11:18 am
Mon October 6, 2014

One Week Before Debate, Grimes Leapfrogs McConnell In Bluegrass Poll

Alison Lundergan Grimes and Mitch McConnell each speak at the Red White & Blue Picnic in Owensboro in August
Credit Lisa Autry

There’s been a turnaround in the latest Bluegrass Poll, which now shows Democratic U.S. Senate nominee Alison Lundergan Grimes leading incumbent Mitch McConnell by two percentage points, 46-44.

Grimes’ lead is within the poll’s margin of error. In the last poll, released in late August, McConnell had a four-point lead over his challenger. 

The two candidates are scheduled to meet in debate next Monday on KET.  Libertarian candidate David Patterson, who garnered 3 percent support in the latest Bluegrass poll, was not invited to take part in the debate.  It's a decision that led Patterson to file suit against the network.

The deadline to register to vote in the November 4th election is Monday.

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8:21 am
Mon October 6, 2014

Kentucky's Voter Registration Deadline is Monday

Monday marks an important deadline for Kentuckians who want to vote in the November 4 election.  It’s the last day to register. 

Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes reminds that voter registration forms can be submitted at county clerk’s offices or online.

"We encourage everyone to go to www. elect.ky.gov and visit our voter information center," says Grimes.  "There, you can enter your first and last name and your social security number and check to see if you're registered.  If you're not, you can download the form to register to vote and send it in."

As of last month, Kentucky had more than 3.1 million registered voters.  Democrats outnumbered Republicans by more than 460,000.

12:24 pm
Fri October 3, 2014

Rand Paul Sounds Alarm On Ebola Risk in U.S.

U.S. Senator Rand Paul, R-KY

Kentucky Senator Rand Paul says he thinks “political correctness” is causing the government to downplay the threat of Ebola in the U.S. 

Speaking on Thursday on The Laura Ingraham Show, the Bowling Green ophthalmologist said the spread of the virus could be more serious than the government is disclosing.

"We should not underestimate the transmissibility of this," suggested Paul.  "Think about the people who are getting this that we've brought back home, the doctors and nurses who have completely gloved down and masked and they're still getting it."

The possible 2016 presidential contender also questioned the Obama administration’s decision to send American troops to the region to help contain the outbreak. 

"You also have to be concerned about 3,000 soldiers getting back on a ship," he said. "Where is disease most transmittable? When you're in a very close confines on a ship. We all know about cruises and how they get these diarrhea viruses that are transmitted very easily and the whole ship gets sick. Can you imagine if a whole ship full of our soldiers gets Ebola?"

The CDC has issued reassurances there is little risk of a traveler bringing Ebola to this country.  However, the government this week announced the first U.S. case of Ebola had been confirmed in a Liberian man who had traveled to Dallas to visit family. 

11:13 pm
Thu October 2, 2014

Romney Praises McConnell In Kentucky Senate Race

Mitt Romney during his 2012 presidential campaign
Credit Mitt Romney/Facebook

Former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney endorsed Sen. Mitch McConnell for re-election on Thursday after a private fundraiser at a Lexington horse farm.

Romney, who lost to Obama in 2012 but won Kentucky with 60 percent of the vote, said McConnell winning re-election would be good for Kentucky and good for the country because it could lead to him becoming the Senate majority leader if Republicans take control of the Senate. He said a McConnell-run Senate would result in lawmakers passing legislation Americans want to see passed.

Democratic challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes criticized Romney for his comments in 2012 that he did not worry about the 47 percent of voters who would vote for a Democrat no matter what. She said Kentucky deserves a senator who will fight to keep jobs in the state.

3:00 pm
Thu October 2, 2014

Kentucky Government Switching to Paperless Constituent Messaging System

Kentucky State Capitol in Frankfort
Credit www.ky.gov

Constituents across Kentucky should expect an easier time getting their concerns to lawmakers beginning next year when a new messaging system is implemented. 

The chances are pretty good that, when you call your state senator to complain about paving that road to your house, a dutiful employee of the Legislative Research Commission writes down your message onto a green piece of paper and sends it to the lawmaker.

The LRC goes through tens of thousands of such “green slips” each legislative session.

Marcia Seiler, acting director of the LRC, is replacing that system with an instant electronic messaging service that will connect constituents and legislators immediately.

“I had heard from various staff and legislators, and in viewing the process, seen that we needed to modernize and make this mode of communication between citizens and legislators more modern, more efficient," said Seiler.

However, critics say what the new system promises in efficiency will leave plenty to be desired in transparency.  The messages are considered private legislative communications, so there’s still no way to see just how responsive the General Assembly is to Kentuckians’ concerns.  The new system is supposed to take effect by January of next year.

6:16 pm
Wed October 1, 2014

Grimes Calls For Changes To Keep Jobs In U.S., Vows To Work With Republicans on EPA Regulations

Alison Lundergan Grimes campaigns in Bowling Green just before the Democratic Primary in May
Credit Emil Moffatt

Thousands of Kentucky workers continue looking for new opportunities in a state where the employment landscape continues to dramatically change.  Coal jobs have seen a steep decline – as have manufacturing positions – many of which have been relocated overseas. 

Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes says congress can take action to make Kentucky and every other state more attractive to U.S. companies.

