Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Another Bounty Hunter Going After Sen. Pendleton?

What's the old saying, "that which does not kill you only makes you stronger." Opponents have been trying to hunt down Sen. Joey Pendleton for years but with no success. Now, Bill Johnson of Todd County says he may consider opposing Pendleton or possibly making a run at Secretary of State. 

Johnson stands on the right side of the big ticket issues in the 3rd District but so does Sen. Pendleton. In 2008, Sen. Pendleton overcame a strong challenge from Republican Tom Jones. Jones, a conservative and a veteran, was well financed. The 2008 election was probably the best chance Republicans could have had with Obama on the ballot. McCain carried all 3 counties in the 3rd District which includes Christian, Todd, and Logan Counties. McCain garnered 61% in Christian, 68% in Todd, and 64% in Logan. Pendleton carried all 3 counties against his Republican opponent winning by 4,931 voters or 56.5%.

In 2004, most local pundits predicted that Pendleton would be upset. The 2004 race got ugly and personal like the 2008 race but again Pendleton fended off the challenge winning with 54% of the vote.

If anything Sen. Pendleton has probably gotten stronger since 2008. After the death of State Rep. Jim Bruce, Pendleton went out of his way to court and add many of the Bruce factions to his organization. Like the Outlaw Josie Wales, Sen. Pendleton is used to roaming the country side out maneuvering and gunning down the bounty hunters. Whether it be Bill Johnson or someone else, I imagine Sen. Pendleton could care less. I didn't bother asking for a response from Sen. Pendleton regarding Bill Johnson but I'm sure his response to Bill Johnson would be to light up a cigar and say,"are you gonna pull those pistols or whistle Dixie."

Friday, August 27, 2010

Jack Conway Stands Up for Kentucky Farmers

Jack Conway has taken the offensive against Rand Paul's position opposing farm subsidies. Jacob Payne and the folks at Page One Kentucky reported that the Conway Campaign handed out checks (above) at the Kentucky State Fair. Conway has gone on record as supporting farm subsidies. Read the full story at Page One
(Permission granted for use of picture by Jacob Payne,PageOneKentucky)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Trey Grayson Ready to Run for Governor of Kentucky

Is Trey Grayson about to announce his candidacy for Governor of Kentucky? Sources close to Grayson tell me that he has decided to seek the Republican nomination next year. With all the talk of a Williams-Farmer slate one can expect that Grayson will choose someone from Jefferson County or maybe West Kentucky to be his running mate.

After Grayson's disastrous primary run for U.S. Senate most believe that Grayson has taken on new advisers and will not go down the same road with the McConnell folks this time. There is an old saying in politics that you will never win a race the same way twice and I think that probably should apply to losing.

After spending a week on the road in Louisville and Central Kentucky it has opened my eyes to a few things. It's not just Rural Kentucky that's unhappy-no its everywhere. Democrats and Republicans alike are ready for something more and new. I found in Louisville that Democrats are tired of the left wing and Republicans are tired of the right wing. The mood is about taxes, big government, regulations and the economy. No doubt that Kentucky is divided regionally on certain issues but I think in this election cycle there is more that unifies Kentucky than divides it when it comes to issues. 

Those who want to be successful in Kentucky would be well advised to listen to the folks on the street instead of towing the party line.

Mark Hayden: When the Helper Needs Help

They were known as the "Brethren", a 70's rock and roll cover band from the Purchase Area. Mark Hayden and his fellow musicians would even chart a song called "Never Thought I'd Hear You Say Goodbye" which would make it to #7 on the local Top 40. Mark never relinquished his passion for music passing it on to his children and those around him. Always there ready and willing to use his talent to help those in need, but now this time is different. The helper now needs help.

Mark Hayden was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer this Spring. He is no longer able to work and his wife and family are forced to deal with the financial struggle that comes with such a debilitating disease. Friends, neighbors, and fellow musicians are coming together to help Mark and his family this Saturday. A benefit is being held Saturday August 28th from 4-8pm at "His House Ministry" at 1250 Cuba Rd,(State Route 303) outside Mayfield, Kentucky.

Carol Duke, benefit organizer, stated that she has been overwhelmed by the support from local merchants and churches. Duke explained that there will be an auction, bake sale and music to help raise money.

Steve Holshouser, owner of McIntosh Road Studios and an original member of the Brethen said, "Mark is the purest spirit I've ever known, he's unselfish and genuine". Mark Hayden joined with Steve Holshouser last year to record and produce an album entitled "Backporch State of Mind" for which the proceeds went to raise money for the Poly cystic Disease Foundation and the David Celaya Art Scholarships. An anthology of all the songs Mark Hayden has recorded is being produced and will be on sale at the benefit, said Holshouser.

