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
1:29 pm
Wed June 13, 2012

McConnell: Obama Running Out of Economic Ideas

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., is pleading with President Obama to deliver new ideas on the sluggish economic recovery.

The president is scheduled to deliver a major economic address Thursday, which will be the first of the general election campaign and in the swing state of Ohio.

But observers expect Mr. Obama won't offer any new jobs proposals and instead continue to push lawmakers to pass his "to-do" list.

McConnell says Democrats are getting anxious about economic stagnation and the nearing election.

"We can expect more of the same: more government, more debt and higher taxes to pay for it all," he said on the Senate floor Wednesday. "Now, according to the news reports, some Democrats are starting to get a little wary of this approach. A number of folks who worked in the Clinton Administration have suggested something more positive. But others are pleading with the president to double down on the message that government is the answer."

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Politics
12:08 pm
Wed June 13, 2012

Yarmuth Credits Federal Investments for Refurbished Ford Plant

U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth, D-Ky., is crediting investments from the federal government for the Ford Motor Co.'s refurbished Louisville Assembly Plant.

Several public officials attended the unveiling Wednesday, to celebrate the retooled factory where Ford makes the Escape compact SUV. The congressman the automaker's ingenuity, but highlighted the $5.9 billion in incentives Ford received from the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan Program in 2009.

From Yarmuth's office:

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Politics
10:55 am
Wed June 13, 2012

Paul Proposes Bill Against Domestic Drone Surveillance

U.S. Senate

U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., proposed legislation Tuesday that would forbid the federal government from using aerial drones to watch citizens without a warrant.

The bill is called the "Preserving Freedom from Unwarranted Surveillance Act" and it is aimed at addressing growing privacy concerns over drone use in the country. Earlier this week, an unmanned Navy surveillance drone crashed into Chesapeake Bay and has raised several questions about its domestic usage.

Paul says the government should have restrictions to use drones on citizens, except to patrol national borders, when drones are needed to prevent "imminent danger to life," or when there are risks of a terrorist attack.

"Like other tools used to collect information in law enforcement, in order to use drones a warrant needs to be issued," he says. "Americans going about their everyday lives should not be treated like criminals or terrorists and have their rights infringed upon by military tactics."

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Politics
5:49 pm
Tue June 12, 2012

Shanklin Defends Actions, Blames Corrections for Jobs Program Controversy

Louisville Metro Councilwoman Barbara Shanklin, D-2, is responding to a story about a city funded ex-offenders program that served her and the councilwoman's relatives more than former inmates.

The upholstery-training program cost over $30,000, but was put to a stop by Mayor Greg Fischer's administration when questions were raised about the lack of ex-convict referrals. Records show most of the classes were attended by less than a handful of participants but that Shanklin and her son used the program.

In a telephone interview with WFPL, Shanklin said any lack of documentation was the fault of Metro Corrections and a pending internal audit would show no wrongdoing on her part.

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Politics
12:59 pm
Tue June 12, 2012

First Choice Market Opens in Park DuValle Neighborhood

After years of delays, a long-awaited full-service grocery store has opened in the Park DuValle neighborhood in west Louisville.

First Choice Market is a 20,000 square-foot store that will serve an estimated 35,000 residents with a wide-selection of fresh fruits and vegetables, a deli and a bakery. Local grocery operator ValuMarket, which has five other locations in the city, will manage the new store.

Councilwoman Mary Woolridge, D-3, represents the area and says the store opening has been delayed for years, adding more retail development is expected.

"The feedback is very positive and all of us just say we’ve waited a long time and it’s long overdue but we’re just absolutely ecstatic that it’s here now. We are just moving forward and we’re going to have to support that grocery,” she says.

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Politics
2:10 pm
Mon June 11, 2012

Gay Marriage Opponents, Supporters Agree Obama Re-Ignites Debate

Gay rights advocates and opponents will debate same-sex marriage on KET’s Kentucky Tonight program Monday with both sides agreeing President Obama's recent support has triggered a new discussion.

