James Peden (Republican)

Tax Policy

Existing tax exemptions are critical to maintaining Kentucky as the place to do business for the horse industry and growing the nearly 80,000 jobs supported by our industry. These exemptions include sales tax on veterinary and pharmaceutical services for equines, the sale of horses to out-of-state buyers and equine boarding services.

Will you continue supporting tax exemptions like these that are proven to have a positive impact on the state?


Due to a decision made by the legislature several decades ago, there is currently a confusing and burdensome division in sales tax policy on livestock feed and supplies depending on whether a farmer is purchasing for their equines or for other types of livestock. For equines, sales tax is required. For other livestock, the purchase is exempt from sales tax. KEEP has long called for tax parity for equines, which would be especially beneficial to smaller businesses. In 2017, the Kentucky legislature formally broadened the definition of livestock to include equines.

Would you support tax parity and extend the sales tax exemption on feed and supplies to all livestock, including equines?

On feed – yes. On supplies, I would need to see a specific list and their uses.

Land Use Policy

In a recent legislative session, legislation was proposed that would allow the state to supersede local governments’ land use ordinances. KEEP believes that land use and its economic impact is not a one-size-fits-all issue and local governments should maintain their ability to make land use policy. In counties like Fayette and Woodford, horse farm land is the lifeblood of the economy. Without local consideration and protections, that economy could evaporate overnight.

What is your position on local land use decision-making, particularly as it applies to the horse industry?

As Louisville Councilperson who used to have 50% open land in my district, I can say our planning commission will say yes to anything, good or bad. Open land is disappearing at an alarming rate. So if you are looking at farmland preservation, total local control is not the panacea it seems. Fayette local control may preserve land currently but builders will eventually get the right combination of council members and things will tilt. There needs to be a combination of controls and the ability for state and local legislators to weigh in at the beginning of a project and some actual credence given to existing neighbors and uses. Currently KRS 100 allows none of those things. I want to preserve existing farmland but current laws give little power to say no, not only to the project overall but even to architecture or design that would preserve some green space or provide for extended buffers to neighboring livestock

Similarly, during the last legislative session, there was an effort to give control over siting for industrial solar facilities to a state commission, rather than local communities. This would also impact Kentucky’s limited horse farm land. Additionally, many of the issues with industrial solar facilities may not be felt until the decommissioning process decades down the road.

What is your position on whether industrial solar siting should be made at the local level?

Please see my above answer for added perspective. Again, this should require multi layer control where all levels of government have equal say. If a project clears everyone’s concerns like effects on neighboring farms, aesthetics, view from the road, wildlife and responsibility for disposal at decommissioning then maybe its ok. But any legislative body at any level should be able to bring forth concerns and have them addressed and no single body should have a monopoly on decisions for projects of this magnitude

Sports Wagering and Expanded Gaming

Sports wagering is now legal or is pending in all but 14 states, including in 6 states that border Kentucky. KEEP believes that legal sports wagering in Kentucky could have a positive impact on our horse industry, especially with how the legislation was previously drafted in Kentucky to include the industry. Gaming issues like sports wagering may come before the legislature.

Would you be supportive of legalized sports betting that would provide economic investment and jobs in your district?


In 2021, Kentucky saw a proliferation of “skill games” across the state. These slot-like machines are unregulated, not taxed, and pose a threat to the legal, regulated gaming options provided by charitable gaming operators, the Kentucky Lottery, and Kentucky’s horse industry.

Would you support the elimination or regulation of “skill games” in Kentucky?


Elimination-perhaps provided proposed law did not have unintended consequences with other industries and entertainment venues

Job Training and Workforce Development

Over the past four years, KEEP has worked in partnership with the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce Foundation to create a Talent Pipeline Initiative focused on how to fill the needs of the horse industry’s demand for labor and how to bring more Kentuckians into the industry.

As Frankfort considers the importance of job training and workforce development programs, will you commit to including the horse industry in those conversations?

Yes, absolutely

Equine Events

In 2010, the Kentucky Horse Park hosted the World Equestrian Games. This event successfully showcased the “Horse Capital of the World” on the global stage. However, in the 12 years since that event, Kentucky has not bid on hosting other large-scale events.

Would you encourage the state to bid on international events and return a spotlight to the Commonwealth?

Yes. Interested to know why we have not bid on other large scale events.

About the Candidate

Please submit any additional info or comments below. Thank you for your time.

Having a family farm in Barren County and living in Louisville, I have the opportunity to bring a unique perspective to the legislature of both a rural and urban nature. I would appreciate your support.