Exclusive: Fletcher & Beshear Take on Poverty

A few days ago Page One asked Kentucky’s gubernatorial candidates what they would do to eradicate poverty. We asked that the candidates respond with specific solutions for eradicating poverty without resorting to personal attacks and without bringing gambling into the discussion. We’re pretty sure there’s been enough bickering without any solid conversation about the issues facing Kentucky.

We know the respective campaigns are busy in their own right so we thank them greatly for taking time to respond. To keep things on equal footing we have decided to publish responses in full without any editing. Please read them for yourself and form your own opinion about who rose to the challenge of tackling one of the biggest problems in the state.

We have to be critical here. This in no way is a representation of our political preference and nothing should be considered an endorsement or denouncement of a candidacy. We’re not picking sides, but it’s obvious Ernie Fletcher’s campaign is addressing the poverty issue more seriously. Whether Steve Beshear has an actual agenda for addressing poverty is not clear from this response, and we’re open to hearing more from the campaign. Meanwhile, Fletcher’s folks put enough time and effort in that we’ve had to divide his response into three parts, with the rest to follow.

While only offering suggestions and not providing specific solutions for poverty itself, Beshear’s campaign has responded. Having plans for the state as a whole is a great thing. But lumping poverty in with the rest is part of the problem. Poverty will have to be specifically addressed without regard to those who aren’t suffering. We have no doubt that Steve Beshear can and will deal with poverty but we want to know what the heck he’ll do specifically. It doesn’t take much to put it in writing. Guess we have to remind ourselves that this is a campaign and getting too specific would require holding oneself accountable.

The Fletcher campaign has offered a three-part response to our question and we’ve published the first portion. To our surprise our concerns have actually been addressed. Or have begun to be addressed, anyway. The campaign deserves credit for doing so. Sure, a lot of this substance comes from Fletcher having been in office for four years (Beshear’s been an office holder, as well, and could have mentioned what he’s done in the past) and the campaign relies heavily on what it says he’s already accomplished. But the point here is that the campaign specifically addresses poverty and is beginning to offer specific solutions.

Both candidates teeter on the edge of generality almost as if they’re afraid to get their hands dirty. They have taken major steps, however, to move away from gambling and have begun to enter the territory of real issues facing real people. We hope this is a sign of things to come and look forward to both candidates dealing with the reality of life beyond casinos. Have to also congratulate the campaigns for thus far ignoring ridiculous wedge issues like gay marriage and gun ownership.

We hope Beshear’s running mate, Dr. Daniel Mongiardo, forces this issue to the forefront. Being a state senator from the poverty-stricken hills of eastern Kentucky gives him a unique perspective that needs to be more prominent in this race.

Responses after the jump.

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Getting Something Right

Fletcher, Kentucky and the Appalachian Regional Commission finally get something right. We’re finally offering grants to develop adventure tourism in Eastern Kentucky!

The state is making $623,000 available for grants of about $20,000 each for counties to generate so-called adventure tourism, Gov. Ernie Fletcher announced Tuesday. The money can be used to plan facilities.

The tactic was adopted after a study by Pros Consulting of Dallas showed increased spending on such tourism in Eastern Kentucky could generate 132,000 new visitors annually and $54 million to $99 million in economic impact. The ventures could create as many as 1,500 jobs.

We are absolutely shocked (SHOCKED!) that the Commonwealth is recognizing what a gem we have in the Appalachian region.

Having been involved (Jake) in a long-term community development project with the Brushy Fork Institute in the 90s, we can say first-hand that adventure tourism in the Appalachians works. A group from Fayette County West Virginia developed a similar plan in their region that was met with great success.

Click Here to read the report.

