A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Al Cross: Power, precedents, and political pyromania — yes, indeed, Mitch McConnell is playing with fire

There is logic in Sen. Mitch McConnell’s argument for quickly filling the Supreme Court vacancy left by the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, but upon close inspection it reveals his flawed political nature – and its risk to the country. To many, the boss of the Senate seems to be following different rules than he did in 2016, when he declared hours after Justice Antonin Scalia died that the Senate...

Bill Straub: A pox on the Republic, rest in peace RBG, but word and honor don’t count in this game

Okay, let’s agree that President Donald J. Trump, aka President Extremely Stable Genius, aka President Great and Unmatched Wisdom,  has every right to provide a nomination for a vacant U.S. Supreme Court seat despite a national election looming around the corner. And there’s certainly nothing in the Constitution or statute law to prohibit Senate Republican Leader Mitch “Root-‘n-Branch’’...

Al Cross: Mitch McConnell should get Trump to stop contradicting science — that’s bad for public health

When I was a child growing up in one of the poorest counties in the nation, with one of the smallest percentages of college graduates of any county, I was lucky. I had parents who had been to college and knew something about public health and had even worked in it. Even the less fortunate folks in our community had respect for the local health department. We all knew that it was a trusted place with...

Bill Straub: Who to believe? New stimulus package (choose one: does, does not) look promising

It was Sen. George Aiken, a Republican from Vermont, who suggested in the fall of 1966 that the United States relieve itself from a growing quagmire in Vietnam by simply declaring victory and calling the troops home. “It may be a far-fetched proposal,” Aiken said in a now-famous floor speech, “but nothing else has worked.” Fast-forward 54 years and you’ll find Senate Republican...

Adrienne Bush: Congress can help communities invite new housing of all types by passing YIMBY Act

As the United States Congress returns to Washington this week, our Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has an opportunity to advance sensible, meaningful legislation that acknowledges housing affordability and availability as central to economic recovery, social equity, and a more stable, prosperous life for every American. From 2000–2015, the country built 7.3 million fewer homes than were needed...

Bill Straub: Truth or lie? Well, it’s probably a lie if the President says it — and James Comer believes

President Donald J. Trump, aka President Extremely Stable Genius, aka President Great and Unmatched Wisdom, is notorious for anyone of a million sins. But perhaps the man’s most infamous character flaw is his propensity to prefer climbing up a tree to tell a lie over standing on the ground to tell the truth. Even his most avid supporters – and don’t kid yourself, there’s still plenty of them...

Al Cross: McConnell, his power tested, needs a deal at this critical time for him and the nation

The last two times Kentuckians have re-elected Mitch McConnell to the U.S. Senate, his best logical argument has been his growing power: as minority leader in 2008, and would-be majority leader in 2014, why should a state with many needs give up such influence? Voters say it again and again. For most of his current campaign, McConnell has made a similar pitch, overtly in ads and subtly in “earned...

Bill Straub: Where is the Senate traditionalist now? Could he be the Emperor with no Clothes?

After what seems like centuries masquerading as the grand wizard of the U.S. Senate, a man whose ingenious strategies and maneuvers left the likes of Daniel Webster and Lyndon Baines Johnson disheveled in his imperial wake, Senate Republican Leader Mitch “Root-‘n-Branch’’ McConnell has been revealed for what he really is – a gutless wonder. He is the emperor with no clothes. He is, as the...

Bill Straub: Jobless wait nervously while McConnell dawdles on the unemployment supplement they need

More than 30 million jobless workers – including about 140,000 in Kentucky – will soon find that their unemployment checks used for superfluous purposes like, oh, food and rent and various other play pretties, are a little lighter during these mean economic times because, apparently, a bunch of folks here in Washington could care less. Topping that list, unsurprisingly, is Senate Republican Leader...

Emily Beauregard: Medicaid is essential for many Kentucky families in midst of economic downturn

With COVID-19 cases on the rise and key provisions of the CARES Act expiring at the end of July, the prospect of losing unemployment benefits, facing eviction, being unable to put food on the table, and having to return to school or work in an unsafe environment is looming for many Kentuckians. Any progress Kentucky has made in keeping our residents safe and healthy could be undone without the sustained...

