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.
A civil rights organization known for monitoring right-wing hate groups nationwide has listed U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., on its list of “extremist” candidates who ran for public office in 2010. The Southern Poverty Law Center compiled the list of 23 candidates, which includes prominent neo-Nazis, neo-Confederates, white supremacists, Klu Klux Klansmen, militiamen and Holocaust deniers.
Last week, Lexington Mayor Jim Gray made good on a promise to veto parts of the city budget approved by the Urban County Council. This week it’s the council’s turn to respond. At Tuesday’s work session, council members received advice from attorneys on their options for overriding Mayor Gray’s vetoes, which took effect last Friday. Some of the items will require a simple up or down vote, but others, such as the restored 10% cut in arts and charitable programs, could be voted on individually, though the council lacks the authority to reduce the amount of the cuts. For now, Lexington Vice Mayor Linda Gorton says council members are remaining relatively tight-lipped about their plans.
The Republican Party of Kentucky's leadership on Thursday hoped to dispel concerns raised by some tea party members and said they don't have plans to delay the state GOP's re-organization from 2012 to 2013. Tea party activist David Adams this week released a statement urging tea party supporters to oppose efforts to delay Republican Party elections of local and state officers by a year. Adams said the delay would keep tea party supporters out of the GOP leadership until after the presidential election.
Kentucky’s Republican senators are joining forces with the rest of their conference and are planning to force a vote on a balanced budget amendment. Freshman Kentucky Senator Rand Paul says the nation’s more than fourteen trillion dollars in debt poses more of a risk to the U-S than terrorists.
Today on the US Senate floor, a lawmaker accused Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell of hypocrisy. As WEKU’s Matt Laslo reports, the Senate Minority leader was accused of giving special tax treatment to the thoroughbred industry.
Friends and family of Amanda Ross expressed relief Tuesday that in pleading guilty to Ross's murder, former lawmaker Steve Nunn had taken responsibility for his actions and spared everyone a long and painful trial. "I hope this will bring some peace to Amanda's mother and family," said Terry McBrayer, a Frankfort lobbyist and a friend of the Ross family. "At best, the trial would have been long and sordid. This might be the first day to start healing."
The debate over raising the nation’s debt ceiling continues to dominate discussions on Capitol Hill. And, as WEKU’s Matt Laslo reports from Washington DC, the Kentucky congressional delegation isn’t too keen on raising the nation’s borrowing limit unless serious spending cuts are included.
Calling the report a “whitewash”, the campaign manager for independent gubernatorial candidate Gatewood Galbraith believes the audit of the Kentucky Retirement Systems leaves more questions unanswered. On Tuesday, State Auditor Crit Luallen found no evidence of wrongdoing in the retirement agency, but did raise concerns about the use of placement agents, who act as middlemen to secure investments from entities like the KRS. The report found New York placement agent Glen Sergeon had “an unusually close working relationship” with former KRS chief investment officer Adam Tosh, who resigned last summer.
For the 131st annual Fancy Farm picnic, organizers have plucked longtime Democratic Marshall County Judge Executive Mike Millerto host the event, which marks the unofficial start of the Kentucky general election this fall. The Graves County sideshow is scheduled for August 6 and is expected to be heavily attended due to the 2011 gubernatorial race between Democratic incumbent Steve Beshear and Republican challenger David Williams, but candidates in other statewide races have also been invited.
The Democratic candidate for Agriculture Commissioner in November’s election, Bob Farmer, should not expect any open arms if he comes to Harlan County, according to Harlan County Judge-Executive Joe Grieshop, following the controversy that has caused several elected top Democratic officials in eastern Kentucky to declare Farmer unwelcome in their county.
Congressman John Yarmuth of Louisville is among a bi-partisan group of House lawmakers who signed a letter to President Obama urging him to begin a “significant and sizable” reduction in U.S. forces in Afganistan starting next month. The president will detail his troop drawdown plan in an address to the nation tonight. Defense officials have said that Mr. Obama plans to call for an initial withdrawal of 5,000 troops, followed by 5,000 more by the end of the year.
Manchester voters approved package alcohol sales in the city in a special election Tuesday. The measure passed by a margin of 381 votes to 249, according to County Clerk Michael Baker. Turnout for the controversial measure was about 42 percent — 630 of 1,495 eligible voters went to the polls.
The Harlan Tourist & Convention Commission on Tuesday approved new guidelines and rental contracts for catered events at the Harlan Center. Earlier this month, the Harlan Center became the first establishment licensed to serve alcohol by the drink in the city.
Candidates in the 2011 Kentucky gubernatorial race all agree religion shouldn’t play a role in the campaign, but that doesn’t mean former Louisville Mayor Jerry Abramson’s Jewish heritage won’t be an issue in rural parts of the commonwealth. With Kentucky’s Jewish population less than one percent, anti-Semitic sentiments in the state have been whispered behind the scenes as a potential handicap for the lieutenant governor candidate, who is running with Democratic Governor Steve Beshear in the fall election.
Flexing their fundraising muscles, the campaign to re-elect Democratic Governor Steve Beshear announced it has raised $1.5 million for the general election, giving the incumbent a comfortable war chest in the contest against Republican gubernatorial candidate David Williams and independent Gatewood Galbraith.
U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., was expected to be in Bowling Green today to discuss with local officials the recent arrests of residents on terrorism allegations, hours after Gov. Steve Beshear joined several state politicians in endorsing McConnell’s call to send the men to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, for a military trial.
A day after his Republican opponent charged he lacked the courage to do so, Democratic Governor Steve Beshear has issued a statement calling for the two Iraqi nationals facing terrorism charges to be sent out of Kentucky. On Wednesday, state Senate President David Williams challenged Beshear and House Speaker Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, to join him and U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky,, who initially demanded Waad Ramadan Alwan and Mohanad Shareef Hammadi be sent to the controversial military base to be tried as enemy combatants.
The U.S. Department of Justice released a statement this morning challenging a call by U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., to send the two Bowling Green men arrested on terrorism charges to the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, instead of trying the men in federal court. “We are prosecuting these two alleged terrorists in federal court because it is the most proven method for keeping our country safe,” the Department of Justice statement said.
Lynch Mayor Taylor Hall and several Lynch City Council members have accused Harlan County Judge-Executive Joe Grieshop of criminal coercion. The accusations were aired at a special called city council meeting Tuesday and comes following a meeting between Hall and Grieshop, that was held Monday. “I plan on talking to the Commonwealth Attorney’s office about what was said at the meeting,” said Hall. “Criminal coercion is when you take or threat to omit action unless someone else is changing what they are doing or saying. When you say to us, that we will negotiate with the coal companies or not receive any money through the fiscal court, I think that is paramount to criminal coercion.” Grieshop denies the accusations.
Author Wendell Berry has long protested mountaintop removal, the controversial coal mining method. When Berry spoke at a rally in February in Frankfort, he urged others to continue protesting beyond just one day a year. Little did he know, a local group would take his message to heart – and two months later do just that. For the past eight weeks, environmental activists have set aside one day a week to stage day-long protests outside the governor’s office in the Capitol.
Responding to the pending trial of two Iraqi nationals facing terrorism charges in Kentucky, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., wants the duo shipped to Guantanamo Bay. In May, Waad Ramadan Alwan and Mohanad Shareef Hammadi were arrested in Bowling Green and have been accused of attempting to provide cash and weapons to al Qaida in Iraq. The two men have been indicted on 23 counts and if convicted they could face life in prison.