Kentucky Surging Forward Following Legislative Session

On the first Saturday in May each year, the Kentucky Derby captures the attention and fascination of the world and creates special moments that will long be remembered. The Derby is truly unmatched as a sporting event and spectacle.  A brief hush precedes the opening of the starting gate, followed by the roar of the crowd as the horses explode forward powerfully and majestically. The start to the Derby provides a powerful analogy for what we have experienced recently in our state. Thanks to an outstanding effort by the General Assembly and our administration, Kentucky is surging forward.

The 2017 legislative session was one of the most productive in Kentucky history. Much of our agenda was focused on making Kentucky a better place to do business. It should come as no surprise that the three largest economic development announcements in Kentucky history have occurred since January of this year. Amazon announced their decision to invest $1.5 billion in Northern Kentucky where they will build their Prime Air Hub. Toyota announced a $1.33 billion investment in their Georgetown facility. In April, Braidy Industries revealed their plans to invest $1.3 billion dollars in Greenup County, where they will build a state-of-the-art aluminum mill, creating 550 high-paying jobs. CEO, Craig Bouchard, made it clear during his remarks at the announcement that his company would not have considered locating here if Kentucky had not been a right-to-work state. Braidy, Amazon and others have also been very complimentary of our administration’s passion for recruiting businesses to Kentucky.

Just last week, LINAK U.S. announced a $33 million expansion that will create an additional 413 full-time jobs. That announcement follows companies like UWH, TG Automotive, Traughber, Perfetti van Melle, PuraCap Laboratories, Bulleit Distilling Company and dozens of others which have also recently announced expansions or groundbreakings in our state. These announcements are only the beginning. Like those Derby horses bursting from the gate, Kentucky’s economic expansion is just getting started. Stay tuned. There is more to come.

It is important to note, however, the recent legislative session was about much more than just the economy. For instance, bills were passed that will allow our children in failing schools to have an opportunity to learn in high quality public charter schools and, going forward, we will base higher education funding on school outcomes. Another bill will return more authority to local school boards. These bills, now signed into law, will introduce competition into our education system and will result in better outcomes for all our students. Additionally, we passed a medical review panel bill that will lower medical costs and a bill that will allow funding for apprenticeship programs.

Pro-life laws were created that more accurately reflect the values of our voters. Kentucky is overwhelmingly a pro-life state. Huge bipartisan support for the twenty-week abortion ban and the ultrasound bill reflect that. We also moved Planned Parenthood, the nation’s number one abortion provider, to the back of the line for federal funds.

An important criminal justice law was signed to help the children and families of those who have paid their debt to society. The law allows for work release, work opportunities within prison, and the earning of professional licenses. By helping incarcerated individuals train to get work ready, we reduce recidivism and give children and their parents a chance to be a family again.

We passed legislation to better ensure that our state treats foster children with the respect and dignity they deserve. Kentucky will now allow the courts the leeway to place these children with fictive kin. These are non-blood relatives with whom the child already has a loving relationship and who are willing to provide a home for the child. Likewise, foster kids can now obtain their driver’s license at the age of 16, enabling them to gain independence as they acquire the mobility needed to get to school or to a part-time job. 

A new law was passed that will put much needed limits (a three day supply) on the amount of opioid pain medication that can be prescribed at one time. Medical professionals were asked for extensive input as this law was drafted. As a result, there are ample exclusions for physicians who are treating patients with cancer and chronic pain, as well as those on hospice care or who have valid need for additional pain medication. 

These are merely a few highlights of all that was accomplished during the 2017 legislative session. 

I love the name of this year’s Kentucky Derby winner, “Always Dreaming.” That is the American way. From the beginning of our administration, we have repeatedly stated our vision for Kentucky to become the center of excellence in America for engineering and advanced manufacturing and for each of us, individually and collectively, to become the best version of ourselves. The 2017 legislative session has afforded Kentucky the opportunity to get off to a roaring start towards achieving these goals. I am confident that we will succeed, because #WeAreKY.


A Birdeye’s View Into NRA Annual Meetings & Exhibits

Louisville, Kentucky, was the safest place in America this past weekend. Why? The NRA’s 145th Annual Meetings and Exhibits was in town.

I was among the 80,000+ NRA members in attendance at the popular gun gathering. The allure of country music, Hot Brown dishes, guns, bourbon, and Southern hospitality easily drew in people.

The annual convention took place at the Kentucky Exposition Center, which is south of downtown Louisville. Derby City previously played host to NRA Annual Meetings in 2008 and had an economic impact of $4.8 million. This year, the second largest gathering ever–with an estimated 80,452 person attendance–had an estimated economic impact of $53 million.

