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April 10, 2015

April 10, 2015

Journalists from around the state discuss news of the day with host Bill Bryant. Guests: Joseph Gerth, political writer, Louisville Courier-Journal; Erica Peterson, environment reporter and managing editor, WFPL in Louisville; and Lawrence Smith, reporter, WDRB-TV in Louisville.
S41 E23 Length 26:31 Premiere: 4.9.15

April 10, 2015: Campaigns Heating Up

Sen. Rand Paul finally made official what many political observers have long assumed: that he’s running for president of the United States. At his campaign launch in Louisville last Tuesday, Paul blamed both parties for the dysfunction in Washington and pronounced that he’d come to “take our country back.”

The panel on this weekend’s Comment on Kentucky recapped the Republican’s announcement, and reviewed the latest in the Kentucky governor’s race.

Announcement Overshadowed by Testy Exchanges
Paul’s efforts to expand the Republican base were on display at his launch event, according to Lawrence Smith of WDRB-TV in Louisville. He reports that former Oklahoma Congressman J.C. Watts spoke at the event, as did Louisville pastor Jerry Stephenson, both African Americans. Smith says political scientists doubt Paul will get much African-American support but his message could resonate with inner-city voters concerned about school choice and criminal justice issues.

Despite a successful launch, many subsequent headlines focused on Paul’s tense exchanges with journalists later in the week.  Joseph Gerth of the Louisville Courier-Journal says Paul has a reputation for getting testy with reporters. While Paul’s fans may like that combativeness, Gerth and Smith say it won’t help the senator lure independents and moderates into his camp.

As Paul completed a tour of early primary states, he got some good news from a new Quinnipiac University poll that shows him leading Democrat Hillary Clinton in Iowa and Colorado. Smith says Paul must parlay his early momentum into fundraising to support his campaign in the months ahead.

Gubernatorial Candidates Rebut Attack Ads
The four-way race in the Republican primary for Kentucky governor heated up last week. Gerth reports a Colorado-based PAC with ties to conservative billionaires Charles and David Koch has launched ads attacking Matt Bevin and James Comer. Gerth says the commercials ostensibly support Hal Heiner, which the group, Citizens for Sound Government, believes is the best GOP candidate.

The ad targeting Bevin repeats attack lines Sen. Mitch McConnell used in his primary fight against the Louisville businessman. Gerth says those criticisms have largely been debunked by fact-check organizations.

He explains the commercial attacking Comer is more founded in facts. It focuses on federal farm subsidies Comer has received and a vote Comer made when he was in the state House to increase legislator pensions. Gerth says Comer responded to the spot, noting that Heiner also receives subsidies for a Jefferson County farm he owns, and that 2nd District Congressman Brett Guthrie voted for the same pension boost when he was a state legislator.

Comer and Bevin have criticized Heiner for the attack ads. Lawrence Smith says Heiner rightly claims the ads are not his since the PAC is funding them. But Smith says Heiner won’t repudiate the commercials either.

The fight among Bevin, Comer, and Heiner largely leaves the other Republican contender, former state Supreme Court Justice Will T. Scott, out of the limelight. Gerth says Scott doesn’t have the cash to separate himself from the pack in a way that would get him enough votes to win the GOP primary.

Environmental Stories in the News
An eight-hour power outage at Louisville’s largest sewage treatment facility led to one of the biggest sewage spills into the Ohio River in a decade. Erica Peterson of WFPL-FM in Louisville says about 100 million gallons of wastewater flowed into the Ohio downstream of the city. She says the spill won’t impact Louisville’s drinking water, but she reports that authorities in Henderson and Paducah are monitoring the situation.

Peterson says civic leaders are taking steps to address a so-called heat island in downtown Louisville. That’s when excess pavement and other human activities cause higher temperatures around a city’s urban core. Peterson says that Jefferson County has the fastest growing heat island in the nation. She also attributes Louisville’s hotter temperatures to the fact that the city is losing 54,000 trees a year to old age, pests, and development.

