A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Mitch McConnell: Democrats fail to fund national defense, put partisan agenda ahead of armed forces

At the end of October, President Trump announced U.S. special operations forces eliminated Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the world’s most wanted terrorist and the vile leader of ISIS. Whatever your politics, every American should express sincere gratitude to the intelligence professionals and servicemembers who carried out this brave defense of the American way of life. Kentuckians should be especially proud...

State Representative Charles Booker announces intent to challenge McConnell in 2020 Senate race

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today A freshman state lawmaker from Louisville is the latest Democrat to announce their intent to explore a run against U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell in the 2020 race. State Rep. Charles Booker was elected to the House in 2018, becoming the youngest black state legislator in 90 years. During his term, Booker has championed gun reform, voting rights, labor laws, and criminal justice;...

Bio-acoustic fish fence aimed at stopping Asian carp migration now operational at Lake Barkley

An experimental project designed to keep invasive Asian carp from moving farther up the Cumberland River was unveiled Friday at Lake Barkley. A bio-acoustic fish fence (BAFF) was deployed on the downstream side of Barkley Lock. U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell and U.S. Congressman James Comer along with project partners, ceremonially inaugurated the BAFF system as part of a three-year evaluation to deter...

Bill Straub: Looks like Bevin managed to step on his own tail, but don’t count Mitch out just yet

It was during the Republican National Convention in Houston in 1992 and renowned columnist Molly Ivins was talking about Clayton Williams, the Republican gubernatorial candidate in Texas who, despite all odds, lost to Democrat Ann Richards as a result of highly erratic behavior and questionable comments, like publicly recounting various adventures in a Mexican cathouse. Ivins allowed that the Williams...

Rural Blog: Department of Agriculture publishes rules allowing widespread production of hemp

The Department of Agriculture has published a final rule allowing farmers to legally begin widespread hemp production. It has “requirements for licensing, maintaining records on the land where hemp will be grown, testing the levels of THC — the active ingredient in marijuana that causes a high — and disposing of plants” that could, David Pitt reports for The Associated Press. The rule...

Kentucky by Heart: Kentucky Senator Richard Mentor Johnson led an interesting and controversial life

By Steve Flairty KyForward Columnist I have been reading The US Senate and the Commonwealth (University Press of Kentucky, 2019), by Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell and Roy Brownell II. It focuses on an overall study of senate leadership, along with a fascinating look at what the book calls “the colorful and vivid lives of fifteen Kentucky lawmakers, including Henry Clay, Alben Barkley, and John...

Al Cross: McConnell cares most about the state Attorney General race, and things are looking up

For Mitch McConnell, things in Kentucky are looking up. In Washington, not so much. The races are close, but the Senate majority leader’s state appears likelier than not to elect Republicans to the state’s top offices Nov. 5. McConnell and Gov. Matt Bevin, former rivals, have learned how to get along and stay out of each other’s way, and a Bevin victory should increase McConnell’s chances of...

Bill Straub: McConnell dismisses rules of fair play, obstructs progress, to further his own agenda

WASHINGTON – The United States Senate has been converted into a cemetery during the 116th Congress and it should come as a surprise to no one that the primary grave digger is one Addison Mitchell McConnell. Much of what the House has sought to accomplish this year has been relegated to the legislative mausoleum controlled by our own Senate Republican Leader Mitch “Root-’n-Branch’’ McConnell,...

National leaders, UK officials launch HEALing Communities Study to stem tide of opioid deaths

Flanked by national leaders in the fight to reduce deaths from opioid use – including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Health and Human Services Secretary Alex M. Azar – the University of Kentucky Monday officially launched the HEALing (Helping End Addiction Long-term) Communities Study – Kentucky. “Today’s launch symbolizes – in the most powerful and compelling way possible –...

Bill Straub: President Trump hides in plain sight, while Mitch McConnell provides the cover he needs

WASHINGTON – It was left to Senate Republican Leader Hugh Scott and a couple of senior members of the upper chamber to make the short trip down Pennsylvania Avenue to the White House in August 1974 to tell the second-most corrupt president in the nation’s history – Richard Nixon – that the jig was up. Scott, a pipe-smoking, mustachioed, moderate from Pennsylvania, didn’t exactly blurt out...

