Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving, Football & Friends

Returned this morning from Franklin, Tn after an enjoyable day. Had dinner with former Hopkinsville High Football Coach Craig Clayton and his family. Former HHS and Christian Co. defensive coordinator Dan Hampton and his family joined us for dinner. We had a full house with Craig's sister, Carol's family. Carol and David Birdsong have 3 children. David is a native of Trigg County. Craig and Anita's daughter Lauren and her husband Mica Lester were there along with their children Ella Ross and Clayton. Mica and I road to Franklin together. Mica and his family are farmers in Gracey and he had to work most of the day so it worked out that he could ride down with me. Craig's son Louis did not make it home whereas he is working on his Master's at Ohio State.

I tagged along with Craig for his "Clayton traditional breakfast" which he has on Thanksgiving morning when his team is playing in a semi-state game. I joined him and his team for breakfast and a football walk through in preparation for Friday night's game. It brought back old memories from the many Thanksgiving breakfasts we had at Hoptown.

Besides two grandchildren, Craig has achieved the water mark of winning over 200 games as a head coach. He is in his 4th season at Franklin and stands a very good shot at winning a State Championship.

At present I am blogging from Christian County Democrat Party Chairman, Lindsey Adams house. Former State Rep. John Adams and Mary Helen are here. Lindsey's brother Bill J. made a surprise visit home for the holiday. Kay and Mary Thom Munday joined us for dinner and of course the "Blade" and Brandon are here. Great dinner and now enjoying the nice fire Lindsey has going outside. Melissa provided a nice evening for us all for which I am thankful.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Employment Statistics-Kentucky & Nation

West Kentucky Journal of Politics and Issues has a very interesting article along with a Kentucky State Government press release related to the employment market. Government jobs are on the rise and manufacturing jobs are decreasing. Check it out by going to the link below.

Monday, November 24, 2008

An Apology, Facebook and Some Old Friends

Carroll Hubbard

My first order of business is to apologize to Carroll Hubbard. He sent me an email making note of a big mistake I had in one of my post. Congressman Hubbard did carry his home county of Graves which I had reported that he had lost. I used my notes from election and I was wrong. I hope that Carroll will forgive my mistake.

Rep. Tilley

I posted this earlier but I am excited about Rep. Tilley and his wife Shelly expecting their first child. To quote Luka from the God Father, "... And may it be a masculine child."


I was encouraged by an old college buddy to do this Facebook thing and I did it not knowing whether or not I really wanted to get into that. I have to admit I have enjoyed it that last few days catching up on lots of folks I went to high school and college with. I guess I was surprised to see the number of people who participate on it. I had not heard from Greg English who is a Marshall County native in 25 years. We were at Georgetown together. Stacy Elgin Weibaecher contacted me. Stacey, last I knew was doing TV for CNN in Atlanta. Ricky Hunt, he has more talent in his little finger than most of us combined is still doing the song writing and music thing. His mother, Shirley, owns the Holiday Burgers in Holiday Park. Holiday Burgers is about the last of the good old eateries in Hoptown besides Roundies and the Horse Shoe. John Soyars commented just today how good the food was whereas he ate lunch there today.


Trying to figure out what to do for Thanksgiving. With the family all gone now it's up to me to find the food.(like I have trouble doing that) I have received as usual some nice invites. My Pastor in Earlington, Steve Hamrick, and Lindsey Adams have all extended a Thanksgiving invitation. I ate last year at Lindsey Adams and the year before in Panama City. I think the two year prior I enjoyed the hospitality of Shoney's. I mean that, Shoney's fixed me what I wanted and how I wanted special from their kitchen. I will probably go to Lindsey's house again because it is less than 2 minutes from my house. They have a big crowd but I can slip into the kitchen and grab some food and be on my way back to a football game on TV.


Hopkinsville lost to Christian County in the second round of the playoffs Friday night 28-21. My congrats to Coach Lovelace at CCHS as he is 11-1 heading into the Regional Championship Friday night. CCHS will host Owensboro. Christian Co. came from behind in the regular season to defeat Owensboro earlier this season. Owensboro's coach, Joe Prince is an old friend. Joe played at Mayfield and UK. Coach Lovelace also played at Mayfield. God, I think Mayfield people are taking over the world. Coach Clayton's Franklin, (TN) Rebels won again and will play a semi-state game with a team out of Memphis. I believe one more win and he is in a State Championship game. Mayfield and Fort Campbell will also play for Regional Championships this Friday.

