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
1:11 pm
Mon January 28, 2013

Poll Shows Mitch McConnell Struggling for Support

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell
Credit File photo

A new poll shows Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell is struggling to retain support among voters.

The Courier-Journal Bluegrass Poll shows that twice as many voters are against McConnell as there are supporting him. It also finds that only one-third of Republicans support him in the 2014 election.

In recent weeks, Kentucky's senior senator has been besieged by liberal and Tea Party groups alike.

From The C-J:

According to the poll of 609 registered voters, 34 percent said they plan to vote against McConnell while just 17 percent say they will vote to give him another six years. The poll found that 44 percent said they will have to wait and see who is running against him and 6 percent said they are not sure.

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Politics
9:50 am
Sun January 27, 2013

Noise and Notes: Thoughts & Opinions with The Courier-Journal's Debby Yetter

Courier-Journal editorial writer Debby Yetter

Louisville journalist Debby Yetter’s fingertips have bled ink as a reporter and now editorial columnist at The Courier-Journal for over three decades.

Yetter is a veteran reporter who has the federal courts, social services and a ferocious focus on state government. Even the newspaper's sharpest critics praised the company's decision when the Yetter's role shifted, and award-winning journalist was picked to help lead the C-J's editorial department.

She’s spent her life collecting thoughts and opinions, and has been eager to share her own in the opinion pages.

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Politics
2:44 pm
Fri January 25, 2013

McConnell Campaign Taunts Liberals Over Filibuster Reform

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell
Credit U.S. Senate

In a message to supporters, Republican Leader Mitch McConnell's re-election campaign is bragging after modest filibuster reforms were enacted in the U.S. Senate.

Several progressive groups along with liberal Democrats in the Senate had been pushing Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nv., to go with the "nuclear option" to overhaul the chamber's rules.

But Reid went for much weaker reforms, and the deal negotiated with McConnell speeds up the parliamentary process for new business, motion and debates.

The McConnell camp says that the GOP leader "beat the liberals" who were pushing for more drastic changes.

From Team Mitch:

A group of the Senate's most liberal Senators, fueled by left-wing groups like Move On, have been pushing a dangerous scheme to change the rules of the United States Senate and fundamentally alter the checks and balances of our system.

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Politics
2:07 pm
Fri January 25, 2013

City Purchases Land to Attract Jobs, Development in West Louisville

Mayor Greg Fischer announced Friday that Metro Government has purchased a 30-acre piece of land in west Louisville that it plans to market to companies wishing to expand or relocate to the city.

The property is the former headquarters of National Tobacco located at 30th and Muhammad Ali Blvd. It will cost the city $1.2 million to buy from state government, with $750,000 coming from a settlement with the state over an unrelated right-of-way dispute.

The other $500,000 was allocated by the mayor last year in the city budget to buy brown space in the West End.

"This property is ideal and ready for development," Fischer said in a news release. "The site is clear with no significant environmental issues. It’s on a rail line, abuts the interstate and is surrounded by a ready workforce."

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Local News
7:00 pm
Thu January 24, 2013

Fischer Backs President Obama's Gun Control Measures, but State Law Hampers City Efforts

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer
Credit Gabe Bullard/WFPL

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer says President Obama's proposal for gun control laws are rational and that he'd like to see new legislation passed.

But those comments are in stark contrast to a state law that is forcing changes to the city's definition of deadly weapons and now allow firearms to be carried in city-owned buildings.

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Politics
6:05 pm
Thu January 24, 2013

Fischer Lobbies for Local Option Sales Tax, Pension Reform in State of City Address

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer
Credit File photo

Mayor Greg Fischer says Louisville’s economy is rebounding from the national recession, but the city still faces a large budget shortfall due to rising pension costs.

Fischer made the comments at his annual State of the City address before the Rotary Club at the Kentucky Center for African-American Heritage. This year's speech was slightly more upbeat than previous ones, with the mayor arguing that Louisville is becoming more entrepreneurial.

