Phillip M. Bailey

Political Editor

Phillip M. Bailey became WFPL's political editor in 2011, covering city, state and regional campaigns and elected officials. He also covers Metro Government, including the mayor's office and Metro Council. Before coming to WFPL, Phillip worked for three years as a staff writer at LEO Weekly and was a fellow at the Academy of Alternative Journalism at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism.

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Politics
12:16 pm
Wed May 8, 2013

Congressman John Yarmuth Optimistic on Immigration Reform

John Yarmuth
Credit U.S. Congress

Appearing on MSNBC Wednesday, Congressman John Yarmuth, D-Ky., says he is optimistic comprehensive immigration reform will pass in Congress this year despite an undertone of setbacks.

The "gang of eight" in the Senate are trying to gain a super-majority as Democrats and Republicans continue to negotiate. Among the issues being hashed out are provisions dealing with a pathway to citizenship that are linked to tighter enforcement of the U.S. borders.

Recently, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky. warned that conservatives would be pulling back from the plan if stricter rules to protect borders are not added to the bill.

But Yarmuth, who is part of a bipartisan "gang of eight" in the House, says lawmakers remains motivated to pass an overhaul of the immigration system due to an unprecedented group of diverse interests.

Watch:

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Politics
7:30 am
Tue May 7, 2013

Rudy Giuliani's Firm Hires Former Congresswoman Anne Northup as Lobbyist

Former Republican Congresswoman Anne Northup is joining the law firm of former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani as a lobbyist.

Bracewell & Giuliani LLP announced this week Northup will work in the firm’s Policy Resolution Group in Washington, D.C., where she will serve as a strategist on issues such as health care, trade policy and manufacturing.

In a news release, Northup says she is excited to join the firm's lobbying arm, and will put her experience in Washington towards advocacy and strategic communications.

"PRG has one of the top consumer products advocacy and strategic communications practices in Washington. I am equally excited to contribute to the firm’s other practice areas and look forward to working with my new colleagues," she says.

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Politics
7:35 pm
Mon May 6, 2013

'Compassion Walk' to Commemorate Parkland Shootings Criticized

Councilwoman Attica Scott announces Compassion March joined by Connected Voices
Credit Louisville Metro Council

Louisville Metro Councilwoman Attica Scott, D-1, and community activist Christopher 2x announced a march to commemorate the triple homicide in the Parkland neighborhood last year.

But one of the family members of a victim says it's a misplaced attempt by the city lawmaker and activist to grab headlines.

The shootings at 32nd Street and Greenwood Avenue occurred on May 17, 2012, resulting in the deaths of Craig Bland Jr., 22, Tyson Mimms, 24 and Makeba Lee, 24.

At least one of the shootings occurred in front of dozens of onlookers, including local media and police officers. The brazen act sparked local outrage among residents and elected officials and a mayoral task force was launched to conduct a study on how to prevent violence.

During a Monday press conference, Scott and 2X announced plans to hold a moment of silence on May 17 featuring Metro Police Chief Steve Conrad, along with a "Compassion Walk" on May 18 at the site of the three homicides.

"What I’m hoping it will do is one, to help people to reflect on the fact that we have lost way too many lives in the city of Louisville to senseless and unnecessary gun violence," says Scott. "And also to ask themselves what are they doing to make a difference in neighborhoods that are experiencing this type of violence."

But Lee's grandfather says it's disturbing neither Scott's office or 2X's group Connected Voices contacted his family about the march, adding the focus should be more about solutions than their personal tragedies.

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Politics
5:30 pm
Mon May 6, 2013

Gun Control Groups Petition Mitch McConnell to Support Background Checks Bill

A protestor holds a sign calling on Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., to support gun background checks legislation
Credit Phillip M. Bailey

Gun control advocates rallied outside of Republican Mitch McConnell’s downtown Louisville office to deliver a petition asking Kentucky’s senior senator to change his position on expanded background checks.

Progressive Change Campaign Committee and Moms Demand Action had over 30 members demonstrating outside McConnell's office before delivering 1,200 signatures urging Congress to support "sensible" gun reforms.

Last month, the Senate rejected the Manchin-Toomey bill, which supporters argued would keep firearms out of the hands of convicted felons and the mentally ill.

Gun rights activists say the bill would only restrict the ability of law-abiding citizens to obtain guns, however.

The petition to McConnell scolds lawmakers for doing "nothing to stop gun killings." It goes on to argue any guns reforms "must include background checks for gun purchases."

Moms Demand Action member Pam Gersh spoke at the rally. She says McConnell is out of touch for voting against the bipartisan compromise, but promises more pressure in the coming weeks.

"We’re a group that is enraged and engaged," she says. "We are going to continue putting pressure on our elected representative and they’re going to continue to hear our voices whenever we have the opportunity. And there are lot of groups working on this now."