Ronnie Jackson of Murray, Kentucky who has played with many of these musicians for years said, "We've all used our music over the years for good causes and to help those in need but now we must ask for some support in helping one of our own." 

Anyone wishing to make a contribution can do so at any Regions Bank location in the U.S. The account set up is called: "Play It Forward". 

For more information about the Mark Hayden-"Play It Forward" Benefit
Contact: Carol Duke at 270-804-6363 or email at dragonfly.lady1@hotmail.com

Obama Tune Sends Football Coach to The Showers

 Mayfield native Bryan Glover made national news this week after he was fired from his job at Grassland Middle School in Franklin, Tennessee. Glover, a football coach, was dismissed after he performed and distributed a song critical of President Obama. A national controversy has ensued over the issue of free speech rights.

Early reports stated that Glover's song, "When you're holding a hammer, everything looks like a nail", contained racial overtones for which the Williamson County School System found inappropriate. Not true. After watching the video and then reading the lyrics it is clear that there are no racial overtones. This story has been sensationalized by Fox News and other media outlets across the Nation. By all accounts Bryan Glover is a great football coach, a really good singer/musician and a stand up guy. 

 Was Bryan Glover just exercising his constitution right of free speech-yes he was. Should Bryan Glover been fired just because he released a song-no he shouldn't have. Should Bryan Glover used school email list and a school computer to distribute it-probably not-ouch!

I spoke with a number of folks in the school system and in the Franklin Community today and all were in agreement. This was an unfortunate incident that left Williamson County Administrators few choices. No one in the school system was willing to go on the record because of possible litigation but while everyone hated the decision to dismiss Glover they understood and accepted it.

A Grassland Middle football booster who agreed to speak with me under the condition of anonymity stated that the Obama issue was blown out of proportion and the only issue was the misuse of school computers. The booster said that Glover had been pressure by someone in the music industry to release the song via email and over the inet so that the music entrepreneur in question could make a buck.

In short everyone lost here. Grassland Middle lost a good coach and Bryan Glover lost his job because he made a poor and rash decision to quickly release a song using a school computer. His dismissal was not about race or Obama but about bad judgement.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Sen. Pendleton Elected Vice Chair of SLC Agriculture Committee

Sen. Joey Pendleton was elected vice chairman of the Agriculture and Rural Development Committee of the Southern Legislative Conference (SLC) at its 64th annual meeting. Sen. Pendleton said, " I am honored to chosen vice chair of such an important committee. This position will not only provide me the opportunity to share ideas with my counterparts in other states, but also the concerns and issues facing the Commonwealth."

Sen. Pendleton, a farmer, added that the Agriculture and Rural Development Committee focuses on issues critical to the future of farming and farm communities. As the "engine of the economy," agriculture constitutes a vital sector of the economies of most Southern states.

Recent committee initiatives include updates on international trade and agriculture, consolidation in the farm sector, and conservation and farm land preservation. Other issues in which the Committee has long standing interests are the imported red fire ant, the status of the rural South, and food safety and security. The Committee has focused on the changing face of agriculture across America and conditions in the rural South. The status and future of rural communities is emerging as a major focus of the Committee. The Committee also works annually with public and private agencies, local and federal officials, and the land grant university system to assure the continued vitality of the region's farm and rural communities.

The Agriculture and Rural Development Committee is the oldest of the seven SLC standing committees. Sen. Pendleton represents the 3rd District which includes Christian, Todd, and Logan counties.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Fancy Farm: Behind The Smiles and Singing

Names and conversations were hemorrhaging from my head as I began to drive home from Kentucky Dam Village this morning. What should I write, what can I say, what stories and people should I share? With only a few notes to lean on, my concerns seemed to diminish the farther I journeyed down Hwy. 68. A quiet ride that provided scenes of our lakes, ducks flying over, a small buck crossing the road, folks heading to church, and wild turkey feeding in the fields was just the reminder I needed to gain my perspective.

After sitting down to read the accounts of all the Fancy Farm events it was pretty clear I hate to say, that the political journalist did a poor job of reporting and seeking out stories. Ryan Alessi and CN/2 are the exception whereas they seemed to be hustling any story they could find. I don't know if others just missed them or chose not to write about them. With that said I will provide what I came home with.


Former Governor Julian Carroll now State Senator gave one of the two best speeches made this past weekend. Carroll gave a rousing speech at the labor luncheon in defense of Western Kentucky and pulled no punches in delivering the feelings shared by a majority of West Kentucky Democrats. We have no representation in Frankfort, we have no state office holders who reside in West Kentucky, we have no one in leadership and on and on commented Carroll. Those outside West Kentucky were calling it a sermon while those in the room from West Kentucky were quietly saying AMEN!!

House Speaker Greg Stumbo provided the much needed levity by telling a story about a preacher, a sinner, and a goat. Stumbo opted not to share the story again which I believe he probably should have. Tell it all brother.

