A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Mitch McConnell: Visits with constituents back home help to guide Kentucky’s priorities in Washington

Whenever the Senate is not in session, I enjoy working at home in Kentucky and hearing first-hand from my constituents. During the July state work period, I again traveled across Kentucky to meet with families, veterans, workers and students. I’m proud to represent them in Washington and always appreciate spending time with them in the Commonwealth. These conversations help me – as Senate Majority...

Constance Alexander: Logan County’s South Union settlement celebrates Shaker tradition of equality

When I was growing up, “Life” was a staple in my house. Joan, my piano teacher’s daughter, worked for the weekly magazine. I glanced admiringly at her name on the masthead every week; it was an honor to know someone with such a glamorous job. Occasionally, a front cover made a memorable impression. For instance, when I was about five years old, there was one featuring Marilyn Monroe in a clingy...

Wayne Lewis: The time is now to hold Kentucky’s public education system to a higher standard

There are a few things that I consider non-negotiable when talking about education in Kentucky. First and foremost, I think a diploma from a Kentucky high school should mean something. For the 2016-17 academic year, just 65.6 percent of seniors across the state were college and career ready. That means that out of the 45,000 students who graduated that year, more than 15,000 of them weren’t ready...

Jason Kilmer: Kentuckians deserve a new majority in Frankfort to embrace opportunities for the state

Viewing the dysfunctional proceedings of the recent session of the Kentucky General Assembly, I believe Kentucky deserves better. Kentucky needs to get serious about the relationship between education and state revenues. A University of Kentucky study shows the relationship between educational attainment and increased tax revenue. This study shows even the modest change of increasing Associate’s...

Bill Straub: Who’s on first, second and third? Don’t ask Moe, Curly or Larry, facts befuddle them

I experienced an educational moment at the ripe, old age of 65 the other day, actually it was significantly more than a moment but that’s neither here nor there because it was enlightening to say the least. It involved Facebook and an interaction with a gang of Trumpsters. I learned a lot, actually, but I ended up feeling like Bud Abbott trying to explain to Lou Costello who’s on first – sometimes...

Rev. Donald Gillett: Elimination of vision, dental benefits runs contrary to the teachings of Jesus

Scripture tells us that God is the Great Physician. The Gospels provide story after story of Jesus’ healing ministry on earth. The apostles continued this ministry in the world, bringing not just spiritual good news, but physical wellbeing to the poor and oppressed. These are the examples that we in the Christian faith are called to follow, and other faith traditions have similar requirements to...

Constance Alexander: Local news organizations are an important part of the fabric of our communities

When photojournalist Joshua McKerrow was asked what plans the Capital Gazette had for going forward after the slaughter of five of the Annapolis newspaper’s employees, his answer was simple: “We’ll just get back to work,” he said. “You know, July 4 is next week. We’ve got to cover the parade.” McKerrow answered without hesitation, with no thought that coverage of community news would...

Chris Lewis: Alternatives to incarceration work, it’s time for common sense justice reform

My name is Chris Lewis and I’ve been in recovery since August 11, 2013. For so many years I knew something was wrong with me, even as a kid, but I couldn’t put the puzzle together. I had loving parents but they faced their own challenges. I grew up thinking my childhood was “normal” in spite of the fact that I was routinely beaten and experienced sexual abuse. As a child, I acted out and...

Bill Straub: It take a certain talent to spew gibberish on a consistent basis, and McConnell has talent

Looks can, indeed be deceiving. Take Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, for example. McConnell, of Louisville, comes across as your dull, standard issue white-man-in-a-suit with a droning voice who would turn the head of absolutely no one at the neighborhood Piggly-Wiggly. But the fact is ol’ Root-‘n-Branch is one of the most outrageous figures to hit the American scene since Huey Long,...

Richard Nelson: Declaration of Independence worth celebrating, but what are we fighting for today?

It was 242 years ago when America’s colonial leaders declared their independence from a tyrant who trampled their rights and usurped their self-rule. They outlined 27 specific violations citing a “long train of abuses” reaching back a decade to the Stamp Act and decided the relationship was irretrievably broken. So on July 4, 1776, the Founders formally separated from Great Britain...

