More than one hundred legislative races will be on the ballot this year in Kentucky, and for some, contenders must first get through a primary.
Among those is the 16th state Senate District, featuring incumbent Sara Beth Gregory of Monticello and political newcomer Max Wise of Campbellsville.
Gregory is an attorney who spent one term in the House before winning a special election to the Senate in 2012. She tells WKU Public Radio that being in both the majority and minority was beneficial.
"I definitely think it gives you more experience and a better perspective having served in both chambers and having relationships with people in both chambers is a helpful thing," says Gregory.
Looking back on the past session, Gregory says her greatest accomplishment was getting a bill passed that sets up an adult protection registry where prospective employers can see if job applicants have a history of abuse.
If re-elected, she wants to work toward increasing the state’s investment in education.
"That's something I want to continue to see us doing going forward. Investing in education will move our state forward by making it a better place to live, but also from a job creation standpoint, because it's critical to have an educated workforce," Gregory remarks.
U.S. Senator Rand Paul on Tuesday introduced the Stand with Israel Act of 2014. The Kentucky Republican’s legislation halts all U.S. aid to the Palestinian government until they agree to a ceasefire and recognize the right of Israel to exist.
The move comes after Palestine's major political party, Fatah, signed a unity agreement last week with a rival faction, Hamas, which the U.S. and Israel both recognize as a terrorist group.
In a statement on his website, Senator Paul says the Fatah-Hamas unity agreement brings both danger and opportunity to the peace process.
“Israel cannot be expected to negotiate with an entity that does not believe it should exist and that has used terrorist tactics to seek its end. That being said, the new unity government has a chance to put itself on the record as clearly believing in the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish state, as Israel recognizes the right of a Palestinian state to exist,” remarks Paul. “It should also declare an immediate and lasting ceasefire to enable negotiations. If that is accomplished swiftly, the peace process can move forward with two willing partners.”
The bill would cut aid after five weeks unless the Palestinians renounce violence and recognize Israel’s right to exist.
The Obama administration has said it is prepared to suspend U.S. aid to the Palestinians, which amounts to $400 million annually.
Kentucky’s junior U.S. Senator is undecided on a 2016 presidential bid, and so are his constituents.
A poll released Wednesday shows 31% of registered voters in Kentucky say Senator Paul should seek the Republican nomination for president while 34% say he should not. Another 32% are undecided.
The poll by the New York Times and the Kaiser Family Foundation questioned 891 registered Kentucky voters between April 8-15. While acknowledging his wife’s reservations about a presidential run, Paul has said he won’t make a decision until after the November elections.
Meanwhile, the Bowling Green Republican continues trekking across the country and speaking at events. This week he hosted school choice roundtables in Chicago and Milwaukee. This weekend, Senator Paul will be in Massachusetts speaking at the Harvard Institute of Politics. He’ll also address the state GOP convention in Maine.
Five Bowling Green attorneys laid out their case Thursday evening for why they should become Warren County's next Family Court Judge.
Attorneys Ralph Beck, John McCracken, Jennifer Brinkley, David Lanphear, and Rebecca Simpson have filed for the seat.
Candidates at the forum, answered questions ranging from personal and professional experience to how to manage a loaded docket.
“I think there are several good choices," said Lynn Hulsey, Director of Programs at the Family Enrichment Center in Warren County. "I think it will come down to people educating themselves and really understanding who the candidates are and listening to what they have to say.”
Hulsey, a member of the local Coalition to Prevent Child Abuse, which sponsored the forum, was pleased with the audience turnout.
“Families are the most important thing in a community. There are so many families that struggle. I’m not sure if people are aware how many families go through family court with all kinds of issues," added Hulsey. "This position is critical.”
The judgeship was formerly held by Margaret Huddleston, who died from cancer in January.
Dick Downey was appointed by Governor Beshear to serve the remainder of her term. Downey is not running for the seat in this year’s election.
The two candidates receiving the most votes in Kentucky's May 20 primary will move on to the November election.
