Velvet Dowdy (Democrat)

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?

Yes, I will.

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?


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?

I think land use is a local decision. Within the city limits of Henderson there exists farms or portions of farms, and these areas are exempt from city taxes because it is important to our local farmers and our local economy, just like the horse industry is important to those local economies. I will support local land use decision making as a State Representative.

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?

Solar panels do not have to take up valuable farmland or grazing land. Solar panels can be located on the top of existing structures, and on structures created for that purpose. There are solar panels that can even be placed on the shoulders of major highways and interstates. For this reason, these decisions can and should be made at the local level. I am a huge supporter of solar power as the way we move forward in energy production, but we also must protect our farmland and our family farmers. I am so adamant about this because I was raised on a family farm, and I understand how difficult local, state, and national policies can impact the ability of a farming family to make a living in this industry.

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?

Yes to all. I’m still wondering why our current legislature has not supported this issue. We are losing tax revenues to surrounding states. This revenue could be used to help us continue to support education and replace failing infrastructure throughout the state. I’m all in for sports gaming in Kentucky.

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?

Absolutely. If we are not benefiting as a state from these machines, why is this allowed? We benefit from lottery tickets, bingo parlors, and horse racing, so why are we exempting this? I will support removing this exemption from these machines.

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?

Absolutely. I don’t know a great deal about horses, but I personally know of one student who plans to make it her career path. I was teaching chemistry in the 2020-2021 school year that was greatly impacted by the pandemic. During our time when we were in a hybrid schedule, one of my students was training to be a horse trainer at a farm in Florida. She did her work remotely, and had a very hectic schedule. I kept her and her mother updated on her progress, and she did well because she is a smart young lady and highly motivated. Since Lexington Kentucky is the horse capital of the world, I think we should offer students here in the Commonwealth the opportunity to pursue their dreams that involve the horse industry. I am always going to be a champion of training opportunities for students. I spent 32 years in education advocating for students and encouraging all of them to chase their dreams–whatever they might be.

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?

Absolutely. If we want to grow our economy, attract new job opportunities and revenue, we have to attract large events and the publicity that these events bring. Kentuckians love our state and we have to provide opportunities for the rest of the world to love it too.

About the Candidate

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

I am the mother of 2 grown children, and Grammy to my two month old grandson. I am a dog mom to Sadie, and a member of Henderson Rotary Club, Henderson County Retired Teachers, Henderson County Democratic Executive Committee, Henderson County Democratic Women’s Club, Holy Name Church, and the Mayor’s PFAS Task Force. I have been previously endorsed by Tri County Labor Council, CWA and IUE-CWA 83761. I’m pursuing other endorsements, and have a real shot at winning this seat. My website is Thank you for sending me this questionnaire.