As a footnote to the game. I received the honor of being the honorary coach for Hopkinsville during the coin toss. George Schlegel was suppose to have the honor but was out of town. The honor wore off quickly whereas I nearly froze to death. I have to say that I was horribly disappointed in our fans and our community. Just a few short years ago there would have been 4 or 5 thousand fans in attendance. There was not 250 people total for the game.


I may or may not reconsider being a Miley Cyrus fan. Some of her pictures on display have proven to be disappointing to me. Lindsey Adam's daughters Mary Thom and Chandler threw a surprise birthday party for me in September with a Miley Cyrus theme. Cups, plates and all. I'm referred to as "Aunt Tim" by the girls along with Rep. Tilley's daughter Emma. It's a long story so I won't even go into that. I have been considering starting another blog called "Aunt Tim" and letting all the girls post their political comments, ideas and thoughts. Keep in mind these girls range from 1st grade to 4 or 5th. Believe it or not they all have strong opinions. I think that must be a girl thing, opinions and all. No one talks back in my house, well sometimes the washing machine does.


I guess everyone expects me to have some inside scoop on the KDP leadership. Well I don't. I don't really know most of those folks and other than a few really active people down here and I mean really few who do, I'm not sure there is much to say. I know many down here are not happy but I believe many of these issues are ones that have carried on for years. I think a big decision has to be made whether we change to make Rural Kentucky happy or the Party moves on and takes votes when they can get them. Rebuilding the Party down here will mean a lot of work. I think most people those being State office holders see themselves as the Party and have for a long time. I'm not sure anyone wants or can stomach the pains involved with having to do what needs to be done in Rural Kentucky. Sometimes I can't say that I blame them.I have been clear about what I think are the concerns with the Party but I believe they are greater than anyone one or two people. I'm not going to criticize anyone unless I have walked a mile in their shoes. We do need to plan for the future but computers and technology will not help too much in Rural Kentucky. Any organizational progress made will come from having local people who understand who is kin to who and truly understands that politics down here at the grassroots will come from rebuilding the base by and with local and regional people not outsiders. Folks down here are not going to buy into just new leadership or just have a seat at the table. They expect to be making the decisions and implementing any plan that will concern them. I'm afraid if that does not happen then, things will stay just the same. Everyone will give their $100 bucks and show up at a reception then go support the Republicans. That's the way it works down here and people ain't coming home for nothing. The KDP will have to establish a real and meaningful trust between the Party and local officials.

Congrats to Rep. John & Shelly Tilley

Representative Tilley phoned me on his way to Frankfort this morning to let me know that He and Shelly are expecting their first child. The new addition to the Tilley family is expected in July. I'm sure Rep. Tilley is wishing for a little UK football or basketball player.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

President to Visit Fort Campbell

A friend of mine Gary McIntyre just sent me an email saying that WKMS, which is Murray State University's Public radio station, is reporting that President Bush will visit Fort Campbell next week prior to the Thanksgiving Holiday.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Some Election Thoughts

I can't say that I was surprised by most of the results. I had said that Carroll Hubbard was the only shot the Democrats had of picking up a Senate seat but he went down in defeat. I had worked for Hubbard in the Primary but did not have the chance to work for our Senate candidates in the Fall. The infinite wisdom of the Kentucky Democrat Party required that out of state consultants come in to help our Senate candidates. With that said I can't say that my efforts would have guaranteed a victory but I would have done a few things different.

I felt strongly that Trigg and Lyon counties were going to be the swing vote and all resources needed to be there. Most Hubbard folks felt confident he would do well in Calloway but I never believed that for a moment. In the end, Hubbard lost not only Calloway but also his home county of Graves along with Trigg and Lyon.

In the effort to take back the 9th District which was Jim Bruce's seat we failed. Keeping in mind that our own polling showed that we began the race over 34 points down in July. The planets were going to have to be lined up and for a while we thought they were. Sen. McConnell and Congressman Whitfield had not involved themselves in the race and hopes were high that with a Conservative nominee we would be able to have a shot at winning. In Christian County, African-American voters never got excited about Obama, go figure. Per our County Court Clerk, Mike Kem, our African American vote was not any larger than it was four years ago or even eight years ago. It is sad to say but many of the white Democrat voters sat home because they were not willing to vote for Obama. Dr. Calhoun's case in the 9th District, he had run in 2006 and did poorly while only receiving 34.7% of the vote in a losing effort in the Primary.