Finally, Peterson reports that energy infrastructure company Kinder Morgan wants to convert a natural gas pipeline it runs through the state to carry natural gas liquids (NGL). That pipeline traverses some 20 Kentucky counties. Peterson says the proposal has raised fears among those who contend NGLs are more dangerous. A plan to build a new NGL pipeline through Kentucky was put on hold last year because of similar concerns.

The opinions expressed on Comment on Kentucky and in this program synopsis are the responsibility of the participants and do not necessarily reflect those of KET.

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Comment on Kentucky

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KET's longest-running public affairs program has been assembling journalists to offer perspectives on the week's news and newsmakers since 1974. The program is hosted by Bill Bryant.

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Top

Season 41 Episodes

Eleventh-hour Legislative Recap

S41 E57 Length 26:31 Premiere Date 3.19.15

March 20, 2015

S41 E56 Length 26:31 Premiere Date 3.19.15

June 5, 2015

S41 E55 Length 26:31 Premiere Date 6.4.15

January 30, 2015

S41 E54 Length 26:31 Premiere Date 1.30.15

January 23, 2015

S41 E53 Length 26:34 Premiere Date 1.23.15

October 30, 2015

S41 E52 Length 26:31 Premiere Date 10.30.15

October 23, 2015

S41 E51 Length 26:30 Premiere Date 10.23.15

October 16, 2015

S41 E50 Length 26:31 Premiere Date 10.16.15

October 9, 2015

S41 E49 Length 26:31 Premiere Date 10.9.15

October 2, 2015

S41 E48 Length 26:31 Premiere Date 10.2.15

September 25, 2015

S41 E47 Length 26:32 Premiere Date 9.25.15

September 18, 2015

S41 E46 Length 26:33 Premiere Date 9.18.15

September 11, 2015

S41 E45 Length 26:32 Premiere Date 9.11.15

September 4, 2015

S41 E44 Length 26:31 Premiere Date 9.4.15

August 28, 2015

S41 E43 Length 26:31 Premiere Date 8.27.15

August 21, 2015

S41 E42 Length 26:31 Premiere Date 8.21.15

August 14, 2015

S41 E41 Length 26:31 Premiere Date 8.13.15

August 7, 2015

S41 E40 Length 26:31 Premiere Date 8.6.15

July 31, 2015

S41 E39 Length 26:38 Premiere Date 7.30.15

July 24, 2015

S41 E38 Length 26:33 Premiere Date 7.23.15

July 17, 2015

S41 E37 Length 26:31 Premiere Date 7.16.15

July 10, 2015

S41 E36 Length 26:31 Premiere Date 7.9.15

July 3, 2015

S41 E35 Length 26:31 Premiere Date 7.2.15

June 26, 2015

S41 E34 Length 26:31 Premiere Date 6.25.15

June 19, 2015

S41 E33 Length 26:31 Premiere Date 6.18.15

June 12, 2015

S41 E32 Length 26:31 Premiere Date 6.11.15

April 10, 2015

S41 E23 Length 26:31 Premiere Date 4.9.15

April 3, 2015

S41 E22 Length 26:31 Premiere Date 4.2.15

March 13, 2015

S41 E19 Length 25:20 Premiere Date 3.12.15

March 6, 2015

S41 E18 Length 24:31 Premiere Date 3.6.15

February 27, 2015

S41 E17 Length 26:33 Premiere Date 2.27.15

February 20, 2015

S41 E16 Length 26:31 Premiere Date 2.20.15

February 6, 2015

S41 E14 Length 26:32 Premiere Date 2.6.15

January 16, 2015

S41 E11 Length 26:31 Premiere Date 1.16.15

January 9, 2015

S41 E10 Length 26:31 Premiere Date 1.9.15

January 2, 2015

S41 E9 Length 26:31 Premiere Date 1.2.15

December 19, 2014

S41 E7 Length 26:31 Premiere Date 12.19.14

December 12, 2014

S41 E6 Length 26:31 Premiere Date 12.12.14

December 5, 2014

S41 E5 Length 24:31 Premiere Date 12.5.14

November 14, 2014

S41 E2 Length 26:34 Premiere Date 11.14.14

November 7, 2014

S41 E1 Length 26:31 Premiere Date 11.7.14

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