Kelli Pendleton speaks during a Trigg County Chamber of Commerce luncheon.

Kelli Pendleton talked taxes and the military during the Trigg County Chamber of Commerce’s Lunch & Learn event on Thursday at the Cadiz Renaissance Center.

Pendleton, executive director of the Campbell Strong Defense Alliance formed to promote workforce success in the area surrounding Fort Campbell, said taxes are one barrier to retaining soldiers and their families in the area once those soldiers leave the military.

“They’re just getting beat up on it so they will make the choice to just go over a mile or two down the road, and they won’t have to deal with that,” said Pendleton of taxes that impact a soldier’s military retirement, his civilian job as well as his spouse’s civilian job.

Pendleton urged her listeners to contact legislators voicing their support of a bill that will exempt retired military from income taxes.

The bill — Kentucky House Bill 37 — will exclude U.S. military retirees’ pension income from income taxation. This year marks the fifth time supporters are trying to get the bill passed, according to Pendleton.

She noted that the Kentucky General Assembly did several years ago exempt income taxes for active duty military.

Pendleton said that with 300 to 500 military exiting the service each month from Fort Campbell, that provides a large pool of people, not including military spouses, who will be of benefit in the region by living in local communities, getting jobs in those communities and making use of educational opportunities in the communities.

By choosing to settle in the region, they contribute to population growth and the economy in communities surrounding the post.

Pendleton said it’s also important to offer good educational opportunities and adequate housing to meet the needs of soldiers’ families.

Considering Trigg County, she noted that the local community offers hunting and fishing activities that are attractive to the soldiers.

“Many, many, many of them love to hunt and fish, and y’all have a perfect (location),” Pendleton noted. “It’s a great area. You’ve really got some great assets here.”

The director noted that the work of the defense alliance includes supporting the existing missions of Fort Campbell, advocating for modernization and improvements on post, attracting companies to the region, finding ways the community and post can work together to support the military and supporting employment transition services and workforce partnerships.

She noted that workforce is something capturing the attention of everyone, including the military.

The defense alliance got under way several years ago, originally funded with a grant.

Reach Tonya S. Grace at 270-887-3240 or

Reach Tonya S. Grace at 270-887-3240 or

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