Twenty years ago, former U.S. Transportation Secretary, President of the Red Cross and future North Carolina Sen. Elizabeth Dole was a decidedly long-shot candidate for the Republican presidential nomination -- an honor her husband, former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole had won four years e…

This past week, the Interim Joint Committee on Agriculture met to hear a report from Commissioner of Agriculture Ryan Quarles on the state of agriculture in Kentucky. Quarles provided an update on challenges Kentucky farmers are facing, as well as good news as it relates to fresh opportuniti…

"Jesus Christ, Super Socialist" is Ivonne Rovira's recent missive on Forward Kentucky in which she equates socialism with true Christianity.

editor's pick

The legislature's interim joint committees met this week in preparation for the next legislative session, which will convene on January 7, 2020. We heard testimony on several bills that have been pre-filed for session, but also received updates from state agencies on state programs.

If you're interested in submitting a Letter to the Editor, click here.

editor's pick

A newspaper reporter gets to write the first draft of a community's history.

Ample evidence provided by the latest test scores assessing Kentucky's academic performance during the 2018-19 school year suggests too many of our students struggled academically and that the drama and disruption caused by teachers' illegal strikes and school shutdowns exacerbated the problems.

In last month's column about Kentucky's new 5-star accountability system, I noted that the release of test scores and school accountability data does not represent the end of our collective work to ensure all children are learning at high levels. Instead, the release of accountability data i…

This past week, we celebrated National Voter Registration Day. Thousands of organizations and people all across the country rallied together to register people to do the one thing that is essential for a representative democracy-vote. These activities always remind me just how sacred the rig…

Eddie Campbell, a choir teacher from Knox County elected this spring as the new president of the Kentucky Education Association - the state teachers' union - has composed an ugly ditty published recently by the Courier Journal with several dissonant notes regarding a proposed scholarship tax…

Families in nearly every neighborhood of our country have suffered because of the opioid and substance abuse epidemic. For years, the situation just seemed to get worse as addiction hurt more families. Kentucky has tragically been among the hardest-hit states. Thankfully, however, our years-…

Just two weeks ago, an 18-year old woman left a high school football game in her hometown. She could not have known that, just moments after cheering on her football team and spending time with friends and family, the car she was driving would be hit during the high speed chase of a man alle…

Two studies in 2014 sought to determine which states were most corrupt. One done by researchers at the University of Hong Kong and Indiana University used the standard methodology of analyzing criminal convictions of thousands of public officials over three decades.

An estimated 119,000 kids under the age of 18 in Kentucky today will ultimately die prematurely from tobacco use. This estimate may actually be low given that we are now in the middle of a youth tobacco epidemic, driven largely by the increase in e-cigarette use. More than one in four Kentuc…

Interim committees met Sept. 9-13 for their monthly meetings, bringing together members of the House and Senate to hear from state government officials and members of the public about the issues we will be looking at during the next session. I believe I have shared that this year's committee…

"Transparency" has become a buzzword of corporate titans, university presidents and politicians of every stripe, but like many such broad descriptors, it has become a shibboleth for something that means the opposite.

The House of Representatives is back in session following a productive district work period. Throughout the month of August, I traveled across the First District to 15 different counties in central, southern and western Kentucky. During my travels, I met with local government officials, busi…

Perhaps President Ronald Reagan was thinking about America's huge education bureaucracy when he said: "Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth."

Back when Richard Nixon was president, a Washington saloon five minutes' walk from the White House named the Class Reunion was the go-to watering hole where press, politicians and real people could rub and bend elbows. To be candid, I was a regular at "the CR," as it was called, but frankly …

"To tell the Truth," a popular TV game show from the annals of history, featured a panel of celebrity judges who would try to correctly identify contestants with unusual jobs or life experiences.

Kentucky's 5-star school accountability system is scheduled to go live at the end of September or early October. It will offer parents across the Commonwealth a new and more transparent way to understand how their children's schools are performing.

No issue has received more legislative attention over the last two years than the potential failure of our public pension systems. Our state employee pension system remains one of the worst funded in the United States. Other systems, including the Teachers' Retirement System (TRS), still hav…

It was the saddest day yet on our farm. As parents, we had talked about how difficult that day would be but imagined it would be a long ways off. Brooke's horse, Chief - her strong gelding horse who was the love of this 12 year old's heart - had injured his leg. We thought it was a simple cu…

WASHINGTON -- A question for this moment: If the Earth's lungs were on fire and the doctor refused to treat it, would there be cause for a third-party intervention?

I spent most of last week at the Capitol Building as Interim Joint Committees met to hear from agencies and members of the public about state programs. I have mentioned before how valuable these meetings can be as we prepare for the 2020 regular session. These committees spend time closely e…

The American Diabetes Association reports that the cost of insulin has nearly tripled since 2002.

You may have noticed some big news recently on the national scene. You may have already made up your mind or may instead be weighing all the facts and factoring in opinions of TV pundits before making a monumental decision that could impact the future of the free world.

editor's pick

I have talked about interim joint committees for some time now, but I rarely mention statutory committees. In addition to interim joint committees, statutory committees are authorized by Kentucky Revised Statutes and function as subcommittees of the Legislative Research Commission. They meet…

Semple Elementary first-grade teacher Christina Carter read a story to her class about a child who faced stressful events every day, making it hard to focus at school. After the story, she gave her students a prompt - if Ms. Carter only knew. Some of the responses were eye-opening.

