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Environment Local News Politics

Fancy Farm Speakers Line Up in Support of Coal

Much of the speaking at this weekend’s Fancy Farm picnic trended towards national issues. Candidates praised the military, worried about public debt and criticized what is—or isn’t—getting done in Washington. But coal and federal environmental regulations were also a target in several speeches.

Coal crossed party lines at Fancy Farm, as both Democrats and Republicans jostled to position themselves against unpopular federal policies. Republican Congressman Ed Whitfield brought up President Barack Obama and his administration’s new environmental regulations.

“Because his EPA is putting additional regulations on the utilities, delaying permits for coal miners, putting new air transport , new ozone rules in, and when they’re adopted, 2/3 of America is going to be in non-attainment,” he said. “And when you’re in non-attainment, you can’t develop anymore.”

Democratic Attorney General Jack Conway brought up the lawsuit he filed on behalf of his fellow Democrat, Governor Steve Beshear, against the Environmental Protection Agency’s increased scrutiny of coal mine permits…

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Local News Politics

Campaign Staffer Summarizes Galbraith’s Trip to Fancy Farm

Meet William Bowe. As Kentucky politicians made their annual trip to the Fancy Farm Picnic this past weekend, Bowe was traveling with Independent gubernatorial candidate Gatewood Galbraith.

“Gatewood likes Payday, so he stopped and had a Payday, we stopped and had Subway and a couple soda pops,” Bowe said.

Bowe and Galbraith drove to the Fancy Farm Picnic on Friday night. They talked politics while Galbraith worked on his speech, which Bowe says changed three times in the 24 hours leading up to Saturday’s event. But when Bowe and Galbraith tried attending the annual Democratic Bean Dinner on Friday night:

“I actually was keeping an eye on Gatewood,” Bowe said. “I turned around for a second and he’s gone.”

Bowe says they paid $36 for the event, but then were denied entry to the dinner. And when they were asked to leave, Bowe says they were given $40 back.

“And we’re going to consider that a $6 campaign contribution (sic) from the Democratic Party,” Bowe said. “It was the Democratic chairman who kicked him out last night.”

Several supporters say Galbraith offers a refreshing outlook on state politics. But the latest poll by the Courier-Journal/WHAS reported Galbraith has around nine percent of the vote.

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Local News Politics

At Fancy Farm, Republicans Focus on National Issues, Democrats Quiet on Obama

The only elections on the ballot this year in Kentucky are for statewide offices. But candidates at this weekend’s Fancy Farm Picnic spent much of their time discussing national politics.

The references to national politics started with the first political speech…delivered by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who used the Congressional bickering over raising the debt ceiling to criticize Democratic candidate for Governor Steve Beshear.

“You may have noticed that Steve and President Obama are singing the same tune these days. They both claim they’ve improved the economy,” McConnell said.

McConnell then introduced his fellow Republican, junior Senator Rand Paul. McConnell called Paul a “rising star,” though the two disagreed on every step toward the debt ceiling compromise. Paul is an ideological leader of the Tea Party movement, and he had a number of fans in the audience who were fiercely loyal to him, more so than to the GOP itself.

Like McConnell, Paul criticized local Democratic candidates for being too politically similar to the president. That’s a claim few of the candidates disputed, and none acknowledged, since none of the Democrats spoke in support of the President or the Senate majority.

Most of the other GOP candidates who spoke compared their opponents to national Democrats. Republican Attorney General candidate Todd P’Pool and Secretary of State candidate Bill Johnson blasted the healthcare overhaul law. Several candidates also referenced the fact that Beshear did not meet with President Obama when he visited troops at Fort Campbell, even though the governor was not invited.

The Democrats did not defend the president. That was a job left to their supporters in the crowd, though many of them were lukewarm on federal Democrats.

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Local News Noise & Notes Politics

Marshall County Official Named Fancy Farm Emcee

For the 131st annual Fancy Farm picnic, organizers have plucked longtime Democratic Marshall County Judge Executive Mike Miller to host the event, which marks the unofficial start of the Kentucky general election this fall.

The Graves County sideshow is scheduled for August 6 and is expected to be heavily attended due to the 2011 gubernatorial race between Democratic incumbent Steve Beshear and Republican challenger David Williams, but candidates in other statewide races have also been invited.

From Bluegrass Politics:

Mark Wilson, who organizes the political speaking at the free picnic on the campus of St. Jerome Catholic Church in Graves County with his wife, Lori Wilson, said the picnic’s committee tries to alternate between Democrats and Republicans in finding an emcee.

“They’d run me out of town if we picked someone from the same party every year,” he said, noting that, in some years, persons not affiliated with any party are selected to emcee.

House Minority Leader Jeff Hoover, R-Jamestown, was emcee last year. Al Cross, director of the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues at the University of Kentucky and a former political reporter for The Courier-Journal, did the duties in 2009.

Are you ready?

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State of Affairs

State of the News

It’s time again for State of the News. This week we’ll start with a little Metro new and hear about the JCPS lawsuit dismissal, the latest on the mayoral race among other news. Next we’ll move on to some education news and we’ll wrap up the hour with a recap of last week’s Fancy Farm political picnic. Join us this week on State of the News.

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Local News

Paul And Conway Prepare Fancy Farm Messages

In separate locations in Marshall County Friday night, the two Kentuckians running for U.S. Senate were test-driving their Fancy Farm speeches.

In Calvert City, Republican Rand Paul fired up a crowd of about 150, saying people call him an extremist, but what’s so extreme about wanting a balanced federal budget, he asked. “I believe that they should be forced to balance the budget by law,” he said. “Plain and simple.”

But a few miles away, at Kentucky Dam Village, Democrat Jack Conway told a crowd of 500, his opponent back-peddles and waffles on the issues. “We’re going to leave that Paul campaign scattered, smothered, covered and diced, and we’re going to take back Wendell Ford’s senate seat,” he said.

Conway looked a little tired and Rand Paul was nursing a sore throat, so both will be looking for a second wind this afternoon as they prepare to address, and be heckled by, thousands of people at the 130th Fancy Farm picnic.

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State of Affairs

State of the News

Whew – it’s hot! And for some Kentucky politicians, it’s likely to get hotter this weekend as the annual Fancy Farm picnic gets underway. We’ll talk with Kentucky Public Radio’s Tony McVeigh on his way to Fancy Farm about what is expected this year. Next we’ll switch to the Louisville mayor’s race and talk about the latest poll results and debate. We’ll finish up the hour with news from around the region. Join us Friday for this week’s edition of State of the News.

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Local News

New Faces At Fancy Farm

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.

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State of Affairs

State of the News


Friday, July 31, 2009
State of the News
Downtown development projects, riverfront renovations, bridges, a road rage trial, a lawyer in a trash can… let it not be said that nothing ever happens on “the sunny side.” For this week’s State of the News we’ll turn our attention to news from across the river, and ask for your opinion on what’s new. We’ll also check in with our own Capital Bureau Chief Tony McVeigh on his way to Fancy Farm; he’ll give us a preview of what to expect from the political event of the season.

Listen to the Show

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Local News

Fancy Farm One Week Away

From Kentucky Public Radio’s Tony McVeigh

The epicenter of Kentucky politics each August, the 129th annual Fancy Farm picnic, is now just one week away.

For almost 16 years, Al Cross was the political reporter for the Louisville Courier-Journal. Now he heads the University of Kentucky’s Institute for Rural Journalism. But next Saturday, Cross will be the emcee for the political speaking at the annual Fancy Farm picnic in far western Kentucky.

“It’s a great honor to be the master of ceremonies at Kentucky’s premier political event, but I am not looking forward at all to wearing a tie at Fancy Farm,” he says.

That’s because August afternoons in Graves County tend to be pretty hot and humid. Cross says he’s disappointed Gov. Steve Beshear is skipping this year’s picnic. Beshear says he and his family will be on a well-deserved vacation. Beshear’s running mate in the 2011 governor’s race, Louisville Mayor Jerry Abramson, will be there but won’t be making a speech.