Mitch McConnell: Kentucky is turning the tide against substance abuse, but there’s more work ahead

Families in nearly every neighborhood of our country have suffered because of the opioid and substance abuse epidemic. For years, the situation just seemed to get worse as addiction hurt more families. Kentucky has tragically been among the hardest-hit states. Thankfully, however, our years-long efforts are finally producing a glimmer of hope. A new report released this summer showed overdose deaths...

Bill Straub: Deja Vu all over again — gun massacres, promise of controls, then nothing; repeat rapid fire

All right, let’s break this one down to its component parts. On the morning of Aug. 3, a gunman, 21-year-old Patrick Crusius, shot and killed 22 people and injured 24 others in El Paso, TX. About 13 hours later, in Dayton, OH, a second gunman shot and killed 10 people and injured 17 others. The incidents brought to 251 the number of mass shootings that have occurred in the United States of America...

Al Cross: Trump is back-and-forth on gun control; in the end he and McConnell must agree

In Louisville on Wednesday, President Trump said he would get, or help get, Gov. Matt Bevin and Sen. Mitch McConnell re-elected: “We’ll get them both back in.” Bevin was on hand, to bask in the glow of a president who has the approval of most Kentucky voters and whose support he needs to win a second term. McConnell wasn’t around, because he was recovering from surgery six days earlier to repair...

Mitch McConnell: Hemp legalization opens new doors for Kentucky farmers, processors, manufacturers

Kentucky’s farmers are among the best in the world. It’s no surprise agriculture leaders from around the country are looking to the Bluegrass State and our prospering hemp industry. Right now, hemp is growing in 101 of our 120 counties and $100 million worth of Kentucky grown and processed hemp products are expected to be sold this year alone. Our Commonwealth is proud of our long history with...

Bill Straub: Following the McConnell footsie game through Russia to an aluminum plant in Greenup

They don’t call him Moscow Mitch for nothing. Senate Republican Leader Mitch “Root-‘n-Branch’’ McConnell, of Louisville, has earned so many derogatory nicknames over the past few years that there are too many to list in a single column. Some, like Darth Vader and The Grim Reaper, he embraces with aplomb. But the one that gets under his skin is the aforementioned Moscow Mitch, duly earned...

Bill Straub: ‘Moscow Mitch’ has a ring (of truth) to it, but what’s one more notch in McConnell’s belt?

One of the items on Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s massive to-do list, before he left office in May, was to determine the extent of Russia’s finagling in the 2016 election that landed President Extremely Stable Genius in the White House and just how effective those efforts might have been. Mueller found that the Kremlin was, indeed, involved up to its eyeballs in the campaign. asserting in his...

Bill Straub: Rand Paul’s excuse for voting against 9/11 victim’s compensation bill was deficit. Really?

Sen. Rand Paul wants it both ways. That, as you likely realize, is par for the course with politicians who too often say one thing and then do something different, hoping no one notices. But it’s particularly striking for the Bowling Green Republican who presents himself as the Drakon Kholkikos when it comes to guarding the federal treasury, tersely rejecting various efforts to fund initiatives that...

Al Cross: McGrath stumbles, Broihier steps up, others in wings, then there’s Mitch McConnell

The very idea that Kentucky voters would turn out Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell next year, given his and their allegiance to President Trump, seems the stuff of fiction. But Amy McGrath made the all-but-impossible look possible in the first day of her Senate campaign last week, setting a first-day record of $2.5 million. McGrath thus raised the prospect that the national following and fund-raising...

Bill Straub: Enter fighter pilot Amy McGrath who will need big fire-power against Mitch McConnell

Former fighter pilot Amy McGrath is hoping that politics, like love in the old Sammy Cahn-Jimmy Van Heusen song, is lovelier the second time around. McGrath, the Democrat who fell to Rep. Andy “Empty Suit’’ Barr, R-Lexington, in a close-but-no-cigar race for the Commonwealth’s Sixth Congressional District seat last November, has emerged from the fog to challenge bigger game – Senate Republican...

Amy McGrath to seek Democratic nomination to face incumbent Mitch McConnell for Senate in 2020

Staff report Amy McGrath, a retired Marine fighter jet pilot from Northern Kentucky, has announced her 2020 candidacy for the Senate seat now held by Mitch McConnell. McGrath, 44, a Democrat, lost her first race last year against incumbent Republican Andy Barr, by just three percentage points but her strong campaign propelled her to national prominence. McGrath now lives in Georgetown with her husband,...