Tag Archives: Kentucky

KY GOP gubernatorial candidate looks to Haslam as a role model

By Adam Beam, Associated Press
FRANKFORT, Ky. — Just south of Monroe County, between the Kentucky border and a meandering stream called Chicken Branch, sits 199 acres of Tennessee farmland owned by Republican candidate for governor James Comer.

Across the border in Kentucky is another 250 acre swath of Comer’s land, except this land is worth $122,000 less than its Tennessee counterpart. In fact, all of Comer’s Tennessee land is worth about $1,000 more per acre than his Kentucky land, and Comer says he knows why.

“They have elected a Republican governor who is focused on passing a pro-business agenda,” Comer said. “Tennessee has already done all the things that I want to do in Kentucky.”

While the Republican candidates for governor have slogans like “Putting Kentucky First” and “Fighting to defend our Kentucky values,” they look to Tennessee as a model for their potential administrations. Tennessee has passed laws banning mandatory union membership and limiting how much money people can win in civil lawsuits against corporations. And the state has no personal income tax, aside from a 6 percent tax on earnings from stocks and bonds.

Kentucky’s Democratic governor, who isn’t seeking re-election because of term limits, finds much to ridicule in the GOP contenders’ neighbor-envy.

“I would suggest (all the Republican candidates) move to Tennessee,” Gov. Steve Beshear said. “I think Kentuckians really would rather be Kentuckians because they don’t like Tennessee really well.”
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KY governor’s recruiting pitch: When it comes to unions, we’re not like TN

By Eric Schelzig, Associated Press
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — In an unexpected shot across the bow of his GOP neighbors to the south, Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear has a simple message on labor and economic development for automakers looking to build new plants: We’re not Tennessee.

The Democrat is touting Kentucky’s neutrality on labor matters as “a positive sales point,” particularly in contrast to the turmoil in Tennessee, where Republicans have pulled out all the stops in what may yet be a losing effort to keep the United Auto Workers from gaining collective bargaining rights at Volkswagen’s plant in Chattanooga. Similar unionization efforts are underway at a Mercedes plant near Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

Beshear’s public comments are unusually bold in the secretive, cutthroat world of recruiting big-name employers, such as the foreign automakers lured to the South with fat tax incentives and Republican pitches about anti-unionism as a competitive advantage.

Beshear first made the comments to Automotive News Europe during a recent recruiting trip to Germany, Volkswagen’s home turf, and to Sweden, the base for Chinese-owned Volvo Cars, which is rumored to be considering a new plant in the U.S.

“I’m not trying to tell Tennessee or any other state how to handle their economic development efforts,” Beshear told The Associated Press after his return last week. “I can just say that in Kentucky we would welcome either type of situation, either companies with unions or without them.”

The state already has both: Ford and General Motors plants represented by the UAW, and nonunion plants like Toyota.
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TN Democrats pick Mitch McConnell’s opponent as keynote speaker for Jackson Day fundraiser

Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, the presumptive Democratic nominee against U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell this fall, will be keynote speaker at the Tennessee Democratic Party’s annual Jackson Day fundraiser, May 17, according to a TNDP email.

Excerpt from the email:

Her campaign is running in a dead heat with McConnell’s according to the latest polling. She raised $2.7 million last quarter and has outraised her opponent in two of the last three quarters.

Alison is a dynamic speaker and a rising star in the Democratic Party, and she is going to beat Mitch McConnell and become the next U.S. Senator from Kentucky!

We are so excited that she will be joining us at Jackson Day and I hope that you will join us as we rally together to fight against Tea Party Republican extremism and for Tennessee Democratic values.

The event will be held at the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville. Basic ticket price is $200.

Note: McConnell faces an opponent in Kentucky’s May 20 primary, tea party conservative Matt Blevin. Polls indicate the incumbent is a heavy favorite. Politico posted a story today saying the campaign reached “a new level of nastiness” with Blevin bashing Grimes and declaring he’s better qualified to beat her than McConnell, HERE.

