Monday, March 31, 2008

Sen. Clinton's Madisonville Appearance

The Ruby Laffoon Dinner which was established in 1975, turned into a Clinton Rally Saturday Night. Christian Co. Attorney Mike Foster, John Soyars and myself attended the Dinner which was held at Madisonville North Hopkins High School. We arrived at 3:30 pm to make sure we had a parking space whereas most folks had to park else where and be shuttled in.

Under the circumstances I thought everything was very well organized and my compliments to Madisonville Mayor Will Cox who served as Master of Ceremonies. Hopkins Co. Democratic Chair Brenda Glover welcomed the crowd and former State Senator Henry Lackey sang the National Anthem.

I will try to give few tidbits below and will down load my pictures later.

Governor & Mrs Beshear along with Rep. & Mrs. John Tilley arrived about 7pm.

Gov. Beshear gave a rousing speech regarding his support for West Kentucky issues especially the production of coal. Beshear stated that it was vital to Kentucky to take advantage of our greatest natural resource but added he wanted to do it in a manner that made Kentucky a leader in clean coal technology. The Governor's coal comments got the biggest applause of the evening. Rep. Jim Gooch appeared to be vindicated by the overwhelming support of smiles, winks, nods and hand shakes from supporters as the Governor was speaking.

The Governor's comments put a smile on the faces of area legislators who were in attendance. Those present were Eddie Ballard, John Tilley, Brent Yonts, Jim Gooch, Jerry Rhoads,Melvin Henley and Dorsey Ridley. Senator Joey Pendleton was in Frankfort working on the Budget.

Dale Emmons and Jonathan Hurst arrived and were running the Clinton show. Jerry Lundergan who is heading up the Clinton campaign in Kentucky introduced Sen. Clinton to the crowd. Emmons and Hurst invited legislators and certain folks back for a private meeting and pictures after she spoke. Soyars and myself were forced to wait it out since KACO President Elect Mike Foster was ushered back to meet Clinton by Dale Emmons. I guess our Obama buttons did us in. I'll survive.

As always it was nice to see and converse with State Revenue Commissioner Bill Cox.

The Christian Co. Democrat Women had a number of members in the crowd. Mary Helen Adams and Joan Lester to name a couple.

Murray-Calloway Co. brought a nice delegation. Led by County Chairman David Ramey. Z. Enix, Kathy Jo Stubblefield, Hal Kemp and many others made the trip. I got a great kick from hearing that a few folks in Calloway Co. refer to my site as the "Underground Chicken".

The Unions along with the West Kentucky Labor Council were there in full force. Jimmy Morphew, President Jeff Wiggins, and the Freelander's made quite a presence.

U.S. Senate candidates Michael Cassaro, Kenneth Stepp, and Greg Fischer spoke. Dale Emmons spoke on behalf of Bruce Lundsford.

Heather Ryan who is trying to unseat Ed Whitfield in the First Congressional District Spoke.

There did not seem to be much energy or excitement for the Democrat Candidates for U.S. Senate or Congress. I think the lack of organizing by the candidates would probably have something to do with that. I assume that Lundsford will come in late with Millions in TV. Lundsford is well known and has at least some organization in most West Ky. counties.

Ryan Alessi of the Lexington Herald Leader probably drew as much attention as any of the Pol's in attendance. At one point I looked over at him and he had people lined up 4 deep to talk to him.

I have been told that I made channel 14 out of Evansville's news. I did not see it but I'm sure I looked great. I was told that I was shown scratching my head as Clinton spoke and that would just about sum it up since I am for Obama. With the exception of only a few others, Bill Cox, John Soyars and myself were the only ones daring enough to wear our Obama buttons through out the evening.

I have to give Brenda Glover and the Hopkins Co. Democrat Committee a lot of credit for pulling this off in just a few days. While I don't know all the members of the committee I know that Wendy Ball, Marci Cox, Frankie Taylor, Tim Thomas and Pat Vincent can be proud of their efforts.

It is my understanding that Sen. Obama may be coming to the Gov. Edward T. "Ned" Breathitt Dinner in Hopkinsville. Rep. Tilley and Mike Foster are already talking to campaign officials.