I was not surprised by any of the results in Western Kentucky or across Kentucky for that matter. The Democrat Party became a Party of Louisville and Lexington a long time ago. I am not hopeful nor probably should I be that this will change anytime soon nor should anyone have any real expectation of things getting any better for the Democrats in Rural Kentucky. As I have said many times on this site, the Republicans went to far to the Right and the Democrats went to far to the left, and when that happens it will always benefit the Republicans more than the Democrats. We have become a Party run by outsiders who have absolutely no understanding of Rural Kentucky. Until we close our doors to the outside consultants and DNC folks and make a real grassroots effort to rebuild the Party with Kentucky issues then things will never change.

Rebuilding means doing things from the bottom up not the top down. Only and only when the majority of middle class Kentuckians and rural politicians feel comfortable that they have a voice and a strong connection to the KDP will things turn around. I have listened to everyone since 1984 say "when things get bad enough people will come home to the Democrats". Ain't gonna happen folks. Obama was right, they ain't trading in their Bible and guns for money, opportunity or progress.

Change like progress must come from the inside out, not the outside in for places like Rural Kentucky and the South. Democrats in Kentucky must focus their efforts on developing and pursuing issues that our important to Rural Kentucky. Until we get the farmers, veterans, military and the white middle class families that go to church on Sunday back in the Party then expect to have many more election nights in Kentucky like the one we just had.

Addressing the issues of jobs, education and health care has not and will not bring enough people around to make a difference for Kentucky Democrats. We will need leadership that understands that the DNC is not the answer to our problems. We must go our own way in rebuilding a Party. We must find common ground on certain issues and agree to disagree on others. We must convince not only the people but our elected officials to get back in the game. We will only achieve success by making real changes that convince Rural Kentucky that the Democrat Party can govern for the better and at the same time pose no threat to their culture, traditions and values. And thats all I have to say about that.

The Great Awakening

I have not even finished the book but I am already prepared to recommend The Great Awakening by Jim Wallis. The book is about the reviving of faith and politics in a post-religious Right America as the cover states. I won't give a book review here but Wallis is not only interesting but right on target with his observations. Check it out.

The Funeral

I'm trying to catch up on my posting. Sorry for not being up to date but there are some things I know my out of state readers would want to hear about. Jim Bruce's funeral was held last week at the First Methodist Church in Hopkinsville and if you did not know better you would have felt like you were standing in the State Capital. There was an all star cast of elected officials, present and past, in attendance. Much of the West Kentucky Delegation of the House and Senate was there. Former Governor Martha Layne Collins, Bill Collins and Steve Collins came. State Treasurer Todd Hollenbach Jr. and his father Judge Todd Hollenbach were also there. Speaker of the House, Jody Richards delivered the eulogy.

It was nice to see so many old friends but at the expense of having to say a final goodbye to another. A few of us did have the opportunity to sneak away afterwards to break bread and catch up. The Collins, the Hollenbachs, myself, Rep. Tilley, the Rutlands, Steve Hamrick and Dr. Travis Calhoun took in lunch at Roundie's near the Riverside Cemetery.

I don't know if it was irony or just interesting that we would pass Gov. Breathitt's grave as the motorcade circled around to the Bruce family plots. Our two most noted political figures now gone. With the passing of one generation I am still optimistic and expect great things from a new generation of leadership now emerging in Western Kentucky with the likes of Will Cox and Rep. John Tilley. As we say goodbye to the past let us look forward to the future.

Judge Mike Miller Recovering

Marshall County Judge Executive Mike Miller is recovering well I'm told from undergoing an emergency surgery while on vacation. A blood vessel burst in his stomach requiring an emergency surgery to stop the bleeding. To complicate matters his spleen was "nicked" in the rush to stop the bleeding. Judge Miller underwent a second surgery I'm told to remove his spleen.

Sources close to the Miller family say that the Judge is fine and was ordered to just rest for a few weeks. One can't imagine Mike Miller resting or slowing down for a moment. We wish him a speedy recovery.

KACO Annual Conference

The Kentucky Association of Counties (KACO) will kick off their annual conference on Wednesday at the Lexington Convention Center. Governor Beshear is expected to open the conference with a keynote address at 1:15 on Wednesday. Affiliate meetings will fill most the day with organizations like the KY Coal County Coalition, KY Treasurers, KY Health Dept. Association and many more associations will dominate the first day of business.

