In their first joint appearance of the 2011 Kentucky gubernatorial election, Democratic Governor Steve Beshear and Republican state Senate President David Williams traded barbs on a range of issues at a forum Wednesday. The Kentucky Farm Bureau hosted the discussion, which covered a number of topics such as agriculture, tax and education policy, along with federal regulations and expanded gaming.
In their first joint appearance of the general election, Democratic Governor Steve Beshear and Republican state Senate President David Williams discussed their differing views on a range of issues at a forum Wednesday in Louisville. The Kentucky Farm Bureau hosted the discussion, which covered agriculture, tax and education policy. Williams said Beshear has not led on those issues and the commonwealth has fallen behind states such as Tennessee, which doesn't have a state income tax.
Two Western Kentucky congressmen said Tuesday that they had aligned themselves with a bill that would raise the debt ceiling while also cutting spending. The bill, known as “cut, cap and balance,” passed in the U.S. House on Tuesday night and now moves to the Democratic-controlled Senate, where it faces a much tougher road to passage.
A new CBS News poll shows average Americans aren’t pleased with anyone involved in the debt ceiling negotiations in Washington, but congressional Republicans are taking the brunt of the blame. The survey shows 71 percent disapprove of the GOP’s handling of the talks while 58 percent blame Democrats and 48 percent point the finger at President Barack Obama. Though the president received the lowest disapproval ratings, Mr. Obama’s negatives are still higher than his approval ratings on the matter.
Members of the Kentucky General Assembly’s Task Force on Elections are at odds over when to begin redrawing legislative districts based on the 2010 Census. It could either be done during a special session this year or during the regular session which begins in January. “It can be done relatively easy in about a five day session if everybody comes prepared with their plans, vote them up or vote them down, amend them if we have to. I truly believe we ought to have one probably in September or October,” says Senator Walter Blevins, an eastern Kentucky Democrat.
Democratic candidate for Kentucky Commissioner of Agriculture Bob Farmer is proposing four new regional offices to be placed throughout the state in order to provide better resources to residents and bring services closer to local farmers. “It just makes sense to have regional offices that specialize in those commodities in those regions and really be a voice to those local areas..” says Farmer campaign manager Matt Wyatt. “It’s really top down right now. You have to go to Frankfort. And we want to bring Frankfort out to the people.”
The Kentucky Farm Bureau will host Democratic Governor Steve Beshear and Republican gubernatorial candidate David Williams at a forum this Wednesday in Louisville. It will be the candidates’ first joint appearance since winning their respective nominations in the race for governor. The forum is being promoted as a dialogue where the two will share their visions for state agricultural interests. Board members will ask Beshear and Williams questions, but organizers have stressed this is not a debate.
The Kentucky attorney general’s office says Scott County Magistrate Bill Parker’s employment with Georgetown-Scott County Parks and Recreation is a conflict of interest. “It is our belief that it would be a conflict to hold both the position of fiscal court magistrate and work as an employee for a county parks and recreation board,” Aaron S. Ament, an assistant attorney general, wrote to Commonwealth’s Attorney Gordie Shaw.
Voters in Benham will in November, more than likely, face the ballot question of whether the city should sell its power board to Kentucky Utilities. At a Benham city council meeting Thursday, city officials discussed the dire situation that the board and the distribution system are in. “We buy our power from KU and then resell it. Our computer system being down meant that we went for four to five months without any bills going out or revenue coming in. It also meant that we went for months without making payments to KU,” Power Board Chairman Danny Quillen said.
Appearing on MSNBC’s “The Ed Show” Thursday, Congressman John Yarmuth, D-Ky., praised President Barack Obama’s work on the debt ceiling talks while criticizing Republican congressional leaders for being irresponsible during the negotiations as the federal government faces default on the August 2 deadline. Joined by Sen. Robert Menendez, D-NJ., Yarmuth blasted House GOP Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., for being reckless with his language and encouraging Tea Party members of the Republican conference to reject any proposal to raise the debt limit.
The campaign manager for independent gubernatorial Gatewood Galbraith has resigned. Blogger and political activist Ralph Long announced Friday he is leaving the campaign to pursue other interests, but he remains a supporter of the perennial candidate and running mate Dea Riley. “I may work in other political campaigns at some future date but there are no definite plans at this time,” he told Kentucky Public Radio via e-mail.
U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., questioned officials Wednesday as to how two Iraqi refugees made their way to Bowling Green before eventually being arrested on terrorism charges. In a hearing of the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, Paul said he believes the most serious threats of terrorism to the country come from travel, refugee and student visas.
Two of the three gubernatorial candidates debated in Covington Thursday afternoon – Republican State Senate President David Williams and independent candidate Gatewood Galbraith. Gov. Steve Beshear announced earlier in the week that a scheduling conflict would keep him from attending the debate at the joint conference of the Kentucky County Judge/Executives Association and the Kentucky Magistrates and Commissioners Association held at the Northern Kentucky Convention Center.
