Top: During a meeting of the State and Local Government Committee Rep. Jim Wayne, D-Louisville, calls for more transparency in future redistricting processes.

Middle Left: The House Clerk gathers a stack of redistricting bills.

Middle Right: Children’s advocacy groups gathered in the Capitol building at the start of the 2013 Extraordinary Session, holding umbrellas in protest of recent budget cuts.

Bottom: Sen. Gerald Neal, D-Louisville, asks that Senate Resolution 16 be called up for a vote before the Kentucky Senate


Photos by Rae Hodge/The Kentucky Gazette

Top: Senate President Robert Stivers, R-Manchester, describes the prima facie unconstitutionality of a redistricting plan whose deviation rate is greater than 10 percent, although adding that the senate’s redistricting plan with an 11.5 percent deviation rate would stand up to state and federal Supreme Court scrutiny.

Middle Left: Sen. Ernie Harris, R-Prospect, debates the principle of Imminent Domain during a discussion of the Bluegrass Pipeline on the floor of the Kentucky state Senate. 

Middle Right: The curling marble of the Kentucky state Capitol building’s ionic columns is highlighted in the afternoon light, just outside of the Senate Chamber

Bottom: Close-up of 
a redistricting map as it circulates on the floor of the Kentucky House of Representatives and is studied closely by Rep. Ruth Palumbo, D-Lexington, and Rep. Stan Lee, R-Lexington.

 

Photos by Rae Hodge/The Kentucky Gazette

Fancy Farm is no picnic for black voices
What one political event can teach the nation about black presence in Kentucky politics
By Rae Hodge
The Kentucky Gazette
Fancy Farm, Ky. – Savory wood smoke rises above a barbeque pit that stretches nearly 50 yards long. Kentucky’s youngest constituents are playing ring-toss at booths full of pop bottles. Sweat drools down the backs of harried reporters, who cruise the crowd slowly and linger in legislative circles. Here and there, a swell of laughter reaches above the steel guitars. And everywhere voters are pronouncing their causes with picket signs, stickers and costumes.
St. Jerome’s Fancy Farm picnic is the once-a-year center of Kentucky’s political universe, a rowdy mix of scathing Southern stump speeches and genteel glad-handing. This year, with a massive crowd bracing for a decidedly monumental U.S. Senate race, civic-minded picnickers from all over the country could find everything in the heady Kentucky humidity. Almost everything.
About 12,000 people attended the picnic this year. St. Jerome’s political chairman Mark Wilson described the turnout as “in the top five” of all time. Walking through the crowd, this reporter noted roughly a dozen people of color – two of which were reporters from out of state, and none of which appeared to be on any stage.

“The scary thing is that very few people are asking the question about where the black voices are,” said Dr. Ricky Jones, a Pan-African studies professor at the University of Louisville and director of UofL’s Center for Race and Inequality. “It’s a problem that’s getting worse rather than better, because there are many who think if you raise these issues, you’re playing a political race card when you’re really not. And so nobody even asks the question of presence or voice.”Hit the jump for the full story…

Fancy Farm is no picnic for black voices

What one political event can teach the nation about black presence in Kentucky politics

By Rae Hodge

The Kentucky Gazette

Fancy Farm, Ky. – Savory wood smoke rises above a barbeque pit that stretches nearly 50 yards long. Kentucky’s youngest constituents are playing ring-toss at booths full of pop bottles. Sweat drools down the backs of harried reporters, who cruise the crowd slowly and linger in legislative circles. Here and there, a swell of laughter reaches above the steel guitars. And everywhere voters are pronouncing their causes with picket signs, stickers and costumes.

St. Jerome’s Fancy Farm picnic is the once-a-year center of Kentucky’s political universe, a rowdy mix of scathing Southern stump speeches and genteel glad-handing. This year, with a massive crowd bracing for a decidedly monumental U.S. Senate race, civic-minded picnickers from all over the country could find everything in the heady Kentucky humidity. Almost everything.

About 12,000 people attended the picnic this year. St. Jerome’s political chairman Mark Wilson described the turnout as “in the top five” of all time. Walking through the crowd, this reporter noted roughly a dozen people of color – two of which were reporters from out of state, and none of which appeared to be on any stage.

“The scary thing is that very few people are asking the question about where the black voices are,” said Dr. Ricky Jones, a Pan-African studies professor at the University of Louisville and director of UofL’s Center for Race and Inequality. “It’s a problem that’s getting worse rather than better, because there are many who think if you raise these issues, you’re playing a political race card when you’re really not. And so nobody even asks the question of presence or voice.”

Hit the jump for the full story…

McConnell, challengers share Fancy Farm stage

By Roger Alford and Bruce Schreiner

Associated Press

FANCY FARM, Ky. (AP) – Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell largely ignored his challengers at Kentucky’s premier political showdown Saturday, aiming his criticism instead at President Barack Obama while touting his GOP leadership role.

