A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Aaron Thompson: Setbacks are inevitable, but on this Martin Luther King Day, let us celebrate progress

If Martin Luther King Jr. were alive today, he would have just celebrated his 90th birthday. Inevitably, I find myself wondering how Dr. King would rate America’s progress in achieving social and racial justice. The election of our first black president in 2008 was a watershed event that reminded us of just how far we’ve come since the 1965 Voting Rights Act, which abolished Jim Crow laws that...

Al Cross: Bevin’s chances for re-election, if he runs, are better than you think, popularity notwithstanding

If Gov. Matt Bevin really does run for re-election, as he keeps saying he will, and as I believe he will, what chance does he have of winning? Better than you might think. Yes, he may be America’s most unpopular governor. In the latest Morning Consult state-by-state poll, for the last quarter of 2018, his approval rating was 34 percent and his disapproval was 51 percent. (Four other governors had...

Hank Phillips: State riding a big tourism wave, creating major economic impact across the state

Kentucky is riding a tourism wave that promises to grow, adding to its already impressive contributions to the state’s economy. Tourism-related businesses and convention bureaus across the Commonwealth work tirelessly to cement Kentucky’s name in the tourism industry. And the results speak for themselves. The success of Kentucky Tourism Commissioner Kristen Branscum and other tourism and culinary...

Mitch McConnell: Democrats refusal to address southern border crisis another example of absurdity

There is a humanitarian and security crisis at our nation’s southern border. Our country is threatened by the inflow of drugs and criminal aliens. Career border security experts continue to express strong support for physical barriers. The simple truth is these walls and fences work. In fact, the Trump administration reports that in four border sectors where physical barriers were recently built...

Retired Justice Daniel Venters: The Governor’s verbal attacks on the courts are wrong — and ‘fake news’

Governor Bevin responded to the Kentucky Supreme Court’s recent unanimous opinion on the 2018 pension reform bill by accusing all seven Justices of being politically-motivated “activist judges” who defied the Rule of Law in an “unprecedented power grab.” He said the Court’s opinion was “screwing Kentucky.” As the Supreme Court Justice who wrote that opinion, and as a Republican who...

Bill Straub: Character is indispensable, character matters, character first; did someone say ‘character’?

Apparently a person’s character doesn’t amount to a hill of beans in Sen. Rand Paul’s world. The Bowling Green Republican, who once referred to President Trump (YIKES!) as “a delusional narcissist and an orange-faced windbag,’’ has somehow emerged as the most intense defender of said orange-faced windbag in the upper chamber, going so far as to wage attacks on those who might suggest that...

Ryan Quarles: USMCA must be passed to protect, expand market access for American agriculture

On the heels of the successful passage of the federal farm bill, and with a new year upon us, there is a major opportunity to protect and expand market access for American agriculture in 2019: Congress must pass USMCA. The last year has been dominated by headlines about international trade and the tough tri-lateral negotiations involving the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Now, a new trade framework...

Constance Alexander: Sharing fond memories of tripping the light fantastic with the divine Mr. M

It wasn’t my mother’s idea to sign me up for Friday night ballroom dance classes at the local YMCA. The mother of my best friend, Anne, had suggested it, and my mother must have agreed. After all, Anne and I were in eighth grade and our class at St. Francis was all girls. It was high time we developed social skills for high school, where there would be boys, dances, and dating, a Trifecta of temptations,...

Mark Glasper: Stop pharmacy benefits managers from fleecing Kentuckians, eliminate middleman

Thanks to new federal and state laws, including Rep. Michael Meredith’s House Bill 463 from 2018, your pharmacist can finally inform you when the real price of your medicine is less than the copayment charged by your insurer. This much-needed transparency means consumers will finally be aware of something that happens far more often than they know.   But this is only the tip of the iceberg when...

Amy Bensenhaver: Some things shouldn’t change; ‘selective disclosure’ does not apply to open records

A bedrock principle of the open records law has recently come under fire. BR 821, pre-filed by Danny Carroll (R-Paducah), was quickly withdrawn after access advocates vociferously criticized the bill. Among other offensive proposals, the bill would permit courts to impose agency attorneys’ fees on open records requesters in cases in which the court found the requesters’ purpose “inproper.”...

