A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

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,...

Bill Straub: McConnell turning a blind eye to Russian interference in elections goes beyond party loyalty

His report passed on charging President Extremely Stable Genius with illicitly coordinating with Russia on the 2020 presidential election and left the question of obstruction of justice to other authorities, but Robert Mueller, the special counsel responsible for diving into the whole sordid mess, made one thing perfectly clear – Russia “launched a concerted attack on our political system’’...

Bill Straub: Bevin had to know about firing of Lt. Governor’s deputy chief; could come back to bite him

Sayre’s Law postulates that, “In any dispute the intensity of feeling is inversely proportional to the value of the issues at stake,” an assertion that perfectly summarizes the ongoing contretemps involving Lt. Gov. Jenean Hampton and her one-time running mate and ally, Gov. Matt “Yosemite Sam’’ Bevin. Lt. Gov. Jenean Hampton The real stakes here are tinier than an atom, given that...

Bill Straub: Questions surrounding Sec. Chao not surprising, considering the company she keeps

WASHINGTON – The family that grifts together sticks together. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, ostensibly a resident of Louisville even though she shows up about as frequently as the visiting team at Slugger Field, has been in the news lately, and not in a particularly flattering way. Apparently she’s taking lessons on how to soil her vaunted office from her husband of long standing, Senate...

Mitch McConnell: Elected officials must work with parents to protect our youth from nicotine addiction

The youth vaping crisis is putting the health of our children at risk. To address this rampant and dangerous new trend, I’ve introduced the “Tobacco-Free Youth Act,” a bipartisan federal bill with my fellow tobacco state colleague, Virginia Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA). Once enacted, our legislation will raise the minimum purchase age for all tobacco and vaping products from 18 to 21 and help protect...

Rural Blog: McConnell touts efforts to manage Asian carp, including corraling and electroshock harvesting

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, whom The Economist dubbed one of the 100 most important people in the world, has many concerns, from dealing with President Trump to keeping a Republican majority in the Senate next year. But he spent much of a day last week talking about fish. And that is likely to be part of his re-election campaign in Kentucky. McConnell’s efforts to keep invasive, voracious...

Bill Straub: Who’s paying attention to what KY’s DC delegation is doing? Your reps deserve scrutiny

WASHINGTON – Back in early April members of the Kentucky congressional delegation, quite appropriately, sent a letter to President Extremely Stable Genius supporting a request from Gov. Mad Matt Bevin that a large swath of the state be declared a disaster area. In the letter, the lawmakers maintained that the Commonwealth “experienced severe weather that produced strong wind and torrential rain,...

Mitch McConnell: After a long fight, chemical weapons stored in Kentucky will soon be destroyed — safely

For decades, families in Madison County have lived alongside more than 500 tons of deadly chemical weapons stored at the Blue Grass Army Depot. Now, after years of engagement from the local community, the Depot will begin safely destroying its stockpile. I was honored recently to join this community to cut the ribbon and begin sending these awful weapons to the ash heap of history where they belong.   The...

Bill Straub: True to his character, McConnell changes his stance on potential U.S. Supreme Court vacancy

WASHINGTON – Sometimes it seems Senate Republican Leader Mitch “Root-‘n-Branch’’ McConnell is bound and determined to prove to the world that he is a malevolent cad and, in the stated view of one respected historian, the “grave digger of American democracy.’’ McConnell Most successful politicians try to hide their personal flaws to attract public support. McConnell, of Louisville, forges...

Bill Straub: In rear-guard action, McConnell declares ‘case closed,’ while plenty of questions remain

Senate Republican Leader Mitch “Root-‘n-Branch’’ McConnell took to the chamber floor this week and did everything but croon the lyrics from an old Stevie Wonder standard – “Ooo baby, here I am, signed, sealed, delivered, I’m yours’’ – in dedication to the true object of his current affections, President Donald J. Trump (ACK!). In so doing, McConnell, of Louisville, firmly established...

Bill Straub: Lear on Twitter and other things are we witnessing in the wake of the Mueller Report

John Leroy Maxwell authored a poem, later set to music, about a drunken degenerate who passes out in the gutter. He is soon joined in his idyll by a roaming pig. A woman passing nearby witnessed this slovenly scene and sniffed that you can tell a man “by the company he chooses.” “And the pig got up, and slowly walked away,’’ Maxwell wrote. Given that, it appears a whole passel of Kentucky...

Sen. McConnell aims to sponsor legislation making 21 the legal age to buy tobacco products in all states

By Al Cross and Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Thursday that he would sponsor legislation to make 21 the legal age to buy tobacco products in every state – a change that 12 states have recently adopted, but one that failed to pass the Kentucky legislature this year. McConnell said at a Louisville news conference that his move was prompted by the epidemic...

Bill Straub: Since it’s baseball season, let’s bat some things around – oops, out of strikes already

It’s baseball season once again — thank the lord — so let’s toss it around-the-horn political style: First. Give Rep. Thomas Massie, R-SomewhereorotherLewisCounty, credit – he’s not afraid to make a fool out of himself. And this time Wonder Boy, as the old saying goes, did it in front of God and everybody. Massie serves on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee,...