TheTimesTribune.com, Corbin, KY

Local News

May 12, 2014

McConnell’s Corbin visit canceled

Scrubbed due to mechanical problems with plane

CORBIN — By Jeff Noble / Staff Writer

A large audience gathered for the Corbin Rotary Club’s meeting Friday, waiting to hear from the program’s speaker, U. S. Senator Mitch McConnell.

But Kentucky’s senior senator, and Senate Minority Leader, was unable to break bread with the Rotarians due to mechanical problems with the airplane that would take him to Corbin.

Before the noontime luncheon and program was to begin, McConnell’s staff said the senator was back in Washington at the airport, and would not be able to address the Corbin crowd.

His remarks, and a question and answer session that would follow, was canceled in Corbin — one of three stops McConnell had planned for Friday.

It was hoped the senator’s plane would be repaired in time to arrive for a visit at 1:30 p.m. at South Laurel High School, as well as another event that evening at Lee’s Ford Marina, near Somerset.

Instead, the State Director for Sen. McConnell, Terry Carmack, spoke to the meeting in Corbin, held at David’s Steakhouse.

After Carmack’s remarks, the Times-Tribune learned from Donna McClure, McConnell’s Field Representative in London, that the senator was still in Washington, the plane’s mechanical problems were still not fixed, and that his appearances in London and Somerset were also canceled.

But the program went on with Carmack at the helm, filling in for McConnell.

“Sen. McConnell thinks the problem is with the government. The Army Corps of Engineers didn’t want to raise the water levels at Lake Cumberland, due to a minnow called the Duskytail Darter. … You have that mentality that’s hard to overcome. Losing jobs to a little minnow,” he told the audience.

Carmack also spoke of another topic, the “War on Coal” in Kentucky, and what he stated were the regulations placed on coal companies.

“We’ve struggled, because states around us are setting state policies in order to bring jobs to their states. We need an administration and and EPA that will let us dig that coal, lower utility rates and keep jobs in Kentucky,” he added.

Midway through his his presentation, Carmack zeroed in on two issues the senator has made top priorities in his campaign.

One was the explosion of debt in the Federal government. The other was the Affordable Care Act, also known as “Obamacare.”

“(It’s) the problem of government itself taking over the entire health care system. If you’re going to do something like that, do it in a bipartisan basis. But Obamacare was rammed through Congress. The reason this has become unpopular and stayed unpopular is because the President didn’t give us an honest assessment of the Affordable Care Act. We need to have competitive forces in our health care system. It raises the quality and lowers the price. That’s why the Senator wants to repeal Obamacare,” he pointed out.

With ten days to go before the primary election, Carmack gave an answer to why voters should go to the polls.

“This election will decide who will be in control of the Senate. Mitch McConnell or Harry Reid, the man who said, ‘Coal will make you sick.’ I think McConnell is the better choice for Majority Leader of the Senate. Someone from Kentucky, instead of Nevada,” he said.

McConnell is running for re-election in this month’s Republican primary on May 20. He faces four other GOP candidates, including businessman Matt Bevin of Louisville.  

In November, the Republican winner will likely face Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes of Lexington, who is heavily favored to win the Democratic nomination in that party’s primary.

If McConnell wins in November, it will be his sixth term in office.

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