The Metro area has added 22,000 jobs and unemployment has dropped by almost four percent in the last two years. But challenges remain, namely Metro Government's hefty budget deficits.

"Last year’s $25 million gap is now down to about $13-14 million out of a $500 million general fund. That’s still a lot of money. But we didn’t get into this problem in two years and we can’t solve it in two years," says Fischer.

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Politics
11:58 am
Wed January 23, 2013

Sen. Rand Paul Says He Would Have Fired Secretary Hillary Clinton Over Benghazi Attack

U.S. Senator Rand Paul
Credit U.S. Senate

At his first meeting as a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., told Secretary of State Hillary Clinton he would have fired her over the attacks at a U.S. consulate in Libya.

The hearing was the first time Clinton was able to testify about the Benghazi attacks and it was marked by tense exchanges with Republican committee members. Clinton defended her actions, and called out Congress for not adequately funding security requests.

In his opening statement, Paul rebuked Clinton's leadership at the State Department.

Kentucky's junior senator added that Clinton leaving the Obama administration was an acceptance of her culpability in what Paul called "the worst tragedy since 9/11."

Watch:

Politics
5:29 pm
Tue January 22, 2013

Libertarian Super PAC Pounces on Mitch McConnell Following Kentucky Tea Party Warning

Liberty For All Super PAC
Credit Liberty For All

Piggybacking on a warning from more than a dozen Kentucky Tea Party groups, the head of a libertarian-leaning Super PAC says Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., is everything that is wrong with politics.

Preston Bates is executive director of Liberty For All, which is a Texas-based group founded by 22-year-old millionaire John Ramsey.

In a series of statements, Bates says McConnell is unpopular enough to unite independents, libertarians and Democrats alike.

From Liberty for All:

On a Primary Challenge

“Mitch McConnell can’t afford a conversation with primary voters on his record, so his only prayer is an Ashley Judd candidacy so he can side-step the primary.”

Is Mitch Tea Party?

“Mitch McConnell is a poster-boy for everything that’s wrong with politics: a career politician who’s made tens of millions while Kentucky families suffer. He’s raised the debt ceiling, called TARP a success, and is fresh of raising taxes on Kentucky’s families. Simply put, he’s anything but a tea partier.”

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Politics
10:35 am
Tue January 22, 2013

Kentucky Tea Party Leaders Issue Warning to Mitch McConnell, Plan to Draft Primary Challenger

Mitch McConnell
Credit U.S. Senate

A coalition of more than a dozen Tea Party groups in Kentucky are issuing a stern warning to Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell against co-opting the grassroots movement — and they plan to draft a challenger for the 2014 Senate primary.

The United Kentucky Tea Party is made up of several independent organizations from across the state. In a press release sent late Monday evening, the group says that McConnell and state Republicans are being "intellectually dishonest" by calling anyone with the GOP leader's campaign personnel a tea party leader.

"What I can tell you is we have a battle plan that we’re executing and to date that plan is working better than we expected. And our goal is to have a primary challenger for Sen. McConnell,” said John Kemper, a spokesman for United Kentucky Tea Party. 

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Politics
1:00 pm
Mon January 21, 2013

Mayor Greg Fischer to Present Ishmon Burks With Freedom Award

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer has chosen former Kentucky Secretary of Justice Ishmon Burks to be the 2013 recipient of the city’s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Freedom Award.

Burks is a retired army colonel who also served as the first African-American commissioner of the Kentucky State Police. In 2011, he served as interim chief of the Louisville Metro Police Department and as Fischer’s chief of public safety.

Burks says he is humbled by the mayor’s choice, and accepts the Freedom Award with a sense of gratitude.

"I wasn’t quite sure how to take it, but he said ‘I think you’re the man’ and I said mayor if you think so it’s fine with me. And so I was surprised by the whole thing," he says.

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