Federal judge says Kentucky must recognize same-sex marriages

From the Lexington Herald-Leader:
FRANKFORT — A federal judge said Wednesday that Kentucky must recognize same-sex marriages from other states, opening the door for gay and lesbian couples to gain full legal protection as families.

Ruling in favor of four Kentucky same-sex couples who sued the state last year, U.S. District Judge John G. Heyburn II in Louisville struck down portions of a 1998 state law and a 2004 state constitutional amendment, both of which limited marriage in Kentucky to “one man and one woman.”

The Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees equal protection of the law from state to state, so Kentucky cannot deny people their fundamental rights, such as the right to marriage, Heyburn wrote.

“No one has offered any evidence that recognizing same-sex marriages will harm opposite-sex marriages, individually or collectively. One’s belief to the contrary, however sincerely held, cannot alone justify denying a selected group their constitutional rights,” Heyburn wrote.

Although Kentuckians are entitled to enact laws based on their “moral judgments … those laws are subject to the guarantees of individual liberties contained within the United States Constitution,” he wrote.

“For years, many states had a tradition of segregation and even articulated reasons why it created a better, more stable society. Similarly, many states deprived women of their equal rights under the law, believing this to properly preserve our traditions. In time, even the most strident supporters of these views understood that they could not enforce their particular moral views to the detriment of another’s constitutional rights,” Heyburn wrote. “Here as well, sometime in the not too distant future, the same understanding will come to pass.”

Note: There is a similar federal lawsuit pending in Tennessee.

Clarksville, KY county in dispute over pipeline

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A proposed $6 million natural gas pipeline for Clarksville has hit a snag. A Kentucky county wants access to the gas being transported on it before granting approval.

Todd County, Ky., officials won’t grant approval for the 25-mile line without being able to tap into its contents.
Clarksville Gas & Water General Manager Pat Hickey told The Leaf-Chronicle (http://leafne.ws/19bjokm ) granting anyone access to the pipeline would increase administrative costs by $100,000 a year.

Dwight Luton works for Kentucky Energy Systems, the company that Guthrie, Ky., contracts with for their utilities. Luton says opening up the line would fill a void in southern Todd County.

“South Todd does not have gas, and there’s a lot more gas needed there,” Luton said. “I think it’s a good idea for the line, and I just think Todd County needs a connection, since it is going through a large portion of their county.”

Clarksville Gas & Water is trying to do environmental assessments, but not all of the 141 affected landowners have let the utility onto their property. Granting anyone access to the pipeline will change the line’s regulatory requirements and increase administrative costs by up to $100,000 a year, Hickey said.
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Ky Gov says Southern states should coordinate, not compete on economic development

Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear says southern states should stop fighting with each other over jobs and unite as a region to recruit advanced manufacturing in an increasingly global competition, reports WPLN.

Beshear, a Democrat who is this year’s chairman of the Southern Governors Association, released a study on supporting the development of hi-tech manufacturing. It found that economic development incentives dished out to companies by southern states often top $100,000 per job. (Note: pdf of the study HERE.)

“For years, the states in the American South have competed with each other, but we have moved into a new era where we not only compete with one another, and other states in the U.S., but we are competing with the world,” said Gov. Beshear in a statement. “We can compete better if the region comes together on advanced manufacturing and presents a unified front. This report provides us with an important tool to begin the process.”

The 55-page document concludes states could save some money if they – instead – worked together, promoting the development of industry clusters that might cross state lines. It envisions states cooperating much like local governments do – jointly funding incentives and agreeing to split the potential tax revenues.

Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam isn’t buying the hand-holding. Spokesman David Smith says the administration supports the “exchange of ideas and best practices.” But the goal – he says – is still for Tennessee to become the “No. 1 location in the Southeast for high quality jobs.”

