TheTimesTribune.com, Corbin, KY
By Jeff Noble, Staff Writer
Telling a breakfast-time audience in Corbin, “It’s time for Kentuckians to have a voice,” Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes lashed out at the man she’d like to replace in the U.S. Senate.
Grimes — a Democratic candidate running for the seat currently held by incumbent Sen. Mitch McConnell — stated during Wednesday’s fundraiser at the Corbin Center she would be their new senator next November, with their help and support.
“There’s a disease of disfunction in Washington, and after 28 years, it’s not dysfunctional, it’s broken. Kentuckians are tired of being left out in the rain, and having the doors shut in our face. Last month, the lights of America were literally turned off. I will tell you, the people of Kentucky are tired of having the door closed. And they’re happy that someone wants to open that door.,” Grimes said.
Noting to the audience that her fighting spirit came early in her life, Grimes not only brought up the recent shutdown of the federal government. She hammered on the economy, on working together, and on putting Kentucky first and foremost.
“We have lost over 118,000 jobs since the economic downturn. We need to have a senator who believes in keeping those jobs in southeastern Kentucky. … In the two years I’ve been in Frankfort, I’ve been able to do more than what’s been done in Washington. McConnell has been literally rendered useless. When you have a senator that called Kentucky’s secretary of state ‘an empty dress,’ you have a senator that cannot only relate to Kentucky, he can’t relate to women,” Grimes pointed out.
Both Grimes and McConnell have opponents in their respective primaries next May.
At this time, McConnell — the Republican Leader in the Senate — is challenged by Matt Bevin, a Louisville businessman aligned with the Tea party; and Gurley L. Martin, who ran for the U. S. Senate in 2010.
Presently, Grimes is challenged in the Democratic primary by Greg Leicht, a University of Louisville professor; and Bennie J. Smith, a musician and music promoter.
Thanking the crowd for spending breakfast with her, Grimes acknowledged that while the U.S. Senate general election is a year away, the time to get on the campaign train is now.
“In my first quarter, we not only out raised him, we’ve outpaced him in the polls. The momentum is growing. But if we’re going to take not Mitch McConnell’s seat, but Kentucky’s seat, we need that momentum. Let’s quit talking about the problems, and talk about solutions. And how to fix them. It’s time to go from ‘Team Mitch’ to ‘Team Switch,’ she said.
After she spoke, a Kentucky Colonel certificate obtained by Grimes from her Secretary of State’s Office was presented to Jerry Ray Messer, a survivor of the CTA Acoustics explosion on Feb. 20, 2003. The explosion killed seven persons and injured 40 at the plant.
Whitley County Democratic Party Chairman Herman Moore told the audience before the fundraiser ended to get energized for next year’s race.
“Every vote counts in this election. We need to organize our precincts. We need to let people know there’s more than one political party in Whitley County. It’s called the Democratic Party,” Moore said.
The Whitley Democrats’ Chairman Emeritus, former Williamsburg Mayor Donnie Witt, said to Grimes, “You’ve said more in five minutes than Mitch McConnell did in 16 days.”
“This was an overwhelming reception in Corbin today. The energy and enthusiasm continues to grow. People are ready to end the disfunction and gridlock in Washington and put someone in Washington who puts Kentucky first,” Grimes replied after the event.
“I really feel that right now, this is a time for a worthy purpose. I think the eyes of the nation are looking at Kentucky. We need a leader in the Senate. She will restore hope and rekindle opportunity for Kentucky. We have the purpose, now we have fidelity, so let’s elect Alison Lundergan Grimes,” said retired Corbin businessman and community activist Bob Terrell.
Moore estimated the crowd at 135 persons, including, as he put it, “several Republicans.”
It was an excellent crowd, considering it started at 8 in the morning. I wanted her here because I want to get people working in the county. It’s good to have a two-party system in Whitley County, and we wanted to get our people motivated. Alison is the one that can get them motivated. She won’t forget us down here,” said Moore.
“We had a great crowd. I knew Alison would draw a good crowd. She’ll do good, and I believe she’ll win it. She’s got more energy than anyone I’ve ever seen. She really tries,” he said.