On Thursday, Crit Luallen, Trey Grayson, Jody Richards and Todd Hollenbach are all scheduled to speak. Thursday night the new officers will be installed with Christian County Attorney J. Michael Foster assuming the position of President of the Association. Bob Arnold is the Executive Director and CEO of KACO.

Friday, journalist consisting of Mark Hebert, Al Cross, Ronnie Ellis, and John David Dyche will offer a panel discussion. Author and syndicated financial columnist, Don McNay will also speak to the association.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Lunsford & Beshear In Hopkinsville Today

Bruce Lunsford and Gov. Steve Beshear made a whistle stop appearance at the Hopkinsville-Christian County aiport today. Mitch McConnell had made an appearance at the airport earlier in the day and I was surprise to here local reporters comment on the difference in the respective crowds. McConnell had only 12 people to greet him while Lunsford between 60-70 people.

Richard Trumpka was also on hand to deliver a speech regarding the present status of our working men and women in America. Trumpka was well received but his appearance did raise a few eyebrows in a County that has not had very much union activity for many years.

This election has been hard to call in Western Kentucky. People seem to be upset with the economy and the war but one can't put their finger on how folks are going to vote on Tuesday. All politics is local and people usually split their vote depending on the issues. For the first time in twenty years I can't get a good feel for even the races that I am involved in. I think everyone is expecting a large turn out and I believe that may mean good news for many Democrats. I still think that many Republicans are so disgusted that they may sit home like last November. I guess we will see Tuesday.

Rep. Jim Bruce has Died.

The man who served longer than any other legislator in Kentucky is gone. Jim died yesterday morning about 8:30 at his farm on Fort Campbell Blvd in South Christian County. Jim had wanted to get out of bed and sit in his chair and passed away while trying to do so. Jim's wife, Janie, had been by his side day and night for the last month.

Depending on who you talked to it was no secret that I was one of Jim's lieutenants for many years. Most of what I know about the art of politics and people, I learned from Jim Bruce. Jim believed in supporting his friends and letting his political adversaries wither on the vine.

The Gospel according to Bruce was very simple- "You run at home not in Frankfort."

Jim Bruce knew that it was more important to make people happy at home as opposed to making the Courier Journal or the Liberals happy in Frankfort. Not the right wing Conservative that most thought him to be, Jim Bruce just believed that he was elected to represent the beliefs and view points of the people of the 9th District. Helping the folks back home meant having the power to do so. If we were all going to be honest about it then we would have to admit that Jim Bruce was responsible for many of the things we have received in Christian County for over 40 years.

Jim was always quick to point out to me the lessons of politics and government. "Timmy, keep your mouth shut, your ears open and your powder dry," Bruce would say. "The ones doing all the talking in Frankfort, well they get nothing and get nothing done."

"You always dance with the ones that brung you cause even if you don't win, people will respect you for sticking with your friends. You won't accomplish anything in Frankfort unless people respect you and trust you, that does not mean they always have to like you."

Jim Bruce was loyal to his friends and family to the very end. He wanted nothing more than to see his seat returned to someone who he trusted to represent his district like he had done for all those years. Travis Calhoun was Jim Bruce's chosen successor and we can only hope at this point that we will be able to recapture the seat on Tuesday.

Bruce had forgotten more about politics than most of us will ever know in a lifetime. He was a political sage who knew how to move the chess pieces on the board without having to be or wanting to be in the lime light . Bruce always said " I don't mind not getting credit for the things I do, but I will be damned if I will let someone else take credit for it either." Jim believed strongly in the old Sam Rayburn philosophy that if you don't believe in yourself then how do expect anyone else to.

One can talk about the projects, the roads, the convention center that has his name on it but the things that most people will remember will be all the small things that he did to help those who had no place else to turn. I think Jody Richards or Greg Stumbo would be the first to admit that a House without Jim Bruce is not the same. I could write for hours sharing and telling stories about what a unique experience it was knowing Jim Bruce but for now I will close with his funeral arrangements.

Visitation: 4-8pm at Hughart & Beard Funeral Home on South Virginia Street in Hopkinsville.

Funeral: 10:00 am at the First Methodist Church on Main Street in Downtown Hopkinsville.