If I did not spell a name correctly forgive me.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Clinton In Madisonville, Maybe Obama Also

It would appear that Hillary Clinton will be speaking at the Ruby Lafoon Dinner in Madisonville on Saturday. Madisonville Mayor Will Cox Jr. stated last night that they were 99% sure that Mrs. Clinton would be appearing. Mayor Cox said because of the fact that the Secret Service was going to be in Madisonville today to meet with him and law enforcement, this would be a good indication that Clinton will be showing up.

Mayor Cox said that there may also be a good chance the Sen. Obama will be appearing also. Obama has not committed but his organization has been in contact with the folks in Hopkins County and is showing interest.

The Ruby Lafoon dinner has been moved to the Madisonville North Hopkins High School Gym whereas that venue can accommodate many more people. Dinner tickets have sold out but a general admission ticket will be available on Wednesday. General admission will allow one into the bleachers to hear the speaking.

I will bring you further details as they are made available. The Dinner starts at 5:30 but I've been told that if your not in line by 4:00 you might not get in due to traffic and the number of people expected to attend.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

National Agriculture Day/Spring Begins

Kentucy Farming Statistics

Kentucky has 83,000 farms ranking the state fourth in the nation in number of farms. Texas is first with 229,000, Missouri is second with 104,500, Iowa is third with 88,400.

Kentucky farm sales divide farms into five categories. 51,000 farms had sales of $1000-$9,999. 25,000 farms had sales of $10,000-$99,999. 4,300 farms had sales of $100,000-$249,999.1,500 farms had sales of $250,000-$499,999. 1,200 farms had sales of $500,000 or more.

Total farmland in Kentucky is 13.7 million acres. Farmland accounts for 54% of Kentucky's approximate 25.4 million acres.

Corn for grain production was estimated at 175.4 million bushels, up 16% from the 2006 crop and the largest corn production on record. The previous high was 173.3 million bushels in 2004. Yield per acre was down but more land was planted in corn last year which accounted for 1.36 million acres of corn.

Drought conditions hurt the Soybean production in 2006 with the crop production being down 53%. The crop was estimated at 28.2 million bushels making it the smallest crop in eight years. Yeild per acre was down by 18 bushels to an average of 26 bushels per acre.Total acreage harvest also declined by 290,000 acres to an estimated 1.08 million acres.

Burley tobacco porduction was estimated at 154.0 million pounds, the largest production since the tobacco buyout in 2004. Yield was down by 100 pounds per acre but still brought in 2,000 pounds per acre. Harvested acreage totaled 77,000 acres.

Dark fire-cured tobacco production totaled 24.8 million pounds, up 14% from the previous year.

Dark air-cured tobacco production was 11.8 million pounds, unchanged since last year.

Alfalfa hay production was down 48% due to the drought as well as other hay production which was down 32%.

**Statistics provided by the Hopkinsville-Christian County Chamber of Commerce.

Governor Beshear In Western Kentucky

The air was quite cold as I stood on the tarmac waiting for Gov. Beshear's plane to land last night. Finally at a little past 9pm Gov. Beshear and Rep. Tilley landed in Hopkinsville. It was good to see and chat with the Governor. After a short visit both Rep. Tilley and the Governor were eager to gain some rest.

This morning Gov. Beshear was the guest speaker at the Christian County Chamber of Commerce's Annual Agriculture/Agri-business Awards Breakfast. The Governor re-assured folks that he was a Governor from West Kentucky and for West Kentucky. Governor stated that it had been 32 years since we last had a Governor but West Kentucky would soon know his commitment to our end of the State.

Talking about the importance of agriculture to our State, Gov. Beshear also committed his support to the Military Tax Exemption Bill. The Governor stated that like many other things Kentucky would have to find a way to offset the expense but he was committed to doing his part.

The Governor will be continuing his West Kentucky tour today with a stop in Paducah for lunch with the Kiwanis club.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Leadership Opens Door- A Little

House Leadership in an apparent attempt to limit discharge petitions and the debate surrounding them has allowed some legislation to be reported out of Committee. HB- 163 & HB- 43 relating to the Military Tax Exemption for active duty military and national guard were reported favorably out of the House Appropriations and Revenue Committee with only one dissenting vote. Rep. Jim Wayne of Louisville voted no.