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Local News
9:40 am
Mon May 6, 2013

Jefferson County Clerk Bobbie Holsclaw Bypassing Mayoral Run for Now

Jefferson County Clerk Bobbie Holsclaw

Republican Jefferson County Clerk Bobbie Holsclaw is not interested in a run for Louisville mayor despite encouragement to take on Democratic incumbent Greg Fischer.

In April, Fischer announced his intentions to run for a second term in 2014, and Occupy Louisville member Ike Thacker told WFPL last week he plans to run for mayor as an independent.

No GOP challenger has voiced interest in the race thus far despite observers pointing out that Fischer barely won in 2010.

Some have tossed Holsclaw's name out there as a potential opponent, citing her overall popularity and 16 years in office.

Holsclaw says the GOP needs to field a credible contender and a woman needs to run for mayor, but she is seeking a fifth term as clerk next year.

"Right now, today I’m running for re-election for Jefferson County clerk," she says.

Asked if that means she would re-consider at some point, Holsclaw told WFPL she has the right to change her mind before next year’s filing deadline.

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Politics
10:31 pm
Sat May 4, 2013

Noise and Notes: The Decadent and Depraved Politics of Derby Weekend

By now we know who won the 139th Kentucky Derby, but there are still questions about other political horse races.

At this point Republican Mitch McConnell does have one official opponent—Owensboro Democrat Ed Marksberry—who is a little known contender in the 2014 U.S. Senate race.

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Politics
12:03 pm
Fri May 3, 2013

Mitch McConnell Releases New Ad Celebrating Kentucky Derby

Senator Mitch McConnell
Credit File photo

In a new online ad, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell says the annual Kentucky Derby demonstrates the focus and determination of the state he represents.

The spot is being released on the eve of the Triple Crown and is narrated by the GOP leader, who compares the horse race to the spirit of Kentuckians.

"The twin spires of Churchill Downs host the world's finest horses. But it's a race where the horses tell us as much about a people as they do about themselves. If you listen closely, you can hear the story of Kentucky in the thunder of their hooves. Each stride reflects the focus of a people determined to succeed," says McConnell.

Watch:

McConnell campaign manager Jesse Benton says it is the latest example their "commitment to being the most innovative Senate campaign in history."

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Politics
3:57 pm
Thu May 2, 2013

Occupy Louisville Member Running for Mayor

Longtime social justice advocate Ike Thacker announced this week he is running for mayor of Louisville as an independent.

Thacker is a local writer and community activist who serves on the boards of the Kentucky Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression and the Fellowship of Reconciliation. He also served as a spokesman for Occupy Louisville, which held a six month long protest in downtown against U.S. economic policies.

Thacker says he is running to help the poor, and plans to advocate for cuts to military spending as mayor to help invest in low-income parts of the city.

"I simply believe that all 7 billion of us on this planet and the 750,000 or so of us in Louisville are absolutely, equally human regardless of everything. That’s every black or brown person in west or south Louisville just as much as the Ivy League east enders," he says.

Democratic Mayor Greg Fischer announced last month he is seeking re-election.

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Politics
4:04 pm
Wed May 1, 2013

State Rep. Warns African-Americans to Avoid Fourth Street Live Until Osborne Case Settled

State Rep. Darryln Owens, D-Louisville, says he tries to avoid Fourth Street Live

A Kentucky lawmaker is questioning if African-Americans should continue to patronize Fourth Street Live in the wake of a former University of Louisville basketball player’s arrest.

As WFPL reported this week, 38-year-old Jason Osborne was arrested by Metro Police on Sunday outside of Sully's restaurant. He has been charged with criminal trespassing and resisting arrest, and a hearing is scheduled for May 24.

Osborne is a former Mr. Basketball who played for the Louisville Cardinals in the early 1990s.

Several African-American elected officials from the Metro Council and General Assembly were present at Osborne’s arraignment, and at least one lawmaker is now telling black residents to avoid the entertainment district until these mattes are settled.

"All of us have received complaints of perceived harassment and disrespect at Fourth Street Live. I might go down for lunch during the day, but I don’t go down there after 5 o’clock. You run a risk," says state Rep. Darryl Owens, D-Louisville. "The record is clear and my mama told me where there’s smoke there is fire. There’s a whole lot of smoke coming out of Fourth Street Live as it relates to African-Americans."

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Local News
11:38 am
Wed May 1, 2013

Jason Osborne's Arrest at Fourth Street Live Sparks Black Leaders' Concerns About Discrimination

Credit Wikipedia Commons

Several African-American lawmakers are concerned about a potential "pattern of discrimination" at Fourth Street Live after a former Louisville Cardinals basketball star was arrested at the entertainment district.

Jason Osborne, 38, was arrested Sunday night on Muhammad Ali Boulevard at Fourth Street Live after an altercation at Sully's with security, an arrest report says. Another person, Jacquelynn N. Russell, 32, arrested at the entertainment district. Charges for both include  criminal trespassing and resisting arrest.

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