Politics

With less than three weeks until Election Day, the head of Louisville’s chamber of commerce is still wrestling with who to support for president.

“I am truly an undecided voter,” said Kent Oyler, president and CEO of Greater Louisville Inc., during an interview earlier this week.

Oyler, a registered Republican, said Donald Trump is making it difficult for people to maintain confidence in the GOP ticket.

Controversy surrounding Trump is peaking. His suggestion of a “rigged” election has drawn jeers from both sides of the political spectrum.

Oyler said such a notion is “absolutely ridiculous.”

And outrage erupted earlier this month after video footage surfaced of Trump admitting to sexually assaulting women. Since, over a dozen women have accused Trump of inappropriate sexual conduct.

Trump denies the allegations and is taking the offensive. He’s derided his accusers and condemned reporters of conspiring to “rig” the election in favor of Democrat Hillary Clinton.

“I wish he would stick to the issues,” Oyler said.

Greater Louisville Inc. is an entity focused on growing the regional economy through job growth and business competition. The group pushes for policies aimed to grow the area’s workforce, which includes supporting immigration regulations that “welcome and encourage top talent to settle” in Kentucky, according to their 2016 legislative agenda.

The group also pushes for English as Second Language programs to be “adequately funded” from primary to postsecondary institutions, per the agenda.

Trump is calling for strict immigration policy that includes expanding the U.S. Border Patrol force and erecting a physical wall between the United States and Mexico.

His critical stance on trade policy led to the head of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to say Trump “has very little idea about what trade really is,” according to a report from the New York Times.

And in a recent Washington Post op-ed, Thomas Donohue, chief executive of the U.S. Chamber, said Trump’s call to increase tariffs on Chinese and Mexican products would “decimate millions of high-wage American jobs and slam families trying to make ends meet.”

Oyler supports a conservative, deregulated approach to business. If Trump would bring such policies to pass, Oyler said it “would be a positive thing.”

“I’m sure he would bring some other baggage with him, as well, though,” he said.

In the past, Oyler has financially supported both Republicans and Democrats running for office, including the contribution of $3,000 to the campaign of Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer, state campaign finance records show.

Pressured to pick a candidate, Oyler said he may opt for an independent candidate or elect to write-in his vote.

“This is a tumultuous time,” he said.

Jacob Ryan is a reporter for the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting.