From Kentucky Public Radio’s Tony McVeigh
Louisville Mayor Jerry Abramson is in western Kentucky today for the 129th Fancy Farm Picnic. Now that he’s Gov. Steve Beshear’s running mate for 2011, this is one of the mayor’s first chances to make an impression on voters outside of the Louisville area. Abramson was relaxed, smiling and shaking hands last night at the Democrats’ annual Bean Supper at Kentucky Lake.
“Reconnecting with a lot of folks that I’ve known as county judges, mayors and magistrates, and sheriffs and jailers that I have just interacted with over the years,” he said. “Listening a lot, in terms of the issues that they’re dealing with, the difficulties that are happening here in the economy. And also sort of getting a feel for the Fancy Farm experience, once again.”
This is Abramson’s second trip to Fancy Farm. In the mid-1990’s, he attended as an observer. Today, he’ll be sitting onstage, but won’t be delivering a speech. Gov. Beshear won’t be there at all. He’s vacationing with his family in Florida.
Last night at the Calvert City Civic Center in far western Kentucky, Republicans gathered for pre-picnic festivities. Among those pressing the flesh was Todd County Navy veteran and businessman Bill Johnson, who wants to be Kentucky’s next U-S Senator.
“I’ve never run for office. I’ve never served in public office. But I’m a ten-year military veteran,” said Todd. “I’ve been in business for 13 years. I’ve traveled to 18 countries, cutting waste and creating jobs. And I think it’s time for concerned citizens to go to Washington and clean-up the mess.”
Johnson, who’s seeking the seat currently held by U-S Senator Jim Bunning, will speak today at Fancy Farm. His military training should come in handy, because as experienced reporters will tell you, hecklers can be especially rough on political novices brave enough to take the stage at the annual event.