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WKYT Fact Check: Barr-Hicks debate

Published: Oct. 6, 2020 at 5:27 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - A fiery debate between Kentucky Congressman Andy Barr and Democratic challenger Josh Hicks squared off in a fiery debate Monday night hosted by WKYT and the League of Women Voters:

The two men vying for votes in the 6th Congressional District gave heated answers to key issues like health care and policing.

Each one fired off accusations, that we think, need some explanation.

Let’s start with healthcare.

“What you have chosen to do in your professional life, is sue doctors and frontline healthcare workers right in the middle of a pandemic and tie them up," Rep. Andy Barr said. You’re also suing Johnson & Johnson, a pharmaceutical company that is developing a vaccine for COVID-19.”

“$537-million judgement in Oklahoma for poisoning that state," Josh Hicks said. "How many has the opioid manufacturers in this state? And how many have given you money?”

“See this is the problem with trial lawyers,” Barr said.

Hicks is an attorney, and his firm does have a pending lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson. According to our news partners at the Herald-Leader, the lawsuit has to do with a defect on medical equipment, it is not related to COVID-19.

You heard Hicks mention opioids in his rebuttal.

He claims Barr hasn’t done anything to stop overdose deaths.

“Eight years in Congress, overdose deaths still at record highs. Eight years in Congress, still nothing happening," Hicks said. "He talks a lot about what he will do, and I guarantee you if we let him 20 years from now he’ll be standing here telling us what he will do again if we just give him a little more time. You’ve had eight years, six years in the majority, two years where your party controlled every lever of power and what we’ve gotten is a bunch of talk.”

Barr says he has passed bipartisan legislation to provide transitional housing. He helped create a working group to give grants to non-profits, and he says he helped four counties in the district get a drug-trafficking designation for further help with recovery.

Another accusation coming from Barr was on safety and police.

“One thing we don’t need to do is defund the police, defund law enforcement, which is what my opponent would enable in Washington, D.C. with the party of Nancy Pelosi which just last week voted to defund police law enforcement,” Barr said.

Hicks talked about his membership in the Fraternal Order of Police.

“And I certainly don’t agree that we need to defund the police. In fact, in the president’s last budget, what was it, $430 billion removed from police and local services that would benefit police? I didn’t vote for that budget, would never have supported that budget,” Hicks said.

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