Politicians and political activists from around Kentucky will travel this weekend to the far western corner of the state and listen to candidates and political parties duke it out and set the tone for the rest of their campaigns. The 131st annual Fancy Farm Picnic in Graves County on Saturday will feature speeches from all the candidates for statewide offices. The rowdy atmosphere and spontaneous cheers and jeers the candidates endure during their stump speeches draws people to the picnic from across the state.
Kentucky Republican Senator Rand Paul was one of twenty six lawmakers to oppose a compromise that keeps the nation from defaulting on its debt. The legislation was passed with broad support in both chambers of Congress, but Senator Paul claims the more than two trillion dollars in budget cuts included in the deal are more fiction than fact.
After an unexpectedly strong, but ultimately unsuccessful, showing in May’s Republican gubernatorial primary, Louisville businessman Phil Moffett had been looking for ways to capitalize on what he calls “political capital.” Moffett apparently found it. The Bowling Green-based Bluegrass Institute for Public Policy Solutions announced Monday that it has tabbed Moffett as its next president and CEO.
A majority of Kentucky lawmakers assisted the US House in passing legislation to keep the government from defaulting on its loans. Lawmakers have gotten an earful from angry voters lately and that extended to the House floor. Nine protestors were arrested in the Gallery after chanting their opposition to the compromise measure on raising the nation’s debt ceiling.
House and Senate leaders prepared for possible votes Monday on the tentative deal to raise the government's debt ceiling and prevent a U.S. default. Both Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and the office of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) told NPR the votes could come as early as Monday evening, depending on the outcome of meetings with members. Both House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-KY) and Rep. Ben Chandler (D-KY) pledged their support. However, Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) promised to vote no.
The Louisville Courier-Journal concurred with Republican gubernatorial candidate David Williams in a weekend editorial, chastising Democratic Governor Steve Beshear for pretending to snub President Barack Obama during his recent visit to Kentucky.
Less than a week before the annual Fancy Farm picnic, a new poll shows Democratic Governor Steve Beshear with a crushing 24-point lead over Republican challenger David Williams in the Kentucky 2011 gubernatorial race. According to the survey of 512 likely voters, Williams, who is the state Senate President, has a likability problem that is holding him back among likely voters.
The US House and Senate still haven’t reached a deal on how to raise the nation’s debt ceiling, which has some Kentucky lawmakers worried that the nation is headed towards its first default. Kentucky Democratic Congressman Chandler says the far right wing of the Republican Party is to blame for the current impasse.
A Christian social justice group is running radio ads targeting Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., for neglecting Biblical teachings and the poor during the debt ceiling negotiations. The minute-long spot is paid for by Sojourners, a progressive coalition of Christians led by Rev. Jim Wallis, who led hunger strikes to oppose budget cuts earlier this year. The group produced three ads that are running in Kentucky, Ohio and Nevada to target congressional leaders. The group criticize GOP leaders over neglecting the needy while “protecting tax cuts for the rich and powerful” but also challenges Democrats to do more to protect social programs.
After mocking the Tea Party while discussing the ongoing debt ceiling negotiations Wednesday, Sen. John McCain, R-Az., is being pummeled by freshman members of Congress and activists for the remarks. The former Republican presidential candidate called activists associated with the movement “tea-party hobbits” while dismissing the possibility of a Balanced Budget Amendment passing the Senate.
Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels is urging members of his state’s federal delegation to support Speaker John Boehner’s plan aimed at averting the first default in U.S. history. What’s interesting is that Daniels, who served as Director of the U.S. Office of Management and Budget under former President George W. Bush, indicts his former administration when criticizing “past…overspending and future overpromising (sic)” in the federal government.
A group protested outside Sen. Rand Paul’s (R-KY) Louisville office on Tuesday. The protest was meant to raise awareness of a bill being considered by the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education Labor and Pensions, which Paul sits on. The legislation was drafted by Iowa Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA). It will help protect youth with disabilities from sub-minimum wage employment and will help them into the competitive workforce, Harkin wrote in an email.
Former Republican gubernatorial candidate Phil Moffett will be named the new president and CEO of the Bluegrass Institute for Public Policy Solutions, a conservative think tank in Kentucky. The Louisville businessman was heavily backed by tea party activists during the campaign and came in second to Republican nominee David Williams in the GOP primary, but not after upsetting the state Senate President in the state’s most populous counties.
Dismissing both plans as insufficient, U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., quickly released a statement opposing the dueling debt ceiling deals being proposed by House Republicans and Senate Democrats on Monday. The proposed deals being discussed today by House Republican and Senate Democrat Leaders do not make cuts to our debt. They do not solve our debt problems. They do not balance the budget, ever,” says Paul.
Keeping the pressure on Democratic Governor Steve Beshear, a group fronted by the Republican Governor’s Association has launched a second advertisement in support of gubernatorial candidate David Williams, highlighting the state Senate president’s toughness and personalizing unemployment in the state.
The newly-formed federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has the power to regulate payday loans. But a Kentucky lawmaker who has repeatedly attempted to cap payday loans says the feud in Congress over the bureau doesn’t make him confident that any progress will be made. State Senator Gerald Neal, D-33, has spent years trying to cap the annual interest for payday loans at 36 percent. That’s something the protection bureau could theoretically do…if it had a director. Currently, a Republican-led effort in the U.S. Senate has kept the president’s appointment to the bureau unconfirmed.
Independent gubernatorial candidate Gatewood Galbraith filed the necessary paperwork with the Kentucky Secretary of State’s office Thursday to be on the November ballot, but the perennial contender forgot to bring his campaign treasurer with him. Independent candidates must turn in at least 5,000 signatures to be placed on the general election ballot and Galbraith, who has run for governor four times before, carried 7,396 signatures with him. But state law also requires a candidate’s treasurer sign the proper documents as well.
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.