Local News Politics

Grayson Starts Work At Harvard, Says Return To Politics Is Possible

Former Kentucky Secretary of State Trey Grayson starts his new job Monday as director of Harvard University’s Institute of Politics.

Grayson moved to Massachusetts over the weekend, but he says he will maintain a presence in Kentucky, and he won’t change his voter registration.

“I’m not intending to make Massachussets my permanent home. But I will be living up there full time. It’s a full time job that I have and Nancy and the girls are going to be moving up at the end of the school year.”

Grayson resigned as secretary of state, but he had reached his term limit in the office and could not have sought re-election this year. He lost last year’s Republican primary for the U.S. Senate to general election winner Rand Paul. Grayson has a five-year agreement with Harvard, and he says he is interested in returning to electoral politics in the future.

“I didn’t have a desire to run for anything right now, so yeah, I guess I am happy to be leaving electoral politics. Sometime in the future, if the right opportunity presented itself, I would be interested,” he says, adding that he hopes the political atmosphere is less divisive when if he seeks office again.

“Having a better political environment is something that would encourage more young people want to pursue politics—either as a profession or just get involved and maybe help out on campaigns. It is something we want to work on. It’s something I hope will get a little better as we go forward in the future,” he says.

Grayson says he hopes his work at Harvard will help lead to a better political environment.

Local News Politics

Panel Discusses Past, Present Of Intense Political Rhetoric

A University of Louisville panel on political discourse says today’s political divisiveness is not unprecedented.

Congressman John Yarmuth, outgoing Kentucky Secretary of State Trey Grayson and political science professor Jasmine Farrier sat on the panel. Farrier said many people seem to have historical amnesia when decrying the intense and sometimes violent rhetoric in Congress and in the media.

“I don’t know why we don’t acknowledge that we have had political violence in this country,” she said. “We have had terrible divisions. The New Deal was called Socialist and Fascist when those words meant something. And yet we think back that that was a wonderful consensus moment. It wasn’t.”

Yarmuth agreed with Farrier, but said the increase in the number of media outlets and in the public’s access to media has exacerbated any problems. The panel was organized after the shooting rampage in Arizona that left six dead and Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords seriously injured. Yarmuth said it’s too early to say exactly what motivated the alleged shooter, but three topics immediately surfaced and should be discussed.

“One was guns, one was mental health…and the possibility that something triggered in Jared Loughner the idea of going to shoot a government official. And we ought to debate all of those and the intersection of the three,” he said.

In her closing remarks, Farrier suggested the audience change the tone of the media by boycotting controversial hosts. Grayson added that news consumers should expand their horizons.

“Go to the other side, if you will, and read arguments in favor of a policy you think right now you don’t agree with or against a policy you agree with. There are plenty of great sites out there,” he said.

The full forum:

Audio MP3