Behind the smiles and singing it was obvious that there was a great deal of anxiety being felt by everyone from everywhere. Many would blame the hard fought primary between Conway and Mongiardo as the problem but all that is simply a symptom of much larger problems. 


I had the opportunity to meet with some labor leaders from Louisville to hear their take and concerns about candidates and the general election. I appreciated their honesty and their comments. One gentlemen asked me what the hell was wrong with us down here regarding his belief that we (Western Kentucky) were ruining the Democratic Party. He commented that the only thing left in West Kentucky was God and meth. I laughed pretty hard then they shared with me that they were disgruntled with Conway and had their own issues. They made it clear that although they intended to vote for Jack Conway there would be no effort to organize the labor ranks in Louisville on his behalf. After hearing their comments I came to the conclusion that maybe Democrats have some issues in other places beside just West Kentucky.


The Bean Dinner or as we refer to it, The Mike Miller Dinner, has become the event for Western Kentucky politicos. The food is always good and I have the most fun at this event. I probably should be ashamed but I get the biggest kick out of standing in the food line and asking people who don't select the onions and pepper relish to put in the white beans if they are from Lexington or Louisville. They always reply,"How did you know that?" There wasn't anything out of the ordinary that happened this year other than those folks who are seeking to run next year.

2011 Candidates

Bob Farmer- of Jefferson County is running for Commissioner of Agriculture.

Rep. John Tilley-is considering the Attorney General position.

Stewart Gritton- of Anderson County is also running for Commissioner of Agriculture.

Steve Hamrick-of Hopkinsville is running for State Treasurer.

Critt Luallen- Most expect her run for Secretary of State. (I was informed a few hours ago of someone in Jefferson County who is seriously considering running for Auditor. This person would be a creditable candidate and comes from a very prominent Kentucky family. They didn't want to go public just yet and I assure you that it's nobody on the present political radar.)


The Fayette County folks held a nice reception in Mayfield. I enjoyed meeting them and listening to their comments. Some noted that they were frustrated and had been inconvenienced by the cultural differences between West Kentucky and Lexington. I sincerely want people to have a good experience when they visit West Kentucky but I also believe that maybe their experience provided an opportunity. An opportunity to appreciate the diversity Kentucky provides and maybe a better understanding of what is required to build political unity. Don Blevins who is running for the State Senate gave a good speech and made his case for taking back control of the Senate.


OK, white beans and cornbread is not your forte so why did you not go to the reception at Green Turtle Bay? You said you were frustrated because liquor and beer was not readily accessible so why did you not go to the reception at Green Turtle Bay? You said you had difficulties with the culture and you wanted to smoke and dance so why did you not go to the reception at Green Turtle Bay? You said you were tired of corn fields and barns so why did you not go to the reception at Green Turtle Bay?

Green Turtle Bay offered a really nice venue for those who prefer to be entertained in an upscale environment. Big houses, big boats, a yacht club and a spa- they have it all. I'm not sure how many yacht clubs there are in Kentucky but we've got one in West Kentucky. I could not go in because I don't own a yacht nor am I a member, but I bet it's as nice as the other yacht clubs that I'm not a member of in Kentucky.

This event offered a fancy reception at their spa. They had open bar and featured Woodford Reserve. There was live music and snazzy hor d' vores(snacks) to enjoy. There were really pretty girls who were even nice to me. I've dubbed them the Turtle-etts. Republicans and Democrats alike seemed to enjoy themselves so for those who really like that sort of thing-Why did you not go to the reception at Green Turtle Bay.

The Breakfast at Mayfield High School

This was a standing room only event. Carroll Hubbard was the master of ceremonies  and shared the intro responsibilities with Rep. Fred Nesler and Rep. John Will Stacey. The only interesting comments came from House Majority Whip John Will Stacey when said that Rep. John Tilley would make a good Attorney General. This came to the chagrin of a few who are now starting to realize that Tilley has been very quietly locking up support state wide for months.

Fancy Farm

Fancy Farm is an example that big is not always better. The event which I have attended since 1969 (the first one I remember) has lost some of its appeal for me. Fancy Farm is about Western Kentucky. It's about coming to visit us and hearing about our issues and beliefs not everyone else's. Fancy Farm is now over run with those who get hauled in to cheer and jeer to the extent that one might as well be at Six Flags.

The best speech of the weekend was delivered by Governor Steve Beshear much to my surprise. The Beshear speech may have been his best. Conway gets an "A" for delivery but a "D" for content. He rehashed the same speech he has been giving when Western Kentuckians were expecting a speech  that was dedicated to West Kentucky issues. Granted Conway mentioned agriculture subsidies but failed horribly to mention any issue that is key to folks in Western Kentucky. Conway is now forced to rely on a strategy that predicates success on the other guy screwing up. Hopefully Conway will put more emphasis on agriculture and military issues in the weeks to come.


