Kentucky priorities at center of national discussion

Published 6:09 am Thursday, July 19, 2018


U.S. Senator

Whenever the Senate is not in session, I enjoy working at home in Kentucky and hearing first-hand from my constituents. During the July state work period, I again traveled across Kentucky to meet with families, veterans, workers and students. I’m proud to represent them in Washington and always appreciate spending time with them in the Commonwealth. These conversations help me – as Senate Majority Leader – keep Kentucky’s priorities at the center of national attention.

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During those visits back home, I was proud to discuss the numerous victories President Trump and I have secured for Kentucky. I also shared my vision for what we can accomplish in the coming months.

In Ashland, I sat down with a number of community members to hear how this Republican Congress’ pro-growth policies are helping to get the economy back on the right track. I’ve proudly partnered with leaders in Ashland on a number of projects, like securing more than $10 million for the Veteran’s Riverfront Park. It’s been just over six months since President Trump signed historic tax reform into law, and during that time, Kentucky’s unemployment rate hit its lowest point in 42 years. Millions of Americans are enjoying increased benefits, bonuses or raises because of tax reform, including many I’ve heard from right here in Kentucky.

During my visit to Danville, a student asked me about our efforts to keep schools safe. After the recent shooting in Marshall County, Kentuckians are painfully aware of the need to protect our young people while at school. I was proud to sponsor the bipartisan, commonsense legislation Congress passed earlier this year to provide over $2 billion for threat assessment, mental health programs and improvements to school security infrastructure. Working with local, state and federal partners, we must fully commit to protecting Kentucky’s students and teachers.

Next, I had the opportunity to meet with constituents from Pulaski, Russell and Casey counties. I reaffirmed my commitment to fighting the devastating opioid epidemic. Earlier this year, I negotiated an agreement to allocate an historic amount of resources for prevention, treatment, and enforcement efforts. After hearing from my constituents about the damage drug addiction is having on Kentucky’s workforce, I also introduced the “CAREER Act”, which aims to help recovering addicts find a stable job, a safe place to live, and maintain long-term sobriety. Together, I’m hopeful we can save more lives.   

While in Louisville, I toured Sunstrand, a hemp processor and manufacturer, and it was encouraging to see their innovative work. The Senate recently passed its Farm Bill, which included my provision on industrial hemp. Building upon my work in 2014 to help establish pilot programs, it will legalize hemp as an agricultural commodity and help farmers explore the crop’s potential. I look forward to getting this provision and the larger Farm Bill to President Trump’s desk soon for his signature.

Many Kentuckians have raised with me the need to enhance our nation’s border security. Along with a number of my Senate colleagues, I introduced the “Keep Families Together and Enforce the Law Act” that would keep families together as their immigration status is being determined. Our legislation would also continue to ensure the integrity of our laws in our immigration system. And we are working to fund border security and other enforcement measures to help keep our nation safe.

Finally, I had the chance to discuss what will be the Senate’s focus in the coming months: the vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court. I was proud to be at the White House when President Trump nominated Judge Brett Kavanaugh to be an Associate Justice. He is a superb candidate with an impressive background and a deep respect for the Constitution. He is exactly the sort of principled, legal mind we need on the Supreme Court, and I look forward to his confirmation hearing.

I value every opportunity I get to leave Washington and return home to spend time with my constituents. I take seriously the many opinions I hear – both the compliments and the criticisms – while representing our state. Please know that these conversations will help guide me as I continue to lead the Senate through the numerous priorities that lie ahead.

Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, is the Senate majority leader.