In 2004, three-fourths of voters approved an amendment to the state constitution banning gay marriage. But gay rights activists highlight a recent survey that shows 83 percent of registered voters in Kentucky now support civil protections for LGBT individuals.

Fairness Campaign Director Chris Hartman is participating in the KET debate. He says things have changed over the past eight years and revisiting the topic is appropriate given Mr. Obama’s remarks.

"I absolutely believe that President Obama’s support of same gender marriage has reignited the debate across the nation and really opened the door for more support than there ever has been before,” he says. "I think Democrats are proceeding more timidly than they need to be. Everyone in America, including conservatives and independents across the border are in support of full LGBT fairness and equality."

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Politics
8:30 am
Mon June 11, 2012

James, Hamilton Launch Anti-Violence Campaign to Reduce Shootings

Louisville Metro Council members Cheri Bryant Hamilton, D-5, and David James, D-6, are partnering with anti-gang advocates in a new anti-violence initiative.

The "No Red Dots" campaign seeks to educate at-risk youth and adults about conflict resolution and train neighborhood leaders in mediation. It is named after the red dots Metro Police used to indicate shootings on crime maps. According to Metro Police statistics there have been  approximately 70 shootings and 20 homicides this year.

James says the high concentration of those crimes were committed in west Louisville and the escalation is alarming, adding there is no panacea to violent crime.

"This is designed so that we don’t have more red dots on our maps that show where people have been shot," James told WFPL. "There is not one single thing that we’re going to do that’s going change the violence levels, it’s going to be a holistic approach that’s going to have to be taken."

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Politics
10:52 am
Sun June 10, 2012

Jobs Program Gives Shanklin More Ethics Troubles, Questions

Louisville Metro Councilwoman Barbara Shanklin, D-2, is embroiled in another controversy that could result in ethics charges.

The Courier-Journal has reported that Shanklin administered a jobs program meant for ex-offenders since 2007, which has apparently only served her and the councilwoman's relatives. The upholstery-training program was funded by the council for nearly $30,000, but was halted by Mayor Greg Fischer's administration after questions were raised about the lack of referrals.

The newspaper learned that few offenders participated, but Shanklin and her family members took advantage of the program's benefits despite the councilwoman's earlier denials.

From the Courier-Journal:

The program was bankrolled from the metro government’s general fund, with money routed through Metro Corrections. It was halted after corrections Director Mark Bolton expressed concern about the program to the city’s chief financial officer, Steve Rowland.

Bolton said in a Courier-Journal interview that his department was never asked to refer ex-offenders to the program, which he described as “goofy” in an email to a corrections staff member just before it was halted.

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Politics
10:14 pm
Sat June 9, 2012

Noise and Notes: WDRB Returns and Council Members Talk City Budget, Wisconsin Recall

There was quite a shake up in Louisville media this past week, with cable subscribers seeing Time Warner Cable remove WDRB from the television lineup.

Before returning to the airwaves, the joust between the local Fox affiliate and cable company was the top story until WDRB announced hiring sports columnists Eric Crawford and Rick Bozich away from the Courier-Journal.

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Politics
6:42 pm
Fri June 8, 2012

McConnell Pounces Obama 'Doing Fine' Gaffe

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., released the following statement tearing into President Obama for claiming that the private sector is "doing fine" during a press conference to address economic concerns.

From McConnell's office:

“Whether the President wants to acknowledge it or not, we are now living in the Obama Economy, and no ‘post-it note’ proposal can reverse the damage done by his policies over the past three and a half years. It’s baffling that in the face of all evidence to the contrary, this President still believes that spending money we don’t have to inflate the government is the answer to America’s economic problems.

The economy would respond much more favorably to providing the tax certainty Americans deserve by extending all the tax rates and assuring employers they do not have to budget for the largest tax increase in American history next year. The Obama Economy is even slower now than when we extended the rates in 2010—raising taxes on job creators in this slow economy is simply not the elixir for his failed policies.”

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