Senator Mitch McConnell held a Town Hall meeting on Thursday afternoon at the Centre on Main. The five-term Senate Minority Leader, caught in a heated battle with Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes, spoke to a friendly crowd composed of many Grayson County officials, and residents alike.
After being introduced to the crowd by Mayor William Thomason, McConnell, calling it “Ag week here in Kentucky,” told audience members that he is the only Senator to win Farm Bureau’s Golden Plow Award, an award given to someone whose “philosophies demonstrate their commitment to the private enterprise system, sound agriculture policies, fiscal conservatism, and a willingness to reduce federal regulations on businesses and individuals.”
McConnell noted his work on the tobacco buyout as just one example of his support for Kentucky farmers.
McConnell then hammered Democrats on the Estate Tax, otherwise known as the “death tax,” saying, “Democrats love the death tax, they love it. They think it’s a great idea to have the government step in at the end of your life and confiscate your property, and let them spend the money.”
The Senator touted his efforts in 2010 to extend the nearly expired George W. Bush tax cuts for an additional two years, and as part of the deal, McConnell championed a $5 million exemption, per person, for the Estate Tax.
In talking about the future of Kentucky agriculture, McConnell said that he played a major role in the state’s hemp pilot projects. McConnell said that he, through his talking with Kentucky’s legislators in Frankfort, convinced them that hemp was a very different plant than marijuana and worthy of being produced by Kentucky farmers.
“In the early days there was a lot of confusion about this little plant here (hemp),” McConnell said. “There’s another plant that looks a good deal like it (marijuana) that’s a bit more controversial. So it took a bit of talking to over in Frankfort, (but we) finally ended up with a bi-partisan bill that’s basically made it possible for us to have this (hemp) crop again, which was a huge deal back in the day of Henry Clay.”
Regarding foreign affairs, McConnell touched on the crisis in the Middle East, invoking the name of former President Ronald Reagan by asking, “Would he put up with what’s happening to Israel,” while at the same time saying that the U.S. should not become entangled in Israel’s conflict with Hamas, but should instead “support Israel” in every way. McConnell reiterated his comments by saying that “we have no better friend than Israel.”
McConnell, in a neck-and-neck election battle with Grimes, drove his point home about what’s wrong with the country, reciting several current presidential policies which have hurt the nation since Obama took office, and equating a vote for Grimes as a vote for Obama.
“If you are unhappy with the direction of the country; if you think we’re going in the wrong direction, then I have a suggestion for you. If you think we have too much debt, and by the way, we will end up by the end of the Obama years doubling the national debt, it’s twice as much as when he came into office. If you think the trillion dollar stimulus was a mistake; if you think Obamacare was a mistake; if you think Dodd-Frank was a mistake … I call (Dodd-Frank) Obamacare for banks; if you think the war on coal was mistake, it not only created a depression in eastern Kentucky but it also raised the utility rates on the rest of us; and if you share my view that all of these things are going in the wrong direction, then how do you go in a different direction? There’s one thing you can do, just one thing, and that’s change the majority in the Senate … change the Majority leader of the Senate from the guy from Nevada (Harry Reid), a guy who said ‘coal makes you sick,’ to a guy from Kentucky.”
McConnell then told those gathered that Kentucky will benefit greatly by having him as the U.S. Senate’s Majority Leader, as opposed to having a freshman Senator (Grimes) doing the Commonwealth’s bidding.
“I told you every Senator has a vote but every Senator is not equal,” McConnell stated. “The Majority Leader sets the agenda; determines what we’re going to do, what issues we are going to bring up. So the only thing you can do in 2014 to begin to change the direction of the country is to change the make-up of the Senate, and make the guy from Kentucky the offensive coordinator, instead of the defensive coordinator; it’s hard to score on defense. And from a Kentucky point of view, I can’t think of anything that would be a bigger loss of influence and clout than trading the guy you’re looking at, in, for somebody brand new. Now my opponent has argued that she’s a new face, and she is, but I think you need to ask the question; a new face to do what? She’s the new face of the status quo, for no change; she’s the new face to vote for Barack Obama; she’s a new face to make Harry Reid the Majority Leader of the Senate; a new face, but no change at all.”