After denouncing the State Board of Elections for telling county clerks to approve voter registration cards that have “homeless” listed under the address, Republican Secretary of State candidate Bill Johnson has filed an ethics complaint Thursday against the panel and Secretary of State Elaine Walker.Last week, the Todd County businessman called on Walker to resign and has made the issue of homeless voters a centerpiece of his campaign against Democratic candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes, who supports the right of the homeless to list “place-to-place” under the address portion of the application.
Speaking on the Senate floor Thursday, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., delivered an ultimatum to congressional leaders and the American people when he stressed the far-fetched idea to pass a “Balanced Budget Amendment” to the U.S. Constitution in order to address the nation’s growing debt. The White House has already rejected the Tea Party-backed idea as part of debt ceiling negotiations, but McConnell pitched it as the only way to ensure the federal government has fiscal order.
Newly released jobs numbers show thousands of Kentucky’s construction workers may have to hang up their tool belts unless Congress can find more money for road construction. If the House passed budget becomes law, the Federal Highway Administration says nearly eight thousand construction workers in Kentucky would lose their jobs. Kentucky Republican Congressman Brett Guthrie says Democrats tried to create jobs with their $787-billion stimulus package and proved government spending cannot salvage an economy.
Calling for a real debate, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., went to the Senate floor Wednesday to defend his debt proposal to avoid the first-ever government default before the August 2 deadline. The McConnell option gives President Barack Obama new power to request increases of up to $2.5 trillion in three separate installments over the next year as long as they’re coupled with larger spending cuts.
Speaking to WHAS-AM radio personality Mandy Connell on Wednesday morning, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., defended his proposal to give President Barack Obama unilateral authority to raise the debt ceiling even if party leaders can’t agree on ways to reduce the debt moving forward. McConnell’s proposal gives the president the power to request increases of up to $2.5 trillion in three separate installments over the next year if they are coupled with larger spending cuts.
The U-S House is debating an energy spending bill that could be good for Kentucky’s coal industry, but it also has critics bristling. The legislation cuts one billion dollars from energy and water related spending… winding back investments in more fuel efficient vehicles and renewable energy programs. Those are intended to wean the nation off coal. Kentucky Republican Ed Whitfield says undoing some of the president’s green energy investments is good.
Focusing solely on his third presidential bid, U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, R-Tx., announced Tuesday he will not seek re-election for a 13th term in the House of Representatives. Observers contend Paul, who is the father of U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., is an excellent fundraiser who would have easily retained his seat despite redistricting, but the 75-year-old congressman felt it was time to move on and put his energy into one last bid for the White House.
The Washington Post blog The Fix says the Republican Governors Association‘s attack ad targeting Democratic Governor Steve Beshear in the 2011 Kentucky gubernatorial election is meant to assess whether Republican challenger David Williams has a chance this November. On Monday, the group launched the 30-second commercial criticizing the governor’s record in an effort to buoy Williams, who is trailing Beshear by 21 points in the latest poll.
The memo from the state board of elections about the process for homeless voter registration will factor in the race to become the next Kentucky secretary of state. Republican Secretary of State candidate Bill Johnson said he plans on filing legal action to challenge the state instructing county clerks to accept voter registration with an incomplete or non-existent address and place them in the precinct of the county clerk's office. A memo written by Kentucky Board of Elections Executive Director Sarah Ball Johnson to all county clerks on the procedure for the registration of homeless voters drew the objection of Boone County Clark Kenny Brown, who felt registering someone without a distinct location and precinct was illegal and could lead to voter fraud.
Speaking at the Kentucky Association of Conservation Districts in downtown Louisville Monday, Republican gubernatorial candidate David Williams told reporters Democratic Governor Steve Beshear needs to “man up” and stop dodging him at joint appearances. The governor has passed on attending two other forums with his GOP challenger that are scheduled for later this week. Beshear’s staff told the Lexington Herald-Leader he is unable to attend a panel discussion Tuesday at the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce’s annual meeting due to prior commitments.
Farm subsidies were once a sacred cow on Capitol Hill, but with the federal deficit soaring, Kentucky lawmakers say it’s time to reassess all federal spending. In the past sixteen years Kentucky received more than three billion dollars in farm subsidies. A lot of that was for crop insurance but more than one and a half billion dollars propped up corn and tobacco farmers…according to data from the Environmental Working Group. So, Kentucky Republican Hal Rogers says it’s a good time to reassess where federal dollars go.
The 131st annual Fancy Farm Picnic is coming up Saturday, Aug. 6 with a full slate of candidates running for office in Kentucky scheduled to speak. Mark Wilson, political chairman for the event at St. Jerome Catholic Church, says he expects close to 100 percent participation among the Commonwealth’s Washington delegation as well as among candidates running for state offices in the November General election set for Nov. 1.
Speakers for the 131st annual Fancy Farm picnic have been scheduled and organizers have confirmed candidates seeking statewide office and departing public officials will be in attendance. Time has even been set aside for any GOP presidential nominees running in 2012, but none are on the list—yet.