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.


1:10 pm
Thu December 13, 2012

Barr Lands Key Committee Assignments

Congressman-elect Andy Barr
Credit Barr Campaign

Kentucky Sixth District Congressman-elect Andy Barr announced his committee assignments Thursday.

Barr will be a member of the House Committee on Financial Services, which is led by fellow Republican Spencer Baucus. The financial services panel is considered a "top-tier," committee that dealt directly with the bank bailouts and crafted the controversial Dodd-Frank Act.

In a news release, Barr says he is honored to receive the appointment, and wants to work on solving  helping the state's community banks.

Read more
6:43 pm
Wed December 12, 2012

Democrat Ed Marksberry Announces 2014 Senate Bid

Democrat Ed Marksberry

Owensboro Democrat Ed Marksberry is running in the 2014 Kentucky race for U.S. Senate.

Marksberry is a building contractor and former congressional candidate, who ran unsuccessfully against Republican Congressman Brett Guthrie two years ago. He lost that race by 35 points.

On his campaign website, Marksberry says he shares the experience of middle-class Kentuckians and knows first-hand their struggles in this difficult economy.

Read more
5:31 pm
Wed December 12, 2012

Fischer to Outline Local Sales Tax Option Plan for Council Members

Credit File photo

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer will discuss his strategy to create a local sales tax option with members of the Metro Council this week.

Fischer has been lobbying state lawmakers and other leaders across Kentucky since July, saying the city needs the tool in the face of budget shortfalls.

The option would give Louisville voters the ability to vote for or against a sales tax increase to fund specific projects. Before that could happen, however, the measure needs a two-thirds vote in both chambers of the state legislature and a statewide referendum to amend the state constitution.

Democratic Caucus spokesman Tony Hyatt says his members are eager to hear the mayor outline his plan, adding they have serious questions about the sales tax options before showing support.

"What are you going to do with the money if it is passed and how long would such a local option tax be in place? Are you going to use it for infrastructure projects or to supplement the budget? The caucus would like to hear directly from the mayor what he plans to do with the money if the effort is successful," he says.

Read more
12:47 pm
Wed December 12, 2012

Poll: Hillary Clinton Leads Rand Paul in Kentucky

Sen. Rand Paul and State Secretary Hillary Clinton
Credit U.S. Senate, U.S. State Department

In a new survey released Wednesday, Public Policy Polling found that in a hypothetical 2016 presidential race Democratic Hillary Clinton leads Republican Sen. Rand Paul in Kentucky.

Clinton is the outgoing U.S. Secretary of State who many Democrats want to run in four years, while Paul is a rising GOP star and Tea Party favorite. Both are rumored presidential candidates at this point, but the PPP survey shows Clinton ahead of Paul by a 5-point margin in the commonwealth at 47-to-42 percent.

A large reason for Clinton's lead is that she is far more popular in Kentucky than President Obama, who has struggled amongst state Democrats.

From PPP:

Clinton has a 48/42 favorability rating with Kentucky voters. By comparison Barack Obama's approval rating is 38/59.

Read more
4:03 pm
Tue December 11, 2012

Poll: McConnell Most Unpopular U.S. Senator

Credit File photo

Republican Leader Mitch McConnell is the most unpopular Senator in the country, according to a new survey conducted by Public Policy Polling released Tuesday.

The poll shows that among Kentucky voters, McConnell has just a 37 percent approval rating along with a 55 percent disapproval and has only one-third of independents. But the GOP leaders is still ahead of all Democratic threats in 2014, including actress Ashley Judd, Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Crimes and Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer.

From PPP:

The reason McConnell does decently well in the head to head match ups despite his poor approval numbers is that even though a lot of Republicans dislike him, most of them would still vote for him in a general election before they would support a Democrat.

Read more
8:54 pm
Mon December 10, 2012

Noise and Notes: Commonwealth's Attorney-Elect Tom Wine

Commonwealth's Attorney-elect Tom Wine

Louisville will have a new chief prosecutor in January, and his name is Tom Wine.

After longtime Jefferson County Commonwealth's Attorney Dave Stengel announced he was retiring, Wine stepped down as a state appeals court judge to run.

Read more
3:27 pm
Fri December 7, 2012

Fix the Senate Now Blasts Mitch McConnell's Self-Filibuster

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell
Credit File photo

A coalition of labor and environmental groups are targeting Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell's self-filibuster, saying it underscores the need for reforms.

Speaking on the Senate floor Thursday, McConnell challenged Senate Democrats to support his proposal to give President Obama the power to raise the U.S. debt limit unilaterally.

Mr. Obama is asking for the power as part of the fiscal cliff negotiations. But when Democratic Leader Harry Reid proposed passing the measure by a simple 51-vote majority, McConnell quickly objected.

Instead, he argued, such a controversial decision required a filibuster proof 60 vote majority.

"Mitch McConnell has been the chief opponent of fixing the Senate and reforming the filibuster. And this is a prime example of why the filibuster needs to be fixed," says Melinda Pierce, a spokeswoman for Sierra Club, which is a member of the Fix the Senate Now coalition.

Read more
1:30 pm
Fri December 7, 2012

Fischer, Tandy Lip-Sync in Trolley Hop Promo

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer doesn't mind making silly online videos to promote local initiatives, as my colleague Erica Peterson highlighted earlier.

The folks at First Friday Trolley Hop got the mayor to make a cameo in their ad too, which also features Councilman David Tandy, D-4, and other notables lip syncing Tim McMorris's "Beautiful Day."


12:03 pm
Fri December 7, 2012

New Louisville Public Works Director Emphasizes Employee Morale

Vanessa Burns, the newly appointed director of Louisville Metro Public Works & Assets
Credit Louisville Metro Government

Newly appointed Louisville Public Works Director Vanessa Burns says improving employee morale will be an important first step in the department, and that being an outsider will give her a better opportunity to implement changes.

In August former Public Works Director Ted Pullen resigned while facing a sexual harassment and discrimination lawsuit. Burns is coming to Louisville from Connecticut, and has served at public works departments in Washington, D.C. and Evanston, Illinois.

She says making the department more efficient is a top priority, but that relations between employees and managers is just as vital.

"We all have got to work on tweaking and trying to improve what we do and how we do it," Burns said. "And I think one of the good things about not being here is I can look at it with open eyes."

An audit conducted last summer found there was mistrust between public works employees and management. It emphasized that the city should begin shuffling managers to help improve efficiency and city services.

Read more
11:16 pm
Thu December 6, 2012

BuzzFeed: Mitch McConnell Should Fear Jim DeMint

Sens. Jim DeMint and Mitch McConnell
Credit U.S. Senate

The resignation of Sen. Jim DeMint, R-Sc., could spell bad news for his soon-to-be former GOP colleagues—namely Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.,—who face re-election in 2014.

In a statement, McConnell praised DeMint's "uncompromising service," however, as BuzzFeed's John Stanton points out, DeMint has been pushing for Republicans to be more conservative for years. And as president of the Heritage Foundation, he will have an ideal seat to wage an ideological war on incumbents such as McConnell.

From BuzzFeed:

There’s no love lost between DeMint and the top Republican in the Senate. The two have repeatedly clashed over policy positions McConnell has sought to push, as well as the broader direction of the conference and Republican Party.

Read more