Mitch McConnell

Michelle Hanks

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell defended President Trump on Tuesday, days after the president tweeted that a group of Democratic congresswomen should “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.”

McConnell declined to directly address Trump’s statement, instead saying that political rhetoric has gotten “way overheated all across the political spectrum,” focusing on statements made by Democrats.

 


J. Tyler Franklin, WFPL

This week in Kentucky politics, retired Marine fighter pilot Amy McGrath announced she'll  challenge Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in next year’s race for U.S. Senate. But the launch had a rocky start.

Also, Gov. Matt Bevin might be a little closer to calling a special legislative session on pensions this summer.

Jean West from member station WFPL talked to Ryland Barton for this week’s edition of Kentucky Politics Distilled.


Amy McGrath

Former Marine fighter pilot Amy McGrath had had a tough rollout of her U.S. Senate campaign this week, showing some of the difficulties of running a statewide campaign as a Democrat in increasingly Republican Kentucky.

In interviews with the Courier Journal and Insider Louisville on Wednesday, McGrath said she would have voted to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court, quickly drawing ire from some of her more liberal supporters.

“You know, I think that with Judge Kavanaugh, yeah, I probably would have voted for him,” McGrath told the Courier Journal.

 


Even from the beginning, Mitch McConnell and Donald Trump had a complicated relationship.

In 1989, McConnell was running for reelection to the Senate. As he once told a Senate committee, the reason he and other lawmakers spent much of their time fundraising was because "we like to win."

Amy McGrath

The woman hoping to challenge U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell in this fall’s general election is off to a record-setting fundraising start.  

Amy McGrath, a former Marine fighter pilot, took to MSNBC Tuesday morning to announce her bid for the Senate seat held by McConnell since 1985.

Within 24 hours, McGrath’s campaign raised $2.5 million. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee says that dwarfs the previous record of $1 million dollars raised during the first 24 hours of a Democratic Senate bid.


Amy McGrath's campaign

After losing a congressional race last year, retired Marine fighter pilot Amy McGrath has set her sights on toppling Mitch McConnell from his seat in the U.S. Senate in 2020. And she will once again face the challenge of trying to appeal to voters in urban and rural parts of the state at the same time.

During her first interview of the campaign, McGrath revealed a new strategy for Democrats — accusing McConnell of getting in the way of President Donald Trump’s agenda.

In an interview on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, McGrath said that Kentuckians voted in favor of Trump during the 2016 election because “they wanted to drain the swamp,” and because he promised to bring back jobs and lower drug prices.

Amy McGrath To Run For Mitch McConnell’s U.S. Senate Seat

Jul 9, 2019
Amy McGrath

Amy McGrath, a Marine combat aviator who narrowly lost a House race to an incumbent Republican in Kentucky, has set her sights on an even more formidable target: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

McGrath, whose campaign announcement video in her House race showcased the viral power of social media to raise money and national profile, said Tuesday she will be trying to defeat one of the most entrenched officials in Washington in McConnell. But she sees him as vulnerable because of his lengthy tenure in Washington, his stance on health care and his taut allegiance to the policies of President Donald Trump.

Evan Heichelbech

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell joined Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles and USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue in Louisville Tuesday to talk to hemp farmers and providers about the industry’s challenges.

All three officials echoed similar sentiments of the challenges hemp farmers and providers are experiencing, despite being just six months removed from the 2018 Farm Bill, which legalized the crop.

At hemp processor Commonwealth Extracts warehouse on Tuesday, McConnell said Kentucky is “in the red zone” with hemp.

Pine Knot Job Corps Center

The Trump administration is reversing its decision to close two job corps centers in Kentucky, which provide services to at-risk youth in rural areas.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky is praising the Trump administration for keeping open Job Corps Civilian Conservation Centers in McCreary and Menifee counties.  The centers provide education and job training to disadvantaged youth. 

Carol Guzy for NPR

Kentucky State Rep. Angie Hatton met with lawmakers in Washington D.C. this week to push for a bill that would bring home more than $100 million for hard-hit coal communities.

The RECLAIM Act would fast-track the distribution of $1 billion to clean up abandoned coal mines and promote economic development in communities across Appalachia, Colorado and Illinois — including $116 million for coal counties in the Commonwealth.

For decades, Kentucky has mined the coal that has powered the nation, but production and employment is less than half of what it was a decade ago.

McConnell on Reparations for Slavery: Not a 'Good Idea'

Jun 18, 2019
J. Tyler Franklin

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday rejected reparations for slavery in part because it would be hard to know whom to pay.

The Kentucky Republican spoke to reporters on the eve of a rare House hearing on what compensation, if any, the U.S. might owe for the economic and other damage done by slavery. The session Wednesday before a Democratic-led subcommittee is Congress' first on the issue in years.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., says one of his "highest priorities" is to take on the leading cause of preventable death in the United States: smoking.

McConnell has sponsored a bill, along with Virginia Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine, that would increase the tobacco purchase age from 18 to 21.

In 2016, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., refused to hold a hearing on President Barack Obama's Supreme Court nominee, saying that it was an election year and that the American people "deserved a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice."

That was then.

Speaking to an audience in Kentucky on Monday, McConnell said should a vacancy occur on the court in 2020, another presidential election year, he would allow a vote.

J. Tyler Franklin

A protégé of Sen. Mitch McConnell and a state senator are facing off in this year’s Republican primary election for attorney general.

Daniel Cameron, 33, and Sen. Wil Schroder, 36, don’t differ much on policy issues — they both want to combat Kentucky’s opioid addiction epidemic and make the attorney general’s office less of a barb in the side of the Republican-led legislature.


Joe Manchin Youtube

Retired coal miners joined lawmakers from the Ohio Valley on Capitol Hill Wednesday for another attempt to protect miners’ pensions. Pensions are at risk because of a downturn in the coal market, the lingering effects of the 2008 recession, and coal company bankruptcies which have all reduced the amounts companies paid into a shared, or multiemployer, pension plan. The United Mine Workers of America is pushing Congress for legislation to shore up those retirement benefits.


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