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
4:21 pm
Wed September 19, 2012

McConnell Praises Suu Kyi’s Leadership

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., continues to praise Nobel Peace Prize winner and Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi ahead of her visit to Louisville.

Suu Kyi received the Congressional Gold Medal on Wednesday for her commitment to democratic reforms in Burma, which is also known as Myanmar. The medal is Congress’ highest honor, and lawmakers including McConnell, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Sen. John McCain, as well as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former First Lady Laura Bush attended the ceremony.

Speaking on the Senate floor, McConnell says Suu Kyi has been an international symbol of peace and democracy since first being put under house arrest by the Burmese dictatorship in 1991.

"For nearly two decades—two decades—she remained under house arrest in her mothers old home on university avenue on the shores of Inya Lake. Over the years I’ve followed Suu Kyi closely, and I’ve done what I could to advance her cause," he says. 

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Politics
12:56 pm
Wed September 19, 2012

Louisville Tea Party to Host Candidate Forum

The Louisville Tea Party will hold a forum featuring several local candidates running for Congress, Metro Council and the Jefferson County school board, but the group’s leader is criticizing Democratic Congressman John Yarmuth for not attending.

The forum is being moderated by 84 WHAS radio host Mandy Connell on Thursday, and is expected to draw more than 100 people.

Candidates running for the Kentucky General Assembly are also invited to the forum, and Louisville Tea Party President Sarah Durand says the event will question those candidates on issues that other groups and the mainstream media have overlooked.

"We plan on asking the state Representative and state Senate candidates about pension reform, which we have not heard enough about in the media," she says. "With the school board, I haven’t seen anybody asking them about raising our taxes every single year. We plan to ask the school board candidates how they feel about that and how they would deal with budget shortfalls if they’re not in favor of raising our taxes every year."

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Politics
10:07 am
Wed September 19, 2012

Poll: Beshear Has Broad Support

Kentucky Governor's Office

After winning a 20-point re-election last November, Governor Steve Beshear enjoys support from nearly two-thirds of Kentucky voters according to a Bluegrass Poll released Wednesday.

The survey found that 64 percent of likely voters approve of the governor's job performance, which is eight points more than his landslide victory over Republican David Williams in the 2011 gubernatorial race. Beshear remains popular despite the overall acrimony and gridlock in Frankfort that spawned an especially personal General Assembly this year.

The governor's agenda did not advance much during the legislative session either, but voters cite his political moderation among his best attributes.

From The Courier-Journal:

But they said Beshear, who is a year into his second term, has improved his popularity by taking a more centrist approach, distancing himself from President Barack Obama’s most controversial policies — such as coal regulation — and avoiding contentious social issues, such as abortion and religion.

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Politics
1:47 pm
Tue September 18, 2012

Committee to Amend Discretionary Funds Policy

The Louisville Metro Council Accountability and Ethics Committee is voting Tuesday on more changes to the policy that governs the distribution of taxpayer dollars to non-profit groups.

A recent audit found that half of the discretionary grants given out by city lawmakers lacked proper documentation to determine if the funds were being spent properly.

Councilman Jerry Miller, R-19, is chairman of the accountability committee and a co-sponsor of the proposal along with Council President Jim King, D-10. He says the amendments being proposed give non-profit groups clear guidelines and should help restore public trust.

"The resolution that we’re going to hear today will start us on the path of restoring public confidence in this process, regardless of what individual council people—including myself—think of the overall process we have to be able to restore confidence that public funds are being used appropriately," says Miller.

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Politics
3:44 pm
Mon September 17, 2012

Occupy Wall Street Marks One-Year Anniversary

Protestors with Occupy Wall Street are marking their one-year anniversary with demonstrations this week, but critics argue the movement has lost momentum and is in disarray.

The protests started in New York City's financial district in reaction to corporate greed, rising unemployment and the national recession. It drew attention to the country’s income gap and economic inequality by rallying behind the 99 percent of wage earners. Several other Occupy demonstrations sprouted up across the country to address foreclosures and affordable housing and saw varying degrees of success.

But opponents say the movement has died down because the leaderless coalition had no clear platform or strategy.

From L.A. Times:

Yet the movement cannot claim any new policy, law or regulation as its own. Unlike the Tea Party on the political right, there is no cohesive Occupy group promoting candidates in November's national election.

Karl Zoellner is a spokesman for Occupy Louisville. He says the movement is in transition, but has successfully pushed an agenda.

