Kentucky

Politics
3:04 pm
Fri October 4, 2013

Kentucky Farmer Demands Congressman Andy Barr Back ‘Clean’ Bill to End Shutdown

Credit http://www.wlfarm.org

A Kentucky farmer is calling on Republican Congressman Andy Barr to support a "clean" spending bill to end the government shutdown.

The demand comes as agriculture issues such as the farm bill are being put on hold and farming advocates wonder how long federal resources and services will be pulled.

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Politics
1:43 pm
Wed October 2, 2013

Two Kentucky Lawmakers Highlight Government Shutdown's Effects on Kentucky Women

Mary Lou Marzian
Credit Legislative Research Commission

Kentucky state Reps. Joni Jenkins and Mary Lou Marzian are highlighting the effects of the federal government shutdown on women.

The two Democrats were in Washington, D.C., this week meeting with lawmakers and hope Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell will keep those adverse impacts in mind as potential negotiations begin.

"Certainly the furloughing of employees—half of those or more are going to be single females who are heads of families—and I don't know how many of your listeners can go without paycheck for a day, a week or possibly longer," said Jenkins, whose district covers parts of western Jefferson County. "That money not coming into our communities is going to trickle down to all sorts of businesses."

Beyond federal workers there is growing concern about social services that could be impacted.

Almost 9 million new mothers and young children rely on programs such as the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children or WIC. But federal officials have warned funding for WIC could run out in the next week or so.

Observers expect the shutdown to last at least that long even as President Obama is inviting congressional leaders, including McConnell, to the White House Wednesday afternoon to possibly negotiate.

Marzian says the shutdown is a disaster for women on a number of fronts and low-income mothers in particular, adding the blame should be on Tea Party-backed Republicans in the House.

"It's going to really effect women being able to feed their families and pay their rent as these programs run out of money in the next weeks," she says. "But the Tea Party and these right-wing Republicans care nothing about women and children. They only care about themselves and pushing their agenda forward. However, they care about fetuses but once you’re here you’re on your own."

Last year, over 132,000 pregnant women and new mothers in Kentucky received nutrition assistance through WIC programs for their young children.

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Politics
7:30 am
Mon September 23, 2013

Ky. Environmentalists Want Alison Lundergan Grimes to Address Energy Future Beyond Coal

Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes

In Kentucky's U.S. Senate race, environmentalists says there's little to distinguish Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes from Republican incumbent Mitch McConnell on coal.

But activists say what they're most disappointed about is Grimes hasn't outlined an agenda that speaks to the future of Kentucky's economy or the country's energy needs.

Ahead of new federal rules limiting greenhouse gas emissions, the Grimes campaign presented a decidedly pro-coal message by scolding the Obama administration.

When the Environmental Protection Agency released those proposed standards last week, Grimes reiterated her disappointment, saying the regulations were "out of touch" with Kentucky's needs and would hurt middle-class families.

The Grimes campaign told WFPL the first-term secretary of state does acknowledge climate change and the effects carbon emissions have on the planet's weather patterns.

But aides quickly pivoted to emphasize what they call "unnecessary regulations" that hurt Kentuckians who rely on the coal industry to provide for their families.

"While it is important to protect the environment, it is just as important to make sure the men and women of Kentucky are able to provide for their families,"  said Grimes campaign spokeswoman Charly Norton. "As Senator, Alison will work to protect the jobs of hardworking Kentuckians in any solution to the changing climate."

A 2007 Supreme Court ruling found that greenhouse gases created by coal-fired plants are pollutants that are harmful to human health, and are thus subject to regulation.

Longtime Louisville environmental activist Sarah Lynn Cunningham says voters who care about the environment are frustrated with Grimes and that enthusiasm is already declining more than a year before Election Day.

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Politics
5:01 pm
Wed September 4, 2013

Report: One in Six Kentucky Households Cannot Afford Healthy Food

Credit File photo

One in six Kentucky households report having serious problems affording nutritious food, according to new data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The report released on Wednesday also reveals basic hunger needs in the state have increased over the past decade even as lawmakers in Washington are proposing to dump millions of food stamp recipients.

Of the approximately 285,000 Kentucky households experiencing food insecurity, about 113,000 had at least one or more members living in the home forced to reduce their food intake. The agriculture department's report shows 15.6 percent lack adequate food choices, a five percent increase since 2003.

Many argue government help such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program combat those hunger issues. But food stamps face a possible $40 billion worth of cuts in Congress, which could eliminate benefits for up to 6 million Americans.

Jason Bailey is director of the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy. He says the cuts are coming at a time when many families are still struggling economically.

"It’s not like they’re also proposing to create 4 to 6 million jobs that these folks can get to provide enough income for them to pay for their food needs. It’s an incredibly cruel and counter-productive proposal at a time when unemployment is still high," he says.

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Politics
3:26 pm
Mon July 22, 2013

Conservative Groups Planning to 'Prosecute' Mitch McConnell in GOP Primary

Louisville businessman Matthew Bevin

National conservative groups are closely watching Kentucky in anticipation that Louisville businessman Matt Bevin will run against Republican Senator Mitch McConnell in next year's GOP primary.

A Bevin news release says the investor will be making an announcement in Frankfort on Wednesday as part of a 3-day event that includes eight campaign stops across the state.

Last Friday, several Tea Party activists with direct knowledge told WFPL Bevin is entering the Republican primary for McConnell's seat. The movement has remained ferociously critical of McConnell over the years and just this week the United Kentucky Tea Party issued a blistering letter slamming the GOP leader's voting record as not conservative enough.

