Monday, April 21, 2008

McConnell Responds to Hawpe

For non-Louisville readers, here's Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell's response to David Hawpe's bizarre C-J column, in which Hawpe blamed McConnell for tution increases passed by the state General Assembly.

The C-J doesn't keep it's online edition up very long, so I'll play archivist and excerpt my favorite McConnell line:

Anybody with a basic understanding of civics knows that as Kentucky's senior senator in Washington, D.C., I have nothing to do with a state budget that is negotiated between the governor and the legislature in Frankfort. And the idea that one comment from me could escalate tuition rates across the state is even more ludicrous.

McConnell did a better job than I putting into concrete terms the vast good that comes from the millions of federal dollars that he directs to Kentucky:

U of L is at the forefront of medical research to fight heart disease and cancer. UK is expanding access to dental care in many rural parts of the state. WKU scientists help small communities provide safe drinking water and prevent wastewater from damaging our streams and rivers. And teaching programs at Northern Kentucky University help improve math and science instruction for Kentucky students.

The many Kentuckians whose lives have been improved by these efforts probably don't scoff at my efforts the way David Hawpe does, and would be happy to see me continue to bring home university funding to benefit our state. So I will.

It is beyond dispute that Bruce Lunford, as Freshman senator, could not bring this kind of money back to Kentucky (in the unlikely event that he were elected). Lunsford's TV ads not only acknowledge but underscore McConnell's seniority.

So the question for Lunsford becomes, is he willing to dip into his vast personal fortune to pay for those millions of dollars in earmarks that Kentucky would lose if it elects Lunsford?

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