“We can fund investments in American businesses that create jobs for Kentucky workers,” said Grimes in a phone interview with WKU Public Radio Wednesday. “I think we can expand tax credits for businesses relocating to the United States and end the tax breaks for businesses that ship jobs outside of the Commonwealth.  Rebuilding Kentucky’s manufacturing sector is a priority for me,” said Grimes.

As for increased EPA regulations which have been partially blamed for the loss of coal jobs, Grimes says, if elected, she will work closely with lawmakers from both parties to make sure national energy policy has a “meaningful, long-term place” for coal.

Grimes is trying to defeat five-term incumbent Republican Mitch McConnell in the November 4th election.

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4:45 pm
Wed October 1, 2014

McConnell: EPA "Crusade" Against Emissions from Coal Plants Will Have No Impact on Environment

Sen. Mitch McConnell (left) spoke to WKU Public Radio's Kevin Willis Wednesday.
Credit Abbey Oldham

Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell has made no secret of his plans should he win re-election next month and should he become Senate Majority Leader.

The latter will happen if McConnell defeats Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes and Republicans win a net of six Senate seats in November. McConnell has told audiences and reporters that, if he became Senate Majority Leader, he would seek to defeat President Obama’s legislative agenda by adding language to spending bills that would strip funding from projects the President supports.

In an interview with WKU Public Radio Wednesday, McConnell was asked specifically which programs he would seek to defund.

WKU Public Radio: What specific programs or initiatives would you seek to block if you were to become Senate Majority Leader?

Sen. Mitch McConnell: Well, my first choice, obviously, is to see what the President is willing to do with us. We need to do comprehensive tax reform. It’s been 30 years since we scrubbed the code. The President says he wants to do trade agreements. That’s a big winner for Kentucky agriculture. So I think you would anticipate kind of a mix of things, hopefully working on things we can agree on together.

But there are some things we would differ on. The initiatives that the President has carried out through the regulatory side have been quite burdensome to the economy. And we would indeed seek to reign in the regulators, and a good example of that is the war on coal, which has created a depression in eastern Kentucky.

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4:12 pm
Wed October 1, 2014

Whitfield Endorses Comer For Governor

U.S. Rep. Ed Whitfield
Credit Office of Rep. Whitfield

Republican U.S. Rep. Ed Whitfield has endorsed James Comer for governor.

Comer, the Republican state agriculture commissioner, is seeking the party's nomination for governor in 2015. Former Louisville Metro Councilman Hal Heiner is also seeking the Republican nomination.

In a news release from the Comer campaign, Whitfield said he believes Comer's achievements as agriculture commissioner makes him the candidate with the best chance to take back the governor's office. Democrats have won nine of the last 10 governor's elections.

Whitfield has represented Kentucky's 1st Congressional District since 1994. The district includes the city of Tompkinsville, Comer's home.

Former Republican U.S. Rep. Anne Northup and several state lawmakers also have endorsed Comer.

Attorney General Jack Conway is the only announced Democrat in the race. He has endorsements from former U.S. Sen. Wendell Ford, former state Auditor Crit Luallen and Democratic U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth.

3:13 pm
Tue September 30, 2014

Kentucky House Candidate Indicted for Not Reporting Sexual Abuse Involving Colleague, Minor

A candidate for a state House seat in south-central Kentucky has been indicted for failing to report a sexual abuse incident involving a former colleague.

John Wayne Smith is the Democratic challenger facing incumbent Republican Michael Meredith, who represents Edmonson, Hart, and Larue counties in the Kentucky House. WDRB-TV in Louisville first reported that Smith was indicted last week by a federal grand jury for failing to report an incident that occurred while he was director of the Bluegrass Challenge Academy at Ft. Knox.

The academy is a residential, educational program run by the state National Guard.

Smith allegedly had knowledge that 44-year-old Stephen Miller assaulted a female minor in February of 2013. Miller is also charged with sexual abuse against two other female minors in the months following the first alleged assault.

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4:23 pm
Mon September 29, 2014

Libertarian Senate Candidate Files Suit Against KET

U.S. Senate Candidate David Patterson, I-KY
Credit david4senate.com

Libertarian U.S. Senate candidate David Patterson is suing Kentucky Educational Television over his exclusion from an upcoming debate.                                

David Patterson is asking a federal judge to order KET to include him in the October 13 exchange.

Patterson’s name will appear on the November ballot, but KET says he wasn’t invited to the debate because he didn’t meet the network’s criteria, which says a candidate must have at least $100,000 in donations and be polling at least ten percent in a survey conducted by an independent pollster, among other requirements.

"The original criteria were put into place in March and at that time, Mr. Patterson met three of the four criteria, and only had to meet one," explained Patterson's attorney Chris Wiest.  "Following the primary, KET modified the debate criteria to require that four separate criteria all be met.  In doing that, internal emails from KET indicated they did it for the purpose of excluding third party candidates."

The lawsuit alleges that Patterson's 1st and 14th amendment rights were violated.  A KET spokesman told WKU Public Radio that the network does not comment on pending lawsuits. 

Patterson, a Harrodsburg police officer, is an underdog against Republican Senator Mitch McConnell and Democratic challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes who have raised millions of dollars in one of the country’s most competitive races.

Kentucky has just over 4,100 registered Libertarians, according the the Secretary of State's Office.