Kentucky’s Mitch McConnell Already Targeting Possible Challenger Ashley Judd (she’s an out-of-state, you know)

By Roger Alford, Associated Press
FRANKFORT, Ky. — U.S. Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell is gearing up for a tough re-election fight next year in Kentucky.
He wants to prevent one, too.
McConnell is trying to head off a GOP primary challenge by cozying up to the tea party. He’s also trying to scare off potential Democratic contenders — actress Ashley Judd is one — by providing a glimpse of his no-holds-barred political tactics.
The strategy seems to be working, so far. No serious Republican opponent has emerged. Democrats haven’t fielded a candidate yet, though Judd, a Kentucky native who lives in Tennessee, is considering a run. She would have to re-establish a residence in Kentucky before she could challenge McConnell.
The lack of an opponent hasn’t kept McConnell from sounding an alarm over his potential vulnerability. It’s a tactic rooted in reality and intended to help raise money.
“We know that President Obama’s allies in Washington are doing everything they can to find a candidate to run against me in a primary or a general election,” McConnell said in a statement to The Associated Press. “They’ve made no secrets about their willingness to back anybody right, left, or center to get me out of their way.”

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TN, KY Lawmakers to Fight for Dam Fishing?

PADUCAH, Ky. (AP) — If the Army Corp of engineers doesn’t back off a proposal to close fishing waters near dams on the Cumberland River, lawmakers from Kentucky and Tennessee may take up the issue in Congress.
Media reported that two western Kentucky county officials joined U.S. Rep. Ed Whitfield of Kentucky and U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander and U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper of Tennessee in a meeting Tuesday with Maj. Gen. Michael Walsh, the Corps’ deputy commander. The group discussed possible alternatives to closing the waters directly above and below the 10 dams the agency operates on the river and its tributaries, but no decisions were made.
The waters are plentiful with fish and attract anglers, but the corps has said the action is necessary for safety.
Whitfield and Alexander say they are prepared to file legislation if discussions don’t produce a satisfactory resolution.

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KY Preacher Challenges UT Speech Restrictions

CINCINNATI (AP) — John McGlone went to the University of Tennessee campus in Knoxville intent on preaching God’s word to college students but found himself tangled up with university administrators over a policy requiring student sponsorship to speak at the school.
After seeing his request denied, McGlone, a traveling evangelist from Breeding, Ky., sued the university, but lost. Now, a three-judge panel from the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati is weighing whether the university’s restrictions pass constitutional muster.
Judges Boyce Martin, John M. Rogers and John Tarnow quizzed attorneys for McGlone and the school Tuesday, pressing each side on whether there are permissible restrictions for on-campus speech and if the ones at Tennessee go too far.
“What about going to a football game?” Martin asked the school’s attorney. “Is everyone there an invitee? What if you don’t have a ticket? What if you just want to tailgate?”

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Ashley Judd Eyes Run for U.S. Senate — In Kentucky

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Actress Ashley Judd isn’t ruling out a run for U.S. Senate in Kentucky.
Democrats have been promoting Judd, a former Kentuckian now living in Tennessee, as a challenger to Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell in 2014.
In a statement Friday, Judd, a Democratic political activist, sidestepped the question of whether she would re-establish a residence in Kentucky and run against McConnell.
“I cherish Kentucky, heart and soul, and while I’m very honored by the consideration, we have just finished an election, so let’s focus on coming together to keep moving America’s families, and especially our kids, forward,” she said.
Judd, a regular at University of Kentucky basketball games and the Kentucky Derby, has starred in such movies as “Kiss the Girls,” ”Double Jeopardy,” ”Where the Heart Is,” and “High Crimes.” She is married to three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Dario Franchitti and is an annual spectator at the race.
So far, no Democrats have stepped forward to challenge McConnell, a political powerhouse in his home state who already has $6.8 million in the bank for his re-election campaign.
Even so, the Louisville Republican is certain to be targeted again by Democrats, just as he was in 2008 when he won re-election to a fifth term and gained the distinction of being Kentucky’s longest serving senator. McConnell spent some $20 million on his last election, beating Democrat Bruce Lunsford, a wealthy Kentucky businessman, by 6 percentage points.

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