Friday, July 25, 2008

Stumbo Running for Speaker

The "Big Easy" was more than just a venue for the Legislative Conference this week, apparently New Orleans was serving as the host city for the beginnings of a showdown for Kentucky's next House Speaker. Sources tell me that operatives for Rep. Greg Stumbo were working hard to turn votes for Stumbo.

It will be interesting to see if Stumbo can slate enough votes to unseat Jody Richards who will be seeking another term. The Speaker will have to mend many fences after the last session. Communication concerns and some of the LIBERALS running loose in the Speaker's inner circle have led to much discontent with rural legislators. There are also a number of legislators who feel that House Leadership did not do enough to help the Governor on issues like expanded gambling.

I will be bringing more on this race once I have had the opportunity to speak with more legislators from around the State.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Bluegrass Report and Walter Hawkins

I don't know if I was supposed to feel slighted by the introduction of Walter Hawkins to as "Hopkinsville's Own" or not. I can say that it will be good to have another view from Western Kentucky and Walter has the experience to help in that regard. Walter once lived in Hopkinsville and has many ties. Walter practiced law with James Ed Bruce who is the son of longtime former State Representative Jim Bruce.

Walter's mother, Shelia Hawkins is a veteran of many campaigns and administrations. I've known Shelia most of my life and first worked with her on Senator Huddleston's campaign when I was in college. Walter's father coached football at Hopkinsville High as I have done for over 20 years. The Hawkin's family moved on to Shelby County in the 1970's where I believe he became Principal.

Walter has been in Bowling Green for many years practicing law and consulting political campaigns.

There are many sorts of political blogs in Kentucky and all bring a different flavor. I hope to continue on my journey doing more about life in Western Kentucky not just politics. I plan to continue my independence and not just be an advocate for any Democratic cause. I will continue to bring the news and my viewpoint. The news for the Democrats will not always be good and probably won't be all that good in Western Kentucky this Fall. When there is something to say or something worth saying, then I will post it.

I feel sure Walter will do a good job for the Bluegrass Report and will look forward to reading his comments. As for me, not much scoop in the political world down here. Politics and politicians are not very popular at present. I will be bringing a pre-season high school football report soon. Now that's important!!

OK.. Mike Ward got another DUI. Wow- thats news. Hopkinsville native and alumni Curtis Pulley will not be UK's next QB. The truth is that he has so many hang-ups on and off the field, Joker Phillips has run out of excuses for him. I'm betting he won't be on the field come game day.There is a scoop for you guys.

This is enough for me today.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Bill Cox Resigns: Kentucky's Loss

Bill Cox's resignation as Revenue Commissioner came as a great disappointment to me and many in Western Kentucky. Possessing one of the best analytical minds in Kentucky, the loss of Bill Cox to this administration is also a huge loss to Kentucky. I personally have felt that Bill Cox was one of those who should of and could of helped the Governor through the many miss steps of the past six months. Bill Cox's experience at every level of government uniquely qualified Cox to provide the much needed counsel the Governor needed.

I have heard a number of stories as to why Bill Cox resigned. Most point to the reorganization within the Finance and Administration Cabinet and the Revenue Division. I have made several calls and it is my understanding that Cox resigned because of a number of issues. First, I'm told that the Administration failed to live up to certain promises that were made. Second, that Larry Hayes had refused meetings for over a month to discuss issues and reorganization concerning the Revenue Division.It is my understanding that through Cox's leadership a record amount of money had been collected from past due taxes. It had been widely held and reported that Revenue was going to become a separate cabinet for which Cox was going to be named Secretary.

Regardless of the reasons of why Bill Cox resigned, I find it tragic and a mistake to have allowed one the brightest minds in Kentucky to go to the sideline in a time in which we need our best players on the field. Governor Beshear and Kentucky would be well served by finding a way to utilize the talents of Bill Cox. Strong in stature and personality, Bill Cox offers the kind of tough leadership Kentucky needs right now!

Operation Patton

Adam Edelen: Popular Choice In Western Kentucky

The changes in Governor Beshear's Administration has been the buzz this week. I have called around the State and spoken with Frankfort insiders to get the low-down. Everyone is calling it the Patton Plan because of the number of former Patton advisers that are now moving into the Governor's office and various other positions.

Everyone seems to be in agreement that Governor Beshear needs some experienced people around him who possess the knowledge of the inner workings of State Government and the legislature. Sources tell me that State Auditor Crit Luallen has been instrumental in advising the Governor and helping bring some of these folks in.

This move has been welcomed by most of the people I have spoken with in Western Kentucky. The return to the traditional structure of having each area of the State having someone that officials can contact is being lauded. I believe that much of the Governor's unpopularity in the region has been due to the lack of ability by local officials to have a contact in the Governor's office who can address the concerns of city and county governments.

It would seem that Governor Beshear is trying to right his ship and is making some positive changes that are sitting well with most in West Kentucky. New Chief of Staff, Adam Edelen appeared at the Jefferson-Jackson Dinner in Murray and was swarmed by folks. Like an old friend who has come home to visit, everyone seemed excited that he will be helping this administration. I understand that Edelen received the same kind of welcome in Hopkinsville and Paducah earlier in the day.The concerns with the Governor's staff up to this point have been that many of these folks do not have the experience with state government and pushing through a legislative agenda. I have not heard any comments that were personal in terms of criticism.

House Leadership Races Heating Up

I have been working the phones and visiting with legislators this week in the hopes of providing some insight as to the present score of the House leadership races. I attended the Jefferson-Jackson Dinner in Murray on Monday night which provided me the opportunity to speak to the 10 legislators who were present. More on that event later.

There seems to be concensus regarding the present mood and beliefs as to what is going on in some of these races. Speaker Jody Richards appears to be safe for another term but there is still a movement by a few to put up an opposition candidate.

The big news seems to be that House Majority Leader Rocky Adkins may step aside to allow Greg Stumbo to be Majority Leader again. I'm told that a majority of House members along with the Governor would like and need Stumbo's experience back at the forefront of legislative matters. Stumbo would appear to be a consensus leader for which House members and the Beshear Administration would both feel comfortable with. Stumbo I'm told could help bridge the divide in the House as well as help the Administration with a legislative agenda. For all this to work it would be up to Majority Leader Adkins. I understand that the Beshear administration may be providing a great deal of lattitude to secure the political future of Rep. Adkins if he would consider such a move.

Legislators in the First and Second Congressional Districts have responded pretty much the same way regarding the race for Pro-tem and House Caucus Chairman. It is believed that the position for House Caucus Chairman will be a close one but I am told that Rep. Bob Damron will win back this position which he lost to Charlie Hoffman.

I was a little surprised but maybe not that Rep. Larry Clark should win easily for re-election as the Speak Pro-Tem. Most West Ky. Legislators did not want to comment on this race risking making the Speaker mad but it was pretty clear by what they did say and the expressions on their face that they may not always agree with Rep. Clark, but they like him, trust him and respect him.

The race for Majority Whip seems to be up in the air. The race is divided by geography with West, Central and East Kentucky all having a stake. Common sense and a map tells me that the Jefferson County delegation will decide who the next Majority Whip will be. Most tell me that John Will Stacey may have the edge right now?