I appreciated the efforts of the KDP staff who genuinely seemed to be interested in the concerns of West Kentucky. After meeting and speaking with Daniel Logsdon I'm convinced he is more concerned about being a work horse as opposed to a show horse. I think Logsdon understands that a "Team Effort" means more than just a few or one area of the state. After getting off to a rocky start I believe he is working hard to mend some fences and get everyone headed in the right direction.


Mike Lawrence- Former McCracken County Circuit Court Clerk is perplexed by the number of democrats who are raising money but aren't on the ballot in November. Many canidates around Kentucky are finding it hard to compete in this fundraising environment. Given Jack Conway's present strategy I would think that he needs Mike Lawerence and Rex Smith to run very competitive races.

Rep. Will Coursey made it clear that he would not be defined or lumped into a crowd with Obama , Reid or Pelosi. Coursey stated he was committed to the beliefs of his district.

Jerry Lundergun was surrounded with lots of new friends all praying that he will push the button on his speed dial that says B.C.

Rep. Jody Richards was the recipient of much good will and support for his bid to become House Speaker Pro-Tem. Richards, not only a West Kentucky advocate, but a life long friend of Labor in Kentucky.

Carroll Hubbard- Rumors were flying regarding Hubbard's intention to run for the State Senate again.

Rocky Adkins- is not closing the door on a possible run for Governor.

Todd Hollenbach-Apparently has visions of sugar plums dancing in his head and notions that he may now want to be Attorney General. Given his inability to raise money and build a credible state wide organization, most pundits believe he will not seek to run for any office next year. 

Gatewood- Again

Rex Smith- appears poised to take a good shot at Bob Leeper. Some think Smith can win in a 3 way race. Smith is a former state representative and a successful businessman.

Eddie Jacobs- I just like the guy. He has a nice get together after the bean dinner and I was forced to miss it. I got stuck at Green Turtle Bay when the shuttle did not return.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Observations of Conway's West Kentucky Swing

I decided to attend a Jack Conway function in Trigg County this evening to see for myself how Conway was adapting to nominee status in Rural Kentucky. I will preface my comments by saying that I have little patience or time to go listen to the same losing tune of another democratic nominee for Congress or the U.S. Senate but Conway earned some points tonight. Conway was at ease and comfortable with his surroundings unlike other events I've seen him at in past years. I think slowly but surely Jack has resigned himself to appreciate the value of Rural Kentucky and it's importance to his chances in November.

I was looking for the usual performance by Louisville candidates which goes somthing like  "let's shake their hand, get their money and get the hell out of dodge before we have visions of a certain Ned Beatty scene" but that did not happen. Conway actually seemed to be enjoying himself. Trigg County turned out over 50 people by my count which is a "Communion Sunday" for Democrats in  small counties like Trigg. Conway was joined by State Auditor Critt Luallen, Rep. John Tilley, and Rep. Mike Cherry from neighboring Caldwell County.

Conway gave a palatable speech but is probably hammering too much on certain issues that aren't a big priority in Western Kentucky. Agriculture and the Military are big issues and Conway did stress the importance of agriculture while reaffirming his support for the farmers. While the Conway campaign is starting to engage rural issues the window of opportunity to capitalize on them is waining. Rand Paul has missed the boat on a number of these issues and the time is now for Jack Conway to marry a few of them instead of just dating them.

Conway was in Hopkinsville prior to the Trigg County event and sources tell me that he had a better than expected crowd in Benton on Monday night. It would appear that Mongiardo and Conway have worked to bury the hatchet but that doesn't necessarily transfer the Rural Kentucky vote to Conway. Unless Rand Pual's campaign just implodes, what Jack Conway says and does in Rural Kentucky in the next few weeks will determine the fate of his campaign. By my barometer Conway is probably 8-10 points down in West Kentucky but the right words at Fancy Farm could send Rand Paul to the mat.

As a side bar I couldn't resist asking Critt Luallen if her back was hurting from having to pack Todd Hollenbach on Bill Goodman's show Monday night. Luallen was gracious and commented that she thought Todd had a couple good responses. With that segment in mind I was a little surprised that both Luallen and Hollenbach practically endorsed Beshear for a second term. Some are speculating that maybe Hollenbach has made a deal to go to work in the Beshear Administration as opposed to seeking reelection. I would think it premature to endorse a candidate in the primary when you have to run your self. At last word House Majority Leader Rocky Adkins is taking a hard look at the Governor's race and is generating some excitement among West Kentuckians who feel Beshear has not delivered on his promises nor stood with his friends when its mattered.

Next year is ripe for a lot of candidates with a lot of animosity to be created which may very well play into a Republican hand. It should all be interesting!