melinda gibbons prunty CURRENTBELTON, Ky. (8/12/19) — After returning home from the Special Session I was humbled to attend the Deployment Ceremony at the Owensboro Convention Center for the 206th Engineer Battalion from the Owensboro National Guard. There were approximately 170 Guard soldiers being sent to the Middle East under the leadership of Lt. Col. Michael Lawson. They will serve there for the next nine months.

The Battalion was undergoing preparation training for the deployment at the Wendell H. Ford Regional Training Center when I toured recently. They made me aware of their ceremony date and extended a personal invitation. I was proud to attend and be present for such a special occasion.

That same evening, I attended the Hopkins County Fair and enjoyed witnessing the cattle competition as well as visiting with various folks throughout the evening. The food was delicious and who knew how many different types of rabbits there are? 

On Friday, the 26th I participated in the ribbon cutting for the new location of Pathway of Hope in Greenville. The space is perfect for the work of the pregnancy resource center particularly for the ultrasound machine and the location is much more private which might encourage more traffic.

On Saturday it was a wonderful evening to enjoy the final concert for Saturdays on the Square featuring the Oak Ridge Boys. Folks of all ages and from as far away as Colorado enjoyed the outdoor event. It was well organized and attended.

On the 29th I attended the Hopkins County Chamber After Hours at the new location of Cornerstone Preparatory School as well as Tungco Incorporated in Madisonville. Tours of both facilities were provided along with good food and fellowship. 

On Wednesday the 31st I participated in the Grant Award Ceremony at the White Plains Community Center. The city was the recipient of $99,860 from the KY Department of Rural and Municipal Aid account. Commissioner Gray Tomblyn II was present for the announcement and voiced that the Governor is committed to addressing infrastructure needs throughout the Commonwealth, including roads in rural areas.

Wednesday evening, I attended Muhlenberg County Senior Citizens Center’s Luau fundraiser on. It was good to visit and join in the dancing. There was a big turnout and Roy Kyle did a great job with his gang.

On August 1st Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles hosted, along with KAM (the Kentucky Association of Manufacturers), a LAND (Linking Agriculture for Networking and Development) Forum, at the Muhlenberg Extension Office. It was well attended, and networking took place among all participants. Success stories were shared from regional small businesses and farms about innovative and creative things they have done to be successful. 

On Saturday I enjoyed delicious food purchased at the South Hopkins Volunteer Fire Department’s annual barbecue fundraiser. I also engaged in conversations with many local fire chiefs about challenges facing volunteer fire departments in the district and across the state. Hopefully incentives can be found to assist in recruiting and retaining good volunteer fire fighters moving forward.

The week of August 5-8th was spent in Nashville attending the NCSL (National Conference of State Legislatures) annual conference. Workshops I attended covered topics that included Medicaid: Innovations and Opportunities, A Win-Win: Tools to Train and Hire Ex-Offenders, Benefit Cliffs: Effects on Employment and Family Stability, Redistricting Basics, Rural Economies: Left Behind or Poised for Resurgence, State Action on Carbon Emissions, Talk It Out: Addressing Behavioral Health Challenges, and Holistic Approaches to Child Support, Fatherhood and Employment. We also heard from Dolly Parton about her philanthropic work of Imagination Library and helping children succeed by reading to them when they are young (https://imaginationlibrary.com/) as well as from Wes Moore, CEO of Robin Hood, a non-profit organization that is innovative in fighting poverty. 

Mr. Moore shared about transformation leadership based on his personal story of growing up with challenges and how he overcame them. He said there should be no excuses for failing in America. He shared about various programs Robin Hood started to make a difference to fight poverty on a smaller scale and then let government implement to make a difference for the nation once proven to be effective. https://www.robinhood.org/wes-moore/

On Thursday afternoon I participated in a Gubernatorial Ceremonial Bill Signing in Owensboro of all four pro-life bills passed during the 2019 Regular Session. HB 5, of which I was the primary sponsor, was among them. It was personally gratifying to be able to share such a moment with local residents who could not attend the signing when it was held in Frankfort earlier in the summer. It was also special to be able to have a bit of Frankfort come to Western Kentucky, particularly over such an important issue. 

On the 9th I had the distinct honor of presenting Citations of Achievement from the House of Representatives to graduates of the 31st Adult Education Graduation at Madisonville Community College’s Byrnes Auditorium. The Adult Centers for Academic Excellence (or ACE2) are funded by Kentucky Skills U (formerly Kentucky Adult Education) under the Education and Workforce Development Cabinet.

All graduates earned their GED and one student also earned a certificate to enter the workforce for a specific industry. These graduates are to be especially commended because to go back and earn this diploma, some after many years post high school, had to overcome various challenges that a teenager going through high school does not routinely face. www.kyskillsu.ky.gov

On Saturday, the 10th I attended the Muhlenberg County Farmers Market’s 2019 Farm to Fork Dinner at Second Baptist Church. The food provided by local farmers was delicious, the entertainment enjoyable and the encouragement by Warren Beeler, the Executive Director of the Governor’s Office of Agricultural Policy was appreciated. The Muhlenberg County FFA did an excellent job assisting with the dinner, including serving tables.

On Sunday morning, the 11th I was one of several residents who provided a tour of Lake Malone for the RUX (Rural-Urban Exchange) participants who spent the weekend in Muhlenberg County. I met several from Northern KY, Lexington and Henry County, as well as others. They had been housed at the Wendell H. Ford Regional Training Center, had experienced various aspects of “More Muhlenberg” and are scheduled to return some time in 2020 for a follow-up visit.

In case you missed it, last week we received news from the Governor’s Office that our region would receive additional coal severance fund payments. This is the result of legislation we passed in 2018 that requires 100% of excess coal severance monies collected above what the state expects to receive to go directly to coal counties and cities. Prior to passage of HB 265 excess funds went into the General Fund and were allocated as such.

I am excited that additional monies are coming back to Bremen, Central City, Drakesboro, Greenville, Powderly and South Carrollton in Muhlenberg County and Earlington, Madisonville, Mortons Gap, and Nortonville in Hopkins County as well as a significant amount to each respective county. I am confident that both fiscal courts and all the city councils will put those additional funds to good use. It can be used for a variety of purposes, including job training and economic development among others.

Update on Spring Ridge: Spring Ridge is an original two room school, (the only one left in Kentucky) that had been located in Central City but was moved to Paradise Park in Powderly several years ago to preserve it in and among various historical buildings that depict life in a small coal mining community from long ago. The building has been undergoing restoration which has been spear-headed and monitored by Marilyn Kirtley. Several grants have been applied for and received as well as donations of time, money and materials from various organizations as well as individuals. To get more information or see how you can help, call 270-338-5961 or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

As always, I welcome your comments and concerns on any issue and can be reached, regardless if in session or not, through the toll-free message line in Frankfort at-1-800-372-7181, at 502-564-8100 Ext. 686, or via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Please follow me on Facebook @melindagibbonsprunty. You can also keep track of committee meetings and potential legislation through the Kentucky Legislature Home Page at www.lrc.ky.gov

 Note: Representative Melinda Gibbons Prunty represents the 15th House District serving Muhlenberg and SE Hopkins Counties which includes White Plains, Morton’s Gap, Anton as well as sections of Nortonville, Earlington and SE Madisonville. She is Vice-Chair of the Health & Family Services Committee as well as the Budget Review Sub-Committee on Health & Family Services. She serves as a member on, the Appropriations & Revenue, Education, and Natural Resources & Energy Committees as well as the Kentucky Colon Cancer Screening Advisory Committee. http://chfs.ky.gov/dph/ColonCancer.htm

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