Sponsors were given only minutes notification that their bills would be voted on this morning. Allowing the bills out of committee prevented the Republicans in the House from politicizing and grandstanding on the issues at the expense of House Leadership. Although budget considerations and timing are probably not on the side of these bills, there is at least an opportunity that they may make it to the House floor.

House Majority Leader Rocky Adkins moved this afternoon for the posting (3 days) to be waived for these bills. The bills will now have a maximum 5 days to get through the Rules Committee. Although there is a window of opportunity here there is no guarantee that the bills will not be recommitted back to the A & R Committee.

Rep. John Tilley who is the chief sponsor of HB-163 stated this afternoon that he was pleased with the opportunity to continue promoting and working for passage of this bill although the latest developments may not allow for the time needed to gain enough support for the bill's passage.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Rocky Adkins TKO's Mongiardo

The House Democrat Caucus convened its members to present two budget plans and to gauge support from House members. Plan "A" and plan "B" call for generating new revenue by means of that ugly word taxes. While neither plan seems real appealing to most legislators the choice has now come down to the better of two evils.

The big news during this caucus meeting was the apparent confrontation between House Majority Leader Rocky Adkins and Lt. Governor Dan Mongiardo. It seems that Mongiardo stood to lecture and scold House Members for what he believed as their lack of effort to push the Governor's agenda, when Majority Leader Adkins, who had heard about enough of the tongue lashing, confronted Mongiardo in a nose to nose fashion and began to eat Mongiardo alive.

A number of legislators have commented that they thought Mongiardo was out of line and stuck his nose where it did not belong. Legislators commented that Mongiardo's actions have severely hurt the Governor's relationship with the House. Adkins apparently in an ugly exchange, dressed the Lt. Governor down for his lack knowledge as to process and the ongoing efforts regarding House Leadership's attempt to deliver a budget and a Constitutional Gaming Amendment that can pass the House.

The House was already divided over the gaming amendment which also led to another ugly confrontation between House Speaker Jody Richards and Majority Whip Rob Wilkey. In that showdown, Richards shouted Wilkey out of his office and reminded him that he was the Speaker and his decision was final in the House. Wilkey apparently called the Speaker an S.O.B. on his way out the door.

A House divided, A Governor doing all the right things all the wrong ways has led to a lot of hard feelings. One has to wonder if any consensus can be made on generating new revenue or getting enough votes to pass a gaming amendment. A few things are for certain- New alliances are being formed in the House with Greg Stumbo playing center stage. Speaker Richards and the Governor's popularity are waining by the moment. The House has the worst of political scenarios, going on the record to raise taxes only to maybe see it all die in the Senate at the hands of Sen. David Williams who will protect his membership from having to make tough votes that might cost them in November.

The Governor needs to round up Ford, Collins, Jones, Cox and maybe a few others and have them go break bread or drink a beer or two with House members and leadership. It is apparent that the debate in Frankfort is more about getting even now as opposed to gaining consensus on Kentucky's problems and the solutions required to Move Kentucky Forward.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Gov. Ruby Laffoon Dinner-Hopkins County

The annual Gov. Ruby Laffoon Dinner is scheduled for March 29th. Doors will open at 5:00pm and Food will be served at 5:15 pm. Program and speaking begins at 6:00 p.m.

Hopkins Co. Democrat Party Chair Brenda Glover can be contacted for tickets or more information. Governor Steve Beshear is scheduled to speak.

Brenda Glover: 270-824-9776 or

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Amendment Dies: House Moving On

After making a few calls around the Commonwealth to Legislators it would seem apparent that there will not be enough votes to pass the amendment in the House. It is my understanding that House Leadership will not consider bringing the measure up unless they have a hard 63 or 64 votes. I was told that they could not get close to 60 more less round up 63 or 64.

It appears that the House has already decided to move on to other issues like the budget and no more time or consideration will be given to the amendment. I will leave the proponents of the issue to administer blame but I would say that an issue this big and complicated should have been worked out before the General Assembly convened.

This issue has consumed much of the General Assembly and now maybe we can start addressing the many issues that face Kentucky and work towards a bi-partisan solution to fund our many needs.