Melissa Martin: This Fourth of July, stop the political-pelting for one day and celebrate America

Happy Birthday, America! Happy Birthday to you. Happy Birthday, Dear American, Happy Birthday to you. Sing along with me. Let’s eat cake and celebrate the Untied States. Our nation was born on July 4, 1776. And the Fourth of July is the day we commemorate the signing of the Declaration of Independence; the day the 13 colonies declared independence from Great Britain. Stop the Trump-bashing for one...

Constance Alexander: Commonwealth Honors Academy celebrates 18 years of Dr. Randall Black

No banners, no clubhouse, no colorful posters, not even a bonafide membership card, but back in 2002 the Dr. Randall Black Fan Club did have an official tee-shirt. Elizabeth Cawein, the unofficial president, remembers honoring the object of her dorm floor’s affections when she and scores of other rising high school seniors participated in the Commonwealth Honors Academy (CHA) at Murray State University. A...

Eli Capilouto: Creating a real ‘sense of place’ means listening, re-thinking, to embrace all our students

As thousands of new students and families visit campus for “see blue. U,” we are reminded of the important sense of place that a college or university must be for those who learn, discover, work, and heal on its campus. That sense of place — of belonging — is fundamental to the success of UK and to each individual who steps foot on our campus.  The importance of place was evident last week...

John Schickel: Kentucky’s pension crisis, budget ‘explosion’ remain state’s major issues

Benjamin Franklin is said to have said “when people find they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of a republic.” I hope and pray that is not where we are as a country, but recent developments in Frankfort this year would tend to indicate we are heading down that path. Next to the pension crisis, the explosion in the budget to cover Medicaid — a jointly funded, Federal-State...

Jason Bailey: It’s time for Kentucky to embrace a sensible approach to paying employee pensions

The long pension saga of the last year gave rise to the largest mobilization of Kentuckians to the Capitol the state has seen in decades. The unpopularity of proposals led lawmakers to try sneaking the final pension bill into sewage legislation, which the Franklin Circuit Court declared unconstitutional last week. The whole episode will mean a halt to more legislative attacks on pensions for the time...

Bill Straub: Take Carrollton KY, a good, safe place to live (as it should be) but diverse with ‘darker’ people

Some years back, at least a quarter-century ago when the burley economy was still thriving, I spent a couple days in Carrollton to research an article on migrant labor. I recall driving toward the Ohio River at the northern edge of town one evening when I happened upon a grocery store, and not just any grocery store. It was painted in red and green and the signs out front were all in Spanish. In this...

Mitch McConnell: America on right track as consumer confidence soars, unemployment shrinks

Not even two years into the Trump administration, our country is finally getting back on the right track. On the heels of a major regulatory rollback and historic tax reform, consumer confidence is soaring and unemployment is shrinking. I’m proud of the many promises this Republican Congress has worked closely with President Trump to fulfill for your family, and I would like to update you on our...

Constance Alexander: A nation that went to the moon should be able to solve today’s complex problems

Families got a package deal on tonsillectomies when I was a child. At least that is how it seems to me as I reflect on my experience. I was the one with constant sore throats and upper respiratory infections. My older sister Jeanne had none of those complaints, yet we had our tonsils out at the same time. Daddy stayed home from work, and my mother made us dress in church clothes, white gloves and...

Col Owens: Middle class ‘hollowing out;’ we need to rebalance our overall economy for stability, security

Financial advisors recommend that investment portfolios be routinely rebalanced, even when they are doing well, to achieve long-term stability and security. In much the same way, we need to rebalance our overall economy – to achieve long-term stability and security. Our present economy is healthy in several respects. Unemployment is low, and median household incomes have recently increased. However,...

Rick Sanders: KSP safeguards citizens, employees and facilities, in full view of First Amendment

There has been significant media coverage in recent weeks surrounding protests by the Poor People’s Campaign (PPC) at the Kentucky State Capitol in Frankfort. Some sources have suggested that this group is somehow being arbitrarily “shut out” of access to the building because of the content of their message. This is simply not true. While the Kentucky State Police (KSP) works daily to safeguard...