HOPKINS COUNTY, Ky. (7/1/13) – Today, July 1, 2013, a luncheon was held at the Community Room of Baptist Health to bring everyone up to date with most recent events and how it’s going to affect Kentucky and our local community, and looking at the United States as a whole.
Recently, our state has been fighting to protect our coal companies. Eastern Kentucky has lost about 6,000 jobs due to all the new regulations through EPA. Some of those regulations are also effecting how Big Rivers and Kenergy spends electricity to the aluminum smelters. Currently, Kentucky is number one in aluminum smelting in the country. “With more and more equipment going to aluminum, it is important to have that resource not only for economic reason but for national security reasons,” State Representative Ben Waide stated. “As the electricity climbs, and cost for running a business gets higher, it makes it very difficult for those aluminum smelters to stay in Kentucky. We work very hard to try and get those parties to sit down at a table and work out those details so that we can keep those jobs here.”
“I know that Medicaid is a particular concern,” expressed Waide. “The expansion of Medicaid that the governor has pushed forward has become troubling for me.”
It was determined that the executive order that was implemented to do so was against the law; the authority wasn’t there to do it. Then when the judge found ways, the governor went back and issued another executive order, which is also in dispute.
“I am on the health and welfare community in Frankfort, we had the Commissioner of Medicaid in front of us and had the chance to ask him… how do you plan to add 300,000 new people to the Medicaid roles in Kentucky when we are going to have less money to pay for the Medicaid program,” expressed Waide. “He flipped through a slide and said if you look at these numbers on the slide and the line on this graph, the program is going to pay for itself. So I can tell you the work goes on in Frankfort to make some sense and try to find some common sense on how to handle the new burden of the expansion of Medicaid.”
Another concern that has been brought up is the redistricting issue. “Years ago there was an effort in redistricting… a bill went through and I voted against it,” stated Waide. “It took Hopkins County, and split it in a very unfortunate way. What the Democrats in the house tried to do was deemed unconstitutional and we stopped it.”
Essentially in Kentucky, when the population changes, you do have to change the representation and redistrict. However, in the state constitution of Kentucky, it states that you have to respect two things; population numbers and keeping as many counties as whole as possible. “They were fine with the numbers because they can move numbers around, but they couldn’t keep all the counties whole. And so we were able to stop them the first time and keep them at bay. This time it’s going to be much more difficult,” continued Waide. The current plan for the house democrats is to carve up not just Hopkins County but to carve up Madisonville in three different ways. “So we are working feverishly to keep Hopkins County as a whole. The special session has been called by the governor in the middle of August and will be keeping you guys informed and do the best I can to keep Hopkins County as a whole.”
Out of the mist of what seemed to be nothing but struggles, Waide was able to shed some light. “As many times we go up there and we don’t get what we really want… sometimes good things do happen in Frankfort.” Back in 1990, the Supreme Court changed the standard of proof so it was easier for the government to take away our religious freedom. The Religious Freedom Act was created and put the burden of proof back onto the government. “So, in Kentucky we passed an overwhelming religious freedom act, which meant if the government was going to impose on our religious freedom rights, then they were going to have to have a compelling state interest to do so,” Waide expressed. “For some inexplicable reason our governor vetoed that… made it easier for the government to take away our religious freedom. And Democrats and Republicans alike in Frankfort said that was not right and that we needed to override this veto. But we all got together… but it all came down to the house democratic caucus. There was one man from Louisville, a preacher, who believed it was going to be close… well it was and we were able to override that veto.”
Senator Mitch McConnell discussed issues pertaining to the United States as a whole and what he thinks would be a better way forward. “The state of America right now is not typically good. It is a result of a series of decisions that have been made in the last few years by administration,” stated Senator Mitch McConnell. “The economic crisis we had in 08’… we saw the first trillion dollar stimulus, the first of four years in a row of trillion dollar annual deficits. The takeover of American healthcare… Obama care, the naturalization of the student loan program, the 150,000 new bureaucrats crawling over every business in America with the basic view… if you are making a profit you are up to no good.”
Over the last four years, the United States has had a very large tutorial on very large government. “And what have we gotten in this four year experiment… a very slow growth rate… in fact this is the worse recovery after a very deep recession since the Great Depression,” expressed McConnell. “And why didn’t we have a quick recovery from the recession… it was the government. The spending, the borrowing, the over-regulation… all the things that slow an economy down, and we have had no better example of the war on business than on the war on coal when the president laid out a regular agenda to further destroy the coal industry.”
The purpose of the president’s speech last week was to lay out an agenda to achieve the cap and trade device, not by passing something through Congress but through regulatory activity.
“That my friends, guarantees, if the president goes through with all of this… that we will have slow growth for a very long time,” McConnell continued. “So the American people took a look at the presidents first two years in term and issued a national restraining order. So the ability for them to do anything further on the legislation side was severely restrained. Then the president went into the reelection campaign…. He’s a smart guy, terrific candidate; he’s a very poor president. Great at winning elections, but very poor at doing the job. What has happened after the 2012 election… actually nothing has changed. The house remains republican, the senate is largely the same… we basically have a very balanced political situation going into the 2014 election. A big issue I think that is going to dominate is the implementation of Obama care in the 2014 election and give the people the opportunity to express themselves and hopefully the government respond accordingly.”
McConnell finished his presentation with this thought, “Look, America always has huge problems going back to the beginning of our country. We’ve always have figured out someway… what the challenge was and some way to deal with it and move on. I do think it is very hard to deal with massive debt. What we have done in affect through our own lack of restraint has left behind a mountain of debt for our children and our grandchildren. We now have a gross debt as big as our economy. And once you get into that spiral of massive deficit of debt… you end up having a slow growth that goes along with it and just can’t keep up with it. Another way of looking at it… in every society you have people pulling the wagon and you have people in the wagon… if you put too many people in the wagon… you can’t pull it. But this is fixable. It takes discipline; it takes restraint, takes adult leadership and the willingness to say no. And I think the American people are tired and will take us into a different direction and I think we are going to save this country for our children and our grandchildren.”
Photos Provided by Ron Sanders
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