Wide Stance Wednesday

When reality gets too boring, just watch this. [Funny]

Kentucky: ten years behind the game. Pol Watchers has the goods on a recent letter from Attorney General Greg Stumbo to Secretary of State Trey Grayson. Stumbo says an investigation of the state’s electronic voting equipment turned up the “alarming discovery” that the optical scanning units used in Louisville’s electronic voting system were not certified by the state. Finally, the black box voting movement has come to Kentucky. [PolWatchers]

From beans to fuel. The Owensboro Grain Company becomes a bio-diesel refinery and will start production on October 1. Today the plant will be dedicated at a ceremoney attended by Ernie Fletcher, Jim Bunning and Ron Lewis. [WFIE]

From the Heckuva Job Brownie Dept. Hundreds turned out to “greet” Mitch McConnell and thank him for the thousands upon thousands killed in Iraq. Tens of bikers showed up in support of the mass murder in Iraq. Joe Sonka was there and live blogged the event with photos. [C-J, DM]

Burnside Stays Moist

The small Kentucky tourist city on Lake Cumberland will remain moist. During today’s special election the citizens of Burnside voted to maintain their liquor sales status. Restaurants that seat at least 100 people and derive 70% of their sales from food may legally continue to serve alcoholic beverages.

This could be considered a victory for taxpayers. Nearly $400,000 from taxes on alcohol sales have gone to hire police officers, buy fire equipment and make all around community improvements.

Further evidence that allowing democracy to play out is the best route to take.

Emmons & Company successfully led the fight for Burnside.

Hebert Goes to Aurora

You’ve seen Gov. Ernie Fletcher’s ads about Steve Beshear and the horrors of casino gambling. You’ve read the reports of Aurora residents and officials sharing their disdain for the governor. And you’ve heard us say aw Beshear should probably have done.

Well… Mark Hebert visited Aurora last week and filed the following report today:




Seems he had a difficult time trying to find anyone with anything negative to say about casinos and their effect on Aurora. The police chief himself (and the facts) said there has been no crime increase associated with the casino.

Steve Beshear owes him a big thank-you for reporting the facts.

In case you need a break from Senators and their bathroom sex…

Good entertainment. If you haven’t had a chance, listen to the radio “debate” between Fletcher and Beshear. If we’re basing things on courtesy and manners displayed in this radio show alone? Neither of these gentleman have any. Endless blabbering after repeated requests to stop were ignored. And ignored. And ignored. [WKYX]

When giants attack. Attorney General Greg Stumbo is on the right side of the nightmarish Monsanto-Delta & Pine merger. Monstanto, the world’s largest producer of pesticides and genetically engineered seed, is best known for using their GRE plants to obliterate the crops of legitimate farmers– permanently infecting the food chain. Oh– and they tried to patent the pig. [Legal Newsline]

Gaming the System. Humana breaks the law, pays $500,000 fine for misleading customers, using unlicensed agents. Imagine it– a health insurance giant skirting the law and paying a fine. Just the cost of doing business, right? [Business First]

Meanwhile, the number of individuals without health insurance nationwide is skyrocketing. (14% of Kentuckians lack coverage) The Census Bureau released figures showing the number of those without insurance rose from 44.8 million in 2005 to 47 million in 2006. That means– based on numbers two years old– nearly 16% of the population doesn’t have health coverage. People covered by employer-based health insurance fell 1.5% and the number of uninsured children rose 700,000 to 8.7 million in the same 2005-2006 period of time. [Business First, H-L]

We didn’t know Seattle had Republicans! A waitress (server, to be politically correct) helped anonymously pen a facetious blog complaint against Stefan Sharkansky. Apparently, he lets his kids run rampant and is a horrible tipper. Sounds like a familiar former Democratic Lt. Governor of Kentucky, if you ask us! [Consumerist]

Taking it to their doorsteps. War protesters rally against Sen. Mitch McConnell tonight. Thousands in Kentucky are expected to take part in National Take a Stand Day, holding a rally and a march to McConnell’s home in Louisville. [WLKY]

Dirty Work Made Easy

In a previous post we suggested it may not be a bad idea for Steve Beshear to visit Aurora, IL. Many think beating Fletcher to the punch with statistics refuting his figures on the ills of casinos would be a good thing.

Well, looks like Beshear won’t have to get his hands dirty with this one. Mark Hebert did the dirty work when he and WHAS-TV went to Aurora late last week. Hebert found a different view than Ernie did (not that it would be difficult in the least) when he interviewed the town’s mayor, Tom Weisner, and will share that with viewers this evening.

Looks like Ernie really did pick the wrong place to prove his point that casinos destroy communities.

We’ll have the video up after it airs.