As expected, this gathering generated a lot of press. From a local paper mocking legal gun owners with a crucifixion cartoon to an unsettling endorsement, there was no shortage of  news. Despite threats of protests by anti-gunners and similar antagonists, few threats actually materialized. (I guess rain was a huge deterrent?)

What was I able to accomplish at the conference? I used the event to network, explore the city, and booth visits to ensure I got the most out of my #NRAAM experience. I was fortunate to attend the 10th Annual NRA Women’s Leadership Forum Luncheon surrounded by fellow female gun owners. (Highly recommend you attend this in the future!) I also met outdoor professionals Kristy Titus, Eva Shockey, and Theresa Vail, among many, at their respective booths. And to top off my experience, I even attended several country music concerts: the NRA Country Jam featuring Brett Eldredge and Jana Kramer, followed by a Saturday night concert with Chris Janson and Toby Keith on Armed Forces Day. NRAAM also allowed me to meet up with friends and interact with fellow conservatives whom I hadn’t met before. (I hope others had a similar positive experience!)

Overall, the event was well-organized. Booths were easy to locate, events were generally accessible to conference-goers, and staffers were professional. All in all, very few complaints were made and the majority of attendees were happy. Kudos, NRA!

Why do events like SHOT Show an NRAAM matter? The shooting sports industry plays a critical role in bolstering the economy and providing jobs. Last year, the industry had a $110 billion economic impact on the country. Its importance shouldn’t be downplayed.

Next year, Atlanta will play host to the NRA’s 146th Annual Meetings and Exhibits. Despite the prospective political outcome this fall–it spells bad news either way–this industry will continue to play a critical role in bolstering the economy, shaping future generations, and standing up to big government forces.

Kentucky’s Matt Bevin Keeps His Promise to Dismantle Obamacare Marketplace

Matt Bevin is a man true to his word.

The conservative who soundly defeated incumbent Democrat Jack Conway for the Kentucky governor’s mansion promised that he would scrap the state’s ACA marketplace, called Kynect. Today he kept that promise.

In a statement from the governor’s office, Bevin spokeswoman Jessica Ditto called the program a “redundancy.”



“The transition will have no impact on Kentuckians’ ability to obtain or continue health care coverage for the 2016 plan year,” Ditto said.

Under the state-managed exchange, Kentucky charges a 1 percent assessment on all insurance premiums to fund the program. Once Kynect is eliminated, the 1 percent charge will be eliminated, but plans acquired through the federal exchange will be charged a 3.5 percent assessment.


Liberals attacked Bevin for keeping his word, citing how the uninsured rate dropped since the exchange was set up, but in reality, most of those have moved over to the expanded Medicaid program. Obamacare is destined for the dustbin of history. Even President Obama has moved on, attempting to make gun control his signature achievement instead of the gargantuan nightmare of his healthcare monster, which he refuses to let die.

Getting a head start on dismantling it is more than good politics, it’s common sense.

If You’re In Kentucky, Go Vote for Matt Bevin Today

Folks, it is time. Today is the day to go put a Republican in Kentucky’s Governor’s mansion. I’m told late polling has Bevin up, but by less than one percent. It is going to be extremely close and every vote counts.

The Republican Governor’s Association came through and flooded the zone, Bevin stepped up his game hard at the end, and the Kentucky GOP has come through. Together, they’ve taken a race that had the Democrats up five and turned it to a tied race.

Republicans need to turn out today. It really is insanely close in late polling and today the only poll that matters is the one you go to. So go vote for Matt Bevin if you live in Kentucky.

Republicans Would Rather Lose Than Help Conservatives

Time and time again we see Republican leaders berate conservatives for allegedly taking their football and going home after a loss only to see those very same leaders be the ones who actually do leave the field. It is happening again in Kentucky where the prospect of a Matt Bevin win has so terrified the Republican Establishment, they are fleeing the state so a Democrat can win.

I have been beating the drum for Matt Bevin for a few weeks. I did not want to indict the Republican Governors Association because from numerous people I heard they were just prodding Matt Bevin to spend his own money. But here at the end, it appears certain Republicans in Washington would rather lose Kentucky than see conservatives win. Multiple people close to the RGA and close to the Kentucky GOP tell me the RGA has turned its nose up at Kentucky even though it is widely considered winnable.