Now sources with national right-leaning advocacy groups tell WFPL they are eager to get involved in a Republican primary battle in the Bluegrass, and are preparing  to support Bevin over McConnell.

"Over the next few days we plan to endorse very soon and come in very hard to prosecute the case against Mitch McConnell," says a source with a conservative PAC. "We are all in.  Whatever it takes, we're going to help raise money for [Bevin] and we're going to particularly work on ground game."

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Politics
11:02 am
Mon July 22, 2013

Senator Rand Paul's 'Southern Avenger' Aide Resigns

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

A controversial aide to U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., who once belonged to a neo-Confederate group has resigned.

Earlier this month, 39-year-old Jack Hunter was the subject of intense criticism for his past affiliation with the League of the South, which advocated for secession.

It was also revealed Hunter worked as a radio shock jock called the "Southern Avenger," who wore a Confederate flag mask and bemoaned America's growing non-white majority.

In an e-mail to The Daily Caller this weekend, Hunter said he was once a "politically incorrect" conservative, but doesn't want to cause Paul, who is considered a top 2016 presidential contender, any further damage.

Paul initially defended Hunter, pointing out he had renounced many of his past views.

But the situation had apparently become untenable as the GOP lawmaker seeks to attract minority voters to the party.

"Because of the views he had expressed before my employment it became a distraction and just wasn't going to work," Paul told reporters in Louisville on Monday. "It was a mutual decision."

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Politics
12:55 pm
Tue July 9, 2013

Rand Paul Aide/Co-Author Once Belonged to Neo-Confederate Group

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky.
Credit U.S. Senate

An aide to U.S. Senator Rand Paul, R-Ky., is under scrutiny after reports surfaced that he spent over a decade as a neo-Confederate activist who led a group that advocates for southern secession from the union.

And the news could damper Paul's attempts to court minorities ahead of his rumored 2016 presidential bid.

Jack Hunter currently serves as Paul's social media director and co-wrote the book 'The Tea Party Goes to Washington" with the senator in 2010.

A conservative news site reveals Hunter was a member and chapter leader of a group called the League of the South, which advocates the southern states separate from the U.S. to form their own republic.

Hunter also worked as a radio show host who used the alter ego "Southern Avenger," wearing a Confederate flag mask. As the character, Hunter would opine on a number of issues such as celebrating the death of Abraham Lincoln and speaking against Spanish-speaking immigration.

From The Washington Free Beacon:

From 1999 to 2012, Hunter was a South Carolina radio shock jock known as the “Southern Avenger.” He has weighed in on issues such as racial pride and Hispanic immigration, and stated his support for the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln.

(SNIP)

“The League of the South is an implicitly racist group in that the idealized version of the South that they promote is one which, to use their ideology, is dominated by ‘Anglo-Celtic’ culture, which is their code word for ‘white’,” said Mark Pitcavage, the director of investigative research at the ADL. The ADL said it does not necessarily classify it as a hate group.

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Politics
7:00 am
Thu June 13, 2013

Poll: Kentuckians Favor Senate Immigration Bill 3-to-1

A new poll shows a solid majority of Kentucky voters support the comprehensive immigration reform bill currently being debated in the U.S. Senate.

The survey conducted by Harper Polling finds 63 percent of Kentuckians favor the so-called 'Gang of 8' legislation, with just 20 percent opposed. It also shows that 73 percent of likely voters support a path to citizenship for the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants in the country.

Members of Kentucky's federal delegation have been at the center of the immigration debate thus far, with  Democratic Congressman John Yarmuth working on the House version and Republican Senators Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul both saying the Senate bill will need to be changed.

But observers note the high percentage of those in the state who support the principles of the 'Gang of 8' bill illustrates the outcome is brighter than previous attempts to reform the system.

"When you look at a number like that when it's that high it makes you think there's a chance something can actually get passed. And when Kentucky members of Congress and our two senators see this kind of approval back in their home state and back in their home districts it’s going to increase the likelihood of them wanting to vote for it," says former Republican Secretary of State Trey Grayson, who is director of the Harvard University’s Institute of Politics.

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Politics
2:00 pm
Thu May 30, 2013

Political Ads Supporting and Against Immigration Reform Hit Kentucky

Credit Shutterstock

Dueling political advertisements regarding the Senate bill to reform the U.S. immigration system are airing across Kentucky this week.

The Democratic-controlled Senate will begin debating legislation that offers a pathway to citizenship for an estimated 11 million immigrants who are in the U.S. illegally. Last week, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved the measure, which also creates new work Visa programs and seeks to tighten border security.

Louisville pastor Russell Moore is featured in the radio spot running across the state, and he is joining a bipartisan group of evangelical ministers who are calling on lawmakers to pass those comprehensive reforms.

Listen:

Moore is part of the Evangelical Immigration Table, which is launching a radio ad campaign in states such as Ohio, North Carolina and Kentucky to reach a wide audience of evangelicals. It is part of the larger “Pray for Reform” movement made up of conservative and liberal religious groups.

Moore, who is a dean at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, is considered a rising voice in the Southern Baptist world. He says the broad coalition includes Sojourners, and is representative of how people of faith are being moved by the immigration debate.

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Politics
6:12 pm
Tue May 21, 2013

Trey Grayson Appointed to Presidential Election Commission

Credit harvard.edu

Former Kentucky Secretary of State Trey Grayson has been appointed to President Obama's commission to improve U.S. elections, which was first introduced at this year's State of the Union address.

During the 2012 elections, voters across the country complained of long lines and confusion at the polls, and many have called for reforms to the system since the 2000 presidential race.

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