A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Bill Straub: McConnell will pass on serious climate change discussion, go right to Green New Deal vote

WASHINGTON – Oh, that Mitch “Root-‘n-Branch’’ McConnell, such a clever boy. Progressive lawmakers, growing increasingly concerned over the impact of global climate change and the inability to address the catastrophe because of no-nothing legislators who refuse to acknowledge its looming impact, have offered up what has come to be called the Green New Deal. The package, offered by Sen. Ed...

Rural Blog: Trump, McConnell urge TVA not to close two of its oldest coal-fired plants, one in Paradise

The Tennessee Valley Authority’s Paradise Fossil Plant in Muhlenberg County. The town of Paradise, which no longer exists, was made famous in 1971 by John Prine’s eponymous anti-strip mining song. (Photo by Kathleen Cole) President Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky are trying to convince to the federally owned Tennessee Valley Authority not to close two of its...

Mitch McConnell: Standing together, we will continue making great strides for Kentucky and our nation

In his State of the Union address, President Trump presented his vision for our country’s future. He articulated our national values, our economic potential, and the needs of families throughout the county. I was proud to once again welcome President Trump to the U.S. Capitol for this important speech, and I applaud his leadership. Standing together, we will continue making great strides for Kentucky...

Bill Straub: Comity, progress gone, we must protect voting rights to hold on to democratic process

If you’re black or brown or poor, it’s obvious now that Senate Republican Leader Mitch “Root-‘n-Branch’’ McConnell couldn’t care less about your sacred right to vote. House Bill 1 in the 116th Congress is titled the For the People Act, and is intended to address many of the glaring deficiencies in the nation’s electoral system. It strengthens campaign finance laws, establishes new...

Bill Straub: Thomas ‘Wonderboy’ Massie, darling of far-right fringe, wants to undermine the government

WASHINGTON – It’s fair to say that Rep. Thomas “Wonder Boy” Massie has one of the, well, most unusual voting records in Congress, a claim that even he is unlikely to contradict.  The Republican from SomewhereorotherLewisCounty has been busy since the outset of the 116th Congress engaging in the foolishness that has made him the darling of the nation’s far-right fringe, the Bluegrass’s...

Largest federal employee union brings shutdown conversation to Kentucky with billboard campaign

KyForward staff The American Federation of Government Employees Council of Prison Locals is set to launch a billboard campaign in an effort to bring an end to the partial government shutdown. The campaign will specifically target U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-KY, calling for him to bring House Resolution 21 to the Senate floor for a vote. Young The billboards are expected to contain...

Senator Mitch McConnell speaks out against House campaign finance reform package

By Mary Kuhlman Public News Service Monday is the ninth anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, which has resulted in a flood of anonymous dark money into political campaigns. And while some see hope for change in a new package of reforms passed by the U.S. House this month, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky is on the attack. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell...

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...

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...

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...

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...

Bill Straub: For want of a wall, for a temper tantrum, for dodging responsibility — is government lost?

For want of a wall, the government was lost, at least partially, and it doesn’t look like the darn thing is going to be found anytime soon. President “Tiny” Trump, once again throwing one of those tantrums we have all come to welcome and love, has decided to take his ball and go home, padlocking a goodly portion of the federal government because Congress won’t give him $5.7 billion to...

Mitch McConnell: Maternal mortality is climbing — and it was necessary to do something about it


It’s a trend that seems like it should be impossible in the wealthiest nation on Earth. But across America, the rate of maternal mortality is actually climbing – more than doubling in the last three decades.    Beneath these figures are heartbreaking personal tragedies. Sadly, families often face unavoidable health challenges, and it’s important that policymakers, community leaders, health...

Carl Shoupe: Crisis in the coalfields and what Mitch McConnell can do about it

My name is Carl Shoupe, from Lynch in Harlan County. I married a Benham woman, so now reside in this great little community that is struggling, much like my fellow miners in coal counties throughout Eastern Kentucky. I’d like to explain a little about the dreaded coal miner’s disease of black lung, national legislation that pays the health care each month for those miners with the disease, and...

Mitch McConnell: Industrial hemp legalization through Farm Bill provides new opportunity for Ky.

The Senate has opened a door to new opportunities for Kentucky agriculture. After extensive collaboration with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle, we passed one of my top Kentucky priorities for the year – a Farm Bill containing my legislation to legalize the production of industrial hemp. When President Trump signs the bill into law, Kentucky‘s farmers can continue to lead the nation in...

Bill Straub: Mitch McConnell is in an uncomfortable spot (and he did vote for Clinton’s impeachment)

Senate Republican Leader Mitch “Root-‘n-Branch’’ McConnell said a lot the other day by saying nothing. Asked by a reporter at a press briefing, “On Friday night, federal prosecutors implicated the president on two crime. Do you have any concerns about that?” McConnell, of Louisville, answered, to wit: “I don’t have any observations to make about that.” The inquiry, of course,...

Bill Straub: When you don’t know anything, it is probably best to shut up and listen to those who do

Permit me to borrow a phrase that has been used consistently by Senate Republican Leader Mitch “Root-‘n-Branch’’ McConnell and any number of his colleagues on the GOP side of the aisle: I am not a scientist. Here is my curriculum vitae on the subject: I somehow managed to survive a high school chemistry class taught by Mr. George Barstow who had been a teacher since the Roosevelt Administration...

Bill Straub: A new word to enhance your vocabularly; to describe ‘beyond shameful,’ try ‘mitchful’

Occasionally when following American politics you come upon a statement or claim that is so outrageous, so mind-boggling that characterizing it as shameless tends to understate the absurdity. Such statements extend well beyond the boundaries of shamefulness into a completely new territory. They are mitchful. Those of us who have witnessed the increasingly ghastly career of one Senate Republican Leader...

McConnell says Mueller investigation to continue; much to do in two months; he’s running in 2020

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he is upbeat about the results of the November General Election, both in Kentucky and across the country. 
On the GOP maintaining the supermajority in both the Kentucky House and Senate, the Louisville Republican told reporters on Friday: “I think we’re in good shape going into Governor (Matt)...