Wayne Lewis: 2019 legislative agenda prioritizes student success and parent empowerment

At its Dec. 5 meeting, the Kentucky Board of Education (KBE) voted to approve a list of legislative priorities for the 2019 session of the General Assembly that places student success and preparedness and family empowerment at the center of our legislative efforts during the upcoming session. Admittedly, our agenda is ambitious, but I believe the legislative changes we are seeking are central to taking...

Mitch McConnell: Kentuckians benefitting from clout in Washington; here are some examples from 2018

Throughout 2018, I worked with my colleagues and President Trump to accomplish a great deal across Kentucky – from Paducah to Pikeville. We legalized industrial hemp, opening new doors of opportunity for farmers. We bolstered funding for our military and our veterans. And we helped protect families from the scourge of the opioid epidemic and the terrors of human trafficking. My most important responsibility...

Bill Straub: Even the ‘best bad idea’ won’t get the Republicans out the hole Trump has dug for them

Some years ago, Steve Martin (yeah, the guy with the banjo), then an up-and-coming standup comic, introduced a routine and produced an album he titled “Let’s Get Small.” “I like to get small,’’ Martin would tell his always enthusiastic audience. “It’s a wild, wild drug.” Well, apparently Senate Republican Leader Mitch “Root-‘n-Branch’’ McConnell has uncovered Martin’s...

Commentary: Leaders of state’s three largest airports say infrastructure should be top priority in 2019

By Dan Mann, Candace McGraw, and Eric Frankl As leaders of Kentucky’s three largest commercial service airports, we understand that infrastructure investment is critical to our state’s continued economic success. Eric Frankl Our airports are critical infrastructure assets to Kentucky, supporting more than 100,000 jobs and creating a $13 billion impact for the Commonwealth and the Louisville, Lexington,...

Constance Alexander: Dual exhibitions celebrate art and life of renowned Kentucky painter Joy Thomas

Joy Thomas was petite and soft-spoken, with a light southern accent sweet as honey on homemade biscuits. When it came to her artwork, however, she was no lightweight; she flexed every muscle. A renowned portrait painter with commissions in every sector of business, government, academia, and finance, she understood the practical aspects of self-employment, while always sensitive to the subtleties of...

Melissa Martin: An alternative history of Appalachia by Elizabeth Catte, a rebuttal to Hillbilly Eulogy

The Appalachian region, defined by the Appalachian Regional Commission, includes 420 counties in 13 states in the United States. All of West Virginia, parts of Kentucky, and parts of Ohio are considered Appalachian. The story of an Appalachian family was told by J.D. Vance in his 2017 book, Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir Of A Family And Culture In Crisis. It will soon become a Ron Howard Hollywood movie. Many...

Bill Straub: Think of all the great acts. Give big round of applause now for McConnell, Paul and Trump

In the past, we’ve had Laurel and Hardy, Burns and Allen, Abbott and Costello. Now we have McConnell and Trump. In an interview with columnist Fred Barnes, an acquaintance from the days of appearing on “Issues in the News’’ over the Voice of America, Senate Republican Leader Mitch “Root-‘n-Branch’’ McConnell, of Louisville, squealed like a four-year-old holding a double-scoop ice cream...

Melissa Martin: Tick-Tock, Tick-Tock — looking back so we can look forward to do more, be more

So long 2018 — Hello 2019. Another year (2018) has departed — 12 months, 52 weeks, and 365 days have ticked away. The residue of events, happenings, and goings-on of 2018 dwell in newspapers, history books, human memories—and in the bowels of computer hard drives, cell phones, and other techno devices. More time has passed — 8760 hours, 525,600 minutes, and 31,536,000 seconds have ticked away....

Constance Alexander: As 2018 comes to a close, looking back on a year of Main Street columns

Usually depicted with two identical faces looking in opposite directions, the Roman deity Janus gave his name to the month January. The god of gates and doorways, Janus acknowledged the past and the future at the same time. That said, it seems appropriate for the first Main Street of the year to reflect on the highlights of 2018 and peek into the future. Starting with the basics, Main Street 2018 can...

Amye Bensenhaver: The year in review — open government defeats and victories in 2018

From a failed legislative attempt to undermine the open records law by redefining “public record” to exclude public officials’ communications about public business on their private devices and accounts to a series of cases reaffirming the principles that support that law, Kentucky’s open government laws experienced legislative defeats and judicial victories in 2018. Along the way, we were regularly...