Friday, October 22, 2010

Bill Bruce Dies: Longtime Christian Co. Magistrate

Magistrate Bill Bruce
 Bill Bruce died this morning in Hopkinsville of an apparent heart attack. Bruce was in his 20th year of service as the Magistrate for District 7. The news came as a shock to Christian County residents and friends around the state. 

Well known Democratic political consultant Dale Emmons said that he had known Bill Bruce for many years and always enjoyed spending time with him on his farm. Emmons said, Bill was a delight to be around and a real gentleman. Bill loved to entertain and I really enjoyed getting to know him more during Bruce Lunsford's campaigns.

Bill Bruce wasn't known for really enjoying politics but he was not shy about going all-in to help friends that were running.  Bruce had remained close friends with Bruce Lunsford since their college days at the University of Kentucky and was always in Lunsford's corner.

Christian County Attorney Mike Foster said that Bruce had a love for horses and believed that interest sparked Bill Bruce's political interest in supporting candidates like Gov. Jones and Bruce Lunsford. Foster who also attended the University of Kentucky with Bruce said, "Bill was a dear friend and very dedicated to county government." Mike Foster recalled Bruce's efforts and commitment to the Christian County Health Department stating that Bill Bruce had worked very hard to establish and build a partnership between the health department and Saint Luke's Clinic which provides free health care for those in need.

State Senator Joey Pendleton said that he and Bill Bruce had been friends since high school and certainly wanted to pass his condolences along to the Bruce Family. Pendleton stated that Bill Bruce will always be known for his dedication and tenure with Kentucky Farm Bureau. Senator Pendleton stressed that he hoped that Bill's passing would draw more attention to the need for people to have regular check-ups. "After what I happened to me I was just lucky enough to be in the right place and to get quickly to a hospital. We just never know." said Pendleton. 

State Rep. John Tilley stated, "I'm shocked. This is a big loss for our community." Tilley praised Bill Bruce for his service to Hopkinsville and Christian County saying "Bill will be missed in so many ways". Tilley commended Bruce's service to the community and said, " You don't replace twenty years of experience and dedication. This is truly a time to reflect and pay tribute to our friend and his public service."

Kentucky law required that anybody wanting to seek Bill Bruce's seat on Fiscal Court had to file a declaration page by 4pm today with the County Court Clerk's office to be a write-in candidate on November 2nd. The law requires that only write-in candidates be considered eligible after the ballots are printed. If the vacancy would have occurred after the write-in deadline then the Governor would appoint to fill the vacancy.

As of 4pm today, two candidates have filed as write in candidates. Mike Bruce, a farmer and son of the late Rep. Jim Bruce filed. Also filing was David Collins, a good friend of Bill Bruce and the former owner of Collin's Buick. Sources tell me that Bill Bruce's wife will publicly endorse David Collins in the next 24hours to succeed her husband.

Funeral services for Bill Bruce will be held Monday at the First Christian Church in Hopkinsiville with burial to follow at Rose Dale Cemetery. Visitation will be held Sunday from 4-8pm at Hughart and Beard Funeral Home on South Virginia Street.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Paul Leading Conway In Latest Poll

Rasmussen Report has just released their latest polling numbers on the U.S. Senate Race in Kentucky. The poll shows that Rand Paul is leading Jack Conway by a 49%-38% margin with 5% preferring an "other" candidate with 8% undecided.

Williams & Farmer May Have Company Soon

Apparently not all Kentucky Republicans are excited about the prospects of the Williams-Farmer slate. In fact I have been able to confirm that two prominent republicans are considering teaming up to take on Williams and Farmer. My source has provided me emails and correspondence to validate that these two well known republicans met privately last week for 3 hours to discuss a slate. Personal and political considerations are keeping both from going public until after the November election.

Volunteer consultants from within Kentucky and else where have already met and are providing advise as well as lining up support from big name republicans organizations on the national level. I'm told the decision to run will be made in a few weeks but would not be announced until the middle of November.

Rep. James Comer Considering Agriculture Race

Rep. James Comer of Tompkinsville told me today that he very close to making a final decision about running for Commissioner of Agriculture. "I've been traveling around the state talking to people and I am very seriously considering it", said Rep. Comer.

Since his graduation from Western Kentucky University, the 38 year old farmer from Monroe County has accumulated four farms on his own totaling 950 acres. "I didn't inherit any land", said Comer. The self-reliant Comer commented that he thought that timber was one of the most under utilized crops in Kentucky.

Regarding agriculture Comer stated, "We have unlimited opportunity in Kentucky. Technology is always changing and we stay busy trying to keep up with it." Keeping an open mind and being progressive when it comes to agriculture is very important to the future of Kentucky's agriculture success stated Comer. Opening new markets for Kentucky produce and expanding the Kentucky Proud Program would be initiatives that Comer would champion as Commissioner of Agriculture. Comer is an advocate of government transparency and stated that he would be committed to making the State Agriculture Department completely transparent for the taxpayers online. Comer said that he also would propose putting the resumes of agriculture department employees online so Kentuckians could rest assured that positions were being filled with qualified people not just political appointees.

When asked about the present status of the Agriculture Department Comer said, " There are a lot of good people who work there who have agriculture's best interest in mind." Rep. Comer also commented that he thought that the Agriculture Department was one of the better departments in state government but said, "I believe it's like everything else in state government-it can be improved."

With regard to his role as a member of the House Agriculture Committee Comer stated that he enjoys working on the House Committee and that the Committees' success was due to the truly non-partisan manner in which business is conducted. Rep. Comer also sits on the Appropriation & Revenue Committee and the Banking & Insurance Committee.

Rep. James Comer represents Kentucky House District 53 which is comprised of Cumberland, Green, Metcalfe and Monroe Counties.

Beshear Stepping Up West Kentucky Efforts

Governor Beshear and his administration seem to be finding their way to Western Kentucky quite a bit these days. In the last few weeks Beshear has worked to help bring some jobs to Madisonville and Hopkinsville. Beshear appeared in Madisonville with representatives of General Electric to provide them some help while also meeting privately with executives who are considering Hopkinsville as a site for a manufacturing plant. There have even been a few appointments for West Kentuckians in recent weeks. A Beshear fundraiser was held in Hopkinsville a couple of weeks ago and sources have estimated the event raised $30,000.

Dan Mongiardo has also been spending a lot of time in West Kentucky in his official role as Lt. Governor. Mongiardo has been addressing and listening to some of the needs in this end of the state while also talking about issues that are dear to him.

I have confirmed that there is an effort to organize an independent slate for Governor/Lt. Governor for 2011. Organizational calls have been coming out of the Purchase Area. People have been disappointed in the lack of attention paid to West Kentucky and it would seem that Beshear's actions as of late would signify that maybe he's working to repair and restore some confidence in this end of the state. I'm not sure that an Independent slate is necessary the right answer to address West Kentucky's concern.