Kentucky restaurateurs, distillers, musicians urge McConnell to support RESTAURANTS Act

Prominent Kentucky restaurateurs, chefs, distillers, musicians and industry leaders called on Senator Mitch McConnell to include the RESTAURANTS Act in the upcoming stimulus bill designed to resuscitate the devastated economy. On the press call, Kentucky chefs Edward Lee and Ouita Michel, joined by Old Rip Van Winkle Distillery’s Preston Van Winkle and Louisville-based band My Morning Jacket’s...

Kyle Keeney: Congress must protect access to care for Kentuckians, needed resources for hospitals

As COVID-19 cases hit record numbers in Kentucky, policymakers must work together to protect access to care and ensure our hospitals and other providers have the resources needed to fight this pandemic. However, this may be impossible if Congress doesn’t immediately update the Medicare Accelerated and Advance Payment Programs (MAAPP), which has been around for years and was updated and expanded by...

Dr. Ram Sanjeev Alur: COVID-19 relief bill must address rural Kentucky’s physician shortage

Even as many people hope for critically necessary financial support for struggling hospitals across the country, this next coronavirus relief package represents perhaps the best chance to address a critical issue facing rural America that has been magnified by the pandemic: the devastating shortage of health care providers in rural communities. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has done a tremendous...

VOA receives $2.6M federal grant to help pregnant and postpartum women in Southeastern Kentucky

Volunteers of America Mid-States received a $2.6 million federal grant, one of three in the nation, for treatment and recovery services for pregnant and postpartum women and their children in Southeastern Kentucky. VOA says it and the University of Kentucky’s Human Development Institute will use the money “to serve an estimated 1,250 individuals and their families over a five-year period,”...

Bill Straub: Leave it to Mitch to make terrible situation unbearable, and welcome to McConnell World

With the Covid-19 juggernaut sweeping across the nation, sidestepping the federal government’s thus-far paltry efforts to rein it in, you can always count on Senate Republican Leader Mitch “Root-‘n-Branch’’ McConnell to make a terrible situation even worse. Despite recent bromides paying tribute to Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases...

Rural Blog: Booker says liberals must listen to rural conservatives, find commonality, build relationships

First-term state Rep. Charles Booker of Louisville, an African American who nearly won the nomination to face Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in Kentucky, told The New York Times that progressives need to “show up and listen” to rural conservatives who like President Trump if they want to build a winning coalition in the Democratic Party. “What I tell folks is that, honestly,...

Al Cross: Does Amy McGrath have any chance against Mitch McConnell?

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell surely smiled as he watched Amy McGrath slip, stumble and nearly fall to state Rep. Charles Booker in the Democratic primary for his seat. The first challenger who could match Mr. Money dollar for dollar had to drain half her campaign fund to fend off an upstart who was the ideal surfer of a historic wave of outrage about police treatment of his fellow African...

Commentary: It’s imperative for federal government to step up, provide the resources for rent relief

By Adrienne Bush, Marilyn Harris and Tiffany Marthaler Special to KyForward In March, this country’s economy was brought to a scratching halt by the COVID-19 pandemic. Millions of people are out of work, with little hope of returning to a new “normal” anytime soon. In June, three months into the COVID-19 state of emergency, many of us watched the lines of hundreds of people still waiting for...

Bill Straub: Amy McGrath has won nomination to challenge Mitch McConnell; what will she do with it?

So, now that Amy McGrath has won the Democratic nomination to challenge Senate Republican Leader Mitch “Root-‘n-Branch” McConnell in the fall, what is she going to do with it? Not much, if you listen to the analysts who are paid to handicap this sort of thing. Both Sabato’s Crystal Ball, ramrodded by Larry Sabato at the University of Virginia Center for Politics, and the Cook Political...

Al Cross: Any doubt about the vote count could resonate long past the primary

Voting for the Democratic nomination to face Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is over, but the election is not, because most ballots were mail-in absentees due to the pandemic and are still being counted. That means the campaigns aren’t over, either, and that could affect the general election. Wednesday afternoon, the campaign of state Rep. Charles Booker sought donations “to hire lawyers,...