"The name, the brand Occupy is not on the front burner like it once was. But the issues of the 99 percent, which is something that the Occupy Wall Street brought attention to, has in turn become the focus of thousands of social justice organizations across the United States," he says.

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Politics
8:30 am
Mon September 17, 2012

Poll Shows McConnell, Paul With Majority Approval Ratings

A majority of Kentucky voters approve of the jobs that Republican U.S. Senators Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul are doing in Washington, according to a new Bluegrass Poll.

The poll shows McConnell, who is running for re-election in two years, holding a 51 percent job approval rating among likely voters with 42 percent disapproving of the GOP leader's performance. Similarly, Paul has a 53 percent approval but a slightly lower disapproval rating at 38 percent almost two years after being elected.

As The Courier-Journal's James Carroll reports, political observers argue that this bodes well for both lawmakers when considering the historic low numbers for Congress overall.

From The Courier-J:

The poll numbers for McConnell and Paul indicate no potential re-election problems, said Jennifer Duffy, a Senate analyst with the nonpartisan Cook Political Report.

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Politics
10:44 pm
Sat September 15, 2012

Noise and Notes: Brooks Wicker Makes His Case for Congress

Republican Brooks Wicker is running for Kentucky's Third Congressional District seat against three-term Democratic incumbent John Yarmuth.

You may not have heard of Wicker's candidacy, which is mainly because he was struggled to raise enough funds to get his message out to voters. Thus far he has raised just $5,000, but the Louisville accountant promises he will have enough to hold Yarmuth accountable.

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Politics
6:41 pm
Thu September 13, 2012

Paul Proposes Cutting Foreign Aid to Pakistan, Libya and Egypt

U.S. Senate

U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., has proposed new amendments to strip foreign aid from Pakistan, Egypt and Libya, that would triple funding for a jobs bill for American veterans.

The proposal is in reaction to recent protests and attacks against American consulates and embassies in Libya and Egypt, including the killing of U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens. It is also aimed at drawing attention t the continued imprisonment of Shakil Afridi, a Pakistani doctor who helped the CIA locate Osama bin Laden.

Total U.S. foreign aid to Pakistan, Libya and Egypt totals approximately $4 billion annually.

Paul's amendment will cut that aid and put an additional $2 billion toward a veterans jobs bill that is moving its way through the Senate. The remaining $2 billion would go to deficit reduction.
 
"I urge (Senate Majority Leader Harry) Reid to do the right thing for taxpayers and veterans: To send a message to countries that our aid can’t be taken for granted, and to stand up for our troops abroad now, and those who have returned home after serving," says Paul. "He can do all of this by allowing a vote on my amendment. My amendment would halt all foreign aid to Pakistan, Egypt, and Libya, and would use those funds to triple the size of the veterans jobs bill. The only thing now standing in the way of this is the Democratic Senate Leadership."

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Politics
12:31 pm
Thu September 13, 2012

Young Agrees to Two Debates Against Yoder

Republican incumbent Todd Young has agreed to participate in two debates in Indiana’s Ninth Congressional District race, but Democratic challenger Shelli Yoder wants more forums.

The debates will be held at Franklin College in Johnson County and O'Bannon Publishing in Harrison County, but the Yoder campaign alleges Young is ignoring the need for additional debates in populated areas.

Last month, Yoder called for 13 debates in each county across the southern Indiana district.

Yoder campaign manager Katie Carlson says Young sought seven debates when he ran against then-Congressman Baron Hill two years ago, and that the negotiations are ongoing.

"We have not reached an agreement on the number of debates. We believe that more debates are necessary to give voters of the Ninth District an opportunity to hear from both of their candidates for Congress and an opportunity to discuss issues that are most important to them," she says.

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Politics
9:45 am
Thu September 13, 2012

McConnell Recruits Tea Party Campaign Manager for Re-Election Bid

Seeking a sixth term, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell has hired a Tea Party strategist who led campaigns for fellow Kentucky Senator Rand Paul and Texas Congressman Ron Paul.

McConnell announced he hired Jesse Benton as his campaign manager for re-election on Thursday despite having no primary or general election opponent. Benton led Congressman Ron Paul's presidential primary race and worked for Rand Paul's Senate bid as well.

"We’re committed to running a presidential-level campaign in Kentucky, and that starts with a presidential campaign manager," McConnell told The Washington Post. "Jesse is literally the best in the business at building and organizing conservative grassroots movements, and I’m thrilled he’s chosen to return to Kentucky to lead my campaign."

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