Former Kentucky state auditor Crit Luallen says she will not run for governor in 2015.
Luallen has been mentioned as a possible Democratic contender as Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear finishes his second term.
In a written statement, Luallen said Thursday she is passionate about Kentucky's future but decided not to run because it was the best decision for her family.
Luallen's decision could open the door for Attorney General Jack Conway, a Luallen ally, to seek the Democratic nomination. Current state Auditor Adam Edelen is also considering running for governor. Republican Hal Heiner is the only person to officially announce as a candidate.
Democratic House Speaker Greg Stumbo has asked Democrats to delay their candidacies until after the November elections, in which Alison Lundergan Grimes is running for U.S. Senate and Democrats are trying to keep control of the state House of Representatives.
Paul’s fellow Kentucky Senator, Mitch McConnell writes a tribute to Paul in Time, saying the “real secret” to Paul’s “rapid rise from a Bowling Green operating room to the Center of American politics is his authenticity”.
McConnell also writes that Paul is “forcing people to rethink the Republican Party.”
Meantime, a New York Times/Kaiser Family Family Foundation poll released this week shows one-third of Kentucky voters think Paul should make a presidential run in 2016. Another third feel Paul should not, while just over 30 percent say they don't have enough information to form an opinion.
Paul has said he'll wait until after the mid-term elections to announce a possible White House bid.
Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes called Wednesday on President Obama to approve the Keystone XL oil pipeline as she tries to defeat an incumbent Republican in the heart of coal country.
Grimes' statement to The Associated Press comes on the day a group committed to blocking the pipeline announced it will spend $500,000 setting up field offices in Kentucky to try to defeat U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell.
Grimes has criticized the administration's energy policies before. But she had yet to take a position on the pipeline -- a key issue in Senate races pitting the value of economic development versus protecting the environment. Eleven incumbent Democrats wrote Obama earlier this month urging approval.
McConnell's campaign has criticized Grimes for not saying whether she supported the pipeline's construction.
Kentucky’s junior U.S. Senator is headed back to New England.
Republican Rand Paul will be in Massachusetts on Friday to speak at the Harvard Institute of
Politics. The head of the institute is former Kentucky Secretary of State Trey Grayson who lost the GOP Senate nomination to Paul in 2010.
"We are pleased to welcome my fellow Kentuckian Senator Rand Paul to Harvard," Grayson said in a statement. "One of the most compelling people in politics right now, Senator Paul has appeal throughout many constituencies - including outside of the traditional Republican coalition and with younger voters in the millennial generation. We are looking forward to him engaging with our students and the Harvard community."
On Saturday, Senator Paul travels to Maine to speak at the Republican Party's state convention.
The Bowling Green Republican is mulling a run for president, but he won’t make an announcement until after the November mid-term election.
By law, the only piece of legislation that the 2014 Kentucky General Assembly had to pass was a two-year state budget.
All else, as Will Rogers put it, is applesauce.
And with a session that began with a bang and ended with a whimper, it's what happened in between that House Speaker Greg Stumbo says lawmakers should be "proud" of.
Specifically, that they passed a compromised version of Gov. Steve Beshear's $20.3 billion state budget. House Minority Floor Leader Jeff Hoover, however, took to the editorial page of The Courier-Journal to vent about what he dubbed a "lackluster" session.
But the truth probably lies somewhere between the extremes of "proud" and "lackluster."
Many political observers noted a reluctance among lawmakers to tackle controversial measures—chief among them tax reform—because of the impending November elections that will prove as a test for House Democrats to retain their slim eight-seat majority.
Here's a look at the winners, losers and downright lost causes of the 2014 General Assembly.
The coal industry—A slate of coal-friendly bills easily cleared the legislature, including one that allows coal-fired power plants in the state to regulate their own carbon emission standards at lower-than-federal-levels. Lawmakers also approved a bill that provides a new round of tax incentives for coal and coal-related industries to subsidize their purchase of new equipment.