This piece from Nathan L. Gonzales at Roll Call is damning. Get a load of this line:

He hasn’t built much of a rapport with sitting governors who could influence the RGA’s involvement in the race. And Bevin continues to struggle with the local GOP establishment after challenging Mitch McConnell in last year’s Senate primary.

Got that? Matt Bevin, the freaking nominee, has not blown smoke up enough Republican butts for them to help him because, woe as me, Bevin dared challenge Mitch McConnell.

On election day last year, when it was obvious McConnell was going to win, I manned up and contributed more than $200.00 to his campaign. Here at RedState, I had spent more than year pushing Matt Bevin as a viable and needed alternative to McConnell, but my side lost and I was willing to support McConnell.

But the Republican leaders think uniting is only something the grassroots have to do.

From Charlie Crist to Arlen Specter to Joe Schwartz to Wayne Gilcrist to Dede Scozzafava to Bob Bennett to Dick Lugar to Mike Castle, etc., etc., etc. it is the Republican establishment and their candidates who take their footballs and run left when they cannot win or get beaten by conservatives.

It is happening in Kentucky again. Republican leaders would rather let the Democrats win than let conservatives win. They would rather a man who refused to defend Christians in Kentucky win than a Christian businessman. They would rather the left than the right.

More from Rollcall:

In the end, Obama’s terrible job approval rating in the state could hand Bevin the governorship in spite of himself. But the president’s unpopularity isn’t exactly an October surprise. It’s been a constant factor for years. A Bevin win wouldn’t be surprising, but calling the race a pure Tossup doesn’t exactly fit the Republican’s challenge in the homestretch

Less Than Five Points

We’re talking less than five points. That is the polling gap in Kentucky between Matt Bevin and the liberal Democrat he is running against. Have you donated to Matt yet?

Less than five points and the race is not for another month — this is totally winnable. We need to get Matt Bevin fully funded.

Look, there is not another campaign right now in the country with an election in November for you to worry about. This is a make or break it time for Matt Bevin. We can get Kentucky a Republican Governor. We need to make this happen.

Folks, I’ve donated to Matt Bevin and I want you to. He’s a great guy. He is a small businessman, a family man, and a solid Christian. It’s time to get off the sidelines for Matt Bevin. Give what you can today.

Matt Bevin for Governor

I backed Matt Bevin in his Senate race. He is a profoundly good guy. But when he ran for Governor, my impression of the race was that the state was ready to move on. And I did not back him. I should have. The top two candidates began beating the crap out of each other in a nasty, nasty way and Matt just showed the optimism and smile that built him a loyal following in his Senate race. He grabbed the GOP nomination and is now the best hope to flip Kentucky to the GOP.

Besides, we will want a Republican Governor in Kentucky for when we force McConnell out of power. (Kidding. Sort of.)

We need to rally to Matt Bevin. The Republican Governors Assocation has decided to withhold advertising in the race, not because they have written it off, but because they know Matt is close and they think he should use more of his own funds now.

We need to help Matt Bevin. He absolutely can win Kentucky. The polling is close and his opponent, the Kentucky Attorney General, has shown himself to be deeply, deeply hostile to religious liberty, small businesses, and common sense.

Folks, please join me in donating to Matt Bevin. The election is one month from now. It is time to open the checkbooks and credit cards and get Matt Bevin across the finish line.

Kim Davis Should Have Done This

Kim Davis, the Clerk of Rowan County, took an oath to faithfully execute the laws of the Commonwealth of Kentucky and the United States. After Anthony Kennedy ruled that gay marriage was the law of the land, Kim Davis stopped issuing marriage licenses to anyone.

I think she took an oath to faithfully execute the laws and she has broken that oath. She did so because she did not want to get accused of discrimination, so she stopped issuing all marriage licenses.

In reality and honestly, I’d have not had much of a problem if Kim Davis just did not issue marriage licenses to same sex couples. I know that would open her to discrimination charges and gets me accused of discrimination as well.

But, her argument is that the law of the land was marriage licenses for heterosexual couples only. I agree with her that just because Anthony Kennedy says so does not make something suddenly constitutional, though that is how it works these days.

By denying marriage licenses to everyone, heterosexuals included, Kim Davis has done the very thing she accuses Anthony Kennedy of — changing the law without the consent of the governed. Part of her legal job description is to provide marriage licenses. When she took the oath to fulfill the law, Kentucky had a constitutional provision denying marriage to same sex couples.

Had Kim Davis continued to comply with that law, I’d have far less problem that her, on her own, redefining her job duties to preclude her from giving any marriage licenses at all. The democratically elected legislature of Kentucky insists she give licenses to, at the very lease, heterosexual couples.