President Trump, along with leaders from Mexico and Canada, signed the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) on Nov. 30, 2018. Since then, Canada began the process to vote on implementing the legislation in May of this year and Mexico's Senate overwhelmingly ratified the agreement sh…

editor's pick

At our house, like yours, we have a tradition of taking a photo of our kids on the first day of school. We've done it for years as a keepsake to see how they have changed from kindergarten over the years.

"Do something!" emotional protestors shouted at politicians in the wake of the recent mass shootings which killed at least 31 people and wounded dozens of others in Dayton, Ohio, and El Paso, Texas.

editor's pick

The usual adjectives media members use with delight leading up to the annual St. Jerome Fancy Farm Picnic are "hot" and "spicy." Those words generally touch on three points: the weather, the barbecue and the political rhetoric.

editor's pick

As your attorney general, I have made it a top priority to protect Kentuckians from scammers and stop annoying and illegal scam phone calls.

editor's pick

For much of our state's early history, Kentucky was a dominant force in our nation's economy. The ingredients for our early economic success were simple: thousands of acres of undeveloped land, an easily accessible location and a hardworking, skilled population. However, decades of poor lead…

Never before have presidential candidates offered voters so much "free" stuff.

Five years ago, as U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell and Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes were preparing for their showdown at Fancy Farm, former Secretary of State Trey Grayson had some words of advice:

It is time to remind ourselves of the Four Stages of Political Defeat and whether the losing side -- in this case, the Democrats who suffered an unexpected and stinging rebuke in 2016 -- will be able to recover and compete.

As many of you know, the Kentucky General Assembly was called into special session by the Governor last Friday, July 19. We met for five days, approving legislation aimed at providing relief to quasi-governmental agencies and regional universities - agencies that faced crippling increases in…

The recent special legislative session resulting in temporary relief from soaring pension payments faced by regional universities, local health departments, rape crisis centers and other groups known as quasi-government agencies gave Republican Gov. Matt Bevin a political victory in this yea…

editor's pick

Our vote for president is the most "personal" vote we Americans get to cast. We're far more likely to base our choice for the U.S. House or the Senate on issues -- such as health care costs, immigration or the environment -- than we are our presidential choice.

It's just as legitimate for congressmen in the Capitol to consider the precedent proposed policies would establish in regard to future lawmaking as it for justices at the Supreme Court to contemplate how their decisions in current legal challenges will affect the way future cases get argued …

Recording events from public land shouldn't be a crime. Yet when a woman in Utah, standing by a public road, filmed farmworkers pushing a cow with a bulldozer, the farmer drove up to her and said, "You cannot videotape my property."

As someone who was lucky enough to cover the 1992 presidential campaign - involving Republican incumbent President George W. Bush, Democratic challenger Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton and the independent maverick, Texas billionaire businessman Ross Perot - from start to finish, allow me to make …

It has been a big week for news out of Frankfort as the state announced a budget surplus and new record for corporate investment in our Commonwealth. Also, while we still have no set date for the anticipated special session, I was in the capital city for several days to participate in the in…

It was a tad warm in the Graves Circuit Courtroom Monday night, I believe due to an A/C matter, but for the people gathered to watch the graduation of the three participants from the Drug Court program, a little humidity wasn't going to stop them.

While a central promise of President Trump's campaign is coming to fruition in the construction of a barrier addressing illegal immigration along America's porous border with Mexico, it was inspiring to join the commander-in-chief on Monday as he promoted tearing down imaginary walls between…

I know that everyone has heard significant discussion about the pensions systems of our state employees, teachers, state workers, and other public servants. These systems affect taxpayers and public employees alike. Thousands of Kentuckians receive or will receive retirement through the fund…

Gov. Matt Bevin recently signed legislation into law expanding veterans' preference for state jobs to include military spouses. The opportunities that this preference presents, which will aide in the interview process, cannot be understated. Currently, there are more than 17,000 active-duty …

Since the adoption of the Declaration of Independence, the Fourth of July has been observed as a day for patriotism and unity. It is on this day that exemplary visionaries dared to create a new form of government for a new people -- a country in which freedom reigned. It is with celebration,…

This time of year, our thoughts always turn to the Fourth of July and all the pomp and circumstance that comes with Independence Day. Though my heart belongs here in Kentucky and my focus is on our state, I am also thinking of the extraordinary gift that is the American Experience.

Sixty-six percent of Americans believe that the Fourth of July is one of our nation's most important holidays. To celebrate, 62% of Americans will watch fireworks, 54% will enjoy a cookout with family and friends, 19% will attend a parade, 13% will go to the beach and 11% will sing patriotic songs.

Much as Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts insists there's no such thing as "Obama judges or Trump judges, Bush judges or Clinton judges," his court overtly displayed its partisan favor on Thursday with two key rulings that could have enormous impact on the future of American democracy…