His Democratic rival in the 2014 race, Alison Lundergan Grimes, and McConnell’s GOP challenger went on the attack as they shared the stage with Kentucky’s longest-serving senator at the annual Fancy Farm picnic in western Kentucky. It was the first joint appearance by the three, though they have been trading jabs for weeks in speeches and TV ads. 

Grimes, Kentucky’s secretary of state, portrayed McConnell as the chief Republican obstructionist and made her case for a change.

“If doctors told Sen. McConnell he has a kidney stone, he’d refuse to pass it,” said Grimes, drawing cheers from her supporters and jeers from McConnell’s at the raucous event.

Louisville businessman Matt Bevin, trying to capitalize on tea party influence in the GOP, declared that he would defeat McConnell in the primary election next May.

“I don’t intend to run to the right of Mitch McConnell,” said Bevin, a political newcomer. “I don’t intend to run to the left of Mitch McConnell. I intend to run straight over the top of Mitch McConnell.”

By the time he made the bold declaration, McConnell had left the stage. Bevin criticized McConnell for leaving the event early, starting a chant with the crowd: “Where’s Mitch? Where’s Mitch? Where’s Mitch?” Then adding: “The people of Kentucky have been wondering that for quite a while now.”

The stump speeches drew a large crowd of sign-waving, chanting partisans, signaling the fervor for a race that won’t ultimately be decided until November 2014.

McConnell tried to score political points by criticizing Obama, who has never been popular in Kentucky. Republicans are trying to tie Grimes to Obama, and some Republicans in the crowd had signs that showed pictures of Obama on one side and Grimes on the other.

McConnell said the federal health-care law championed by Obama has been a “disaster for America,” and he criticized the Democratic president for his administration’s policies that he said are hurting Kentucky’s coal industry. Kentucky is one of the nation’s leading coal producers.

“I fought them every step of the way,” said McConnell, who’s making a bid for a sixth term.

Turning to a local issue, McConnell said that he – along with fellow U.S. Sen. Rand Paul and U.S. Rep. Ed Whitfield – forced the government to reverse its decision to halt fishing below the dam of a popular waterway in the area. Obama recently signed a bill imposing a two-year moratorium on barriers to prevent fishing in the tailwaters near dams along the Cumberland and its tributaries.

“You can’t get any of those things done from the back bench,” McConnell said, in the only criticism that appeared to be directed at his challengers.

“We’re not just deciding who represents Kentucky in the Senate,” McConnell added. “We’re going to be deciding who runs the Senate.”

Grimes said the GOP stands for “gridlock, obstruction and partisan,” and said McConnell has been a key player in pursuing the strategy.

“There’s a disease of dysfunction in Washington D.C., and after 30 years, Sen. McConnell is at the center of it,” she said.

Grimes accused McConnell of voting against the interests of workers, women and retirees.

The Senate race is expected to shatter fund-raising records in Kentucky. It’s unclear whether Bevin will have the campaign funds to mount a strong primary challenge to McConnell, who at last count had raised more than $15 million. Bevin refused Saturday to say how much of his own cash he will invest in the race, or how much has put in already. The campaign has been running a TV ad since he announced his candidacy last month.

The setting for Saturday’s showdown was the shaded grounds of St. Jerome Catholic Church in the tiny western Kentucky community of Fancy Farm where people started showing up on Friday. It’s an annual rite that dates back more than a century. By mid-day Saturday, hundreds of people, many waving placards, had gathered in and around an outdoor pavilion.

The raucous event – a holdover from the days before television, when politicians had to seek out crowds to solicit votes – takes on the aura of a sporting event, with spectators shouting themselves hoarse heckling some speakers and cheering others, depending on their philosophies.

radorocket:

#ohio #ohioriver #river #kentucky

Just a glimpse of Kentucky’s riverbanks

theneteconomy:

Updates from Senator Rand Paul

CONGRESS WATCH
Sen. Paul talks spending, military in Hoptown, Carla Jimenez, kentuckynewera.com
Pau…

View Post

The Kentucky New Era on Rand Paul.

theneteconomy:

Updates from Senator Rand Paul

CONGRESS WATCH

View Post

The Kentucky New Era on Rand Paul.

instatypography:

by kathibahr /// via Instagram http://instagram.com/p/c4eD_HtcLW/

The Kentucky Gazette will be live-tweeting about heritage and bourbon this Thursday from the Governor’s Mansion at the state Capitol. Join us online to get a glimpse of the “Mixing at the Mansion” event with Bourbon Women.Find us on Twitter @KentuckyGazette

instatypography:

by kathibahr /// via Instagram http://instagram.com/p/c4eD_HtcLW/

The Kentucky Gazette will be live-tweeting about heritage and bourbon this Thursday from the Governor’s Mansion at the state Capitol. Join us online to get a glimpse of the “Mixing at the Mansion” event with Bourbon Women.

Find us on Twitter @KentuckyGazette