Riley to address and answer some of their concerns or confusions. Some of the questions involved included how more benefits to youth in foster care are being addressed, how being a principal has affected his ability in office, etc. The question that came up the most was the pension crisis; several students asked about it and Riley answered one of them by giving the background of the crisis and how Kentucky got into the mess several years ago.
With the Kentucky General Assembly trying to find solutions for the Commonwealth’s issues, Riley still shows his love for his home and his desire to further educate the Trojans by talking with the community.