Thursday, December 14, 2000
Kentuckians see friend in Bush
Sympathy expected for tobacco, coal, breeding industries
By Patrick Crowley
The Cincinnati Enquirer
Kentucky Republicans are looking forward to having a friend in the White House.
Beyond their glee over George W. Bush finally being declared the winner of the presidential race, leaders in the Kentucky GOP say they will now have an even louder voice in Washington.
It's a good chance to advance our agenda in Kentucky, said U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, a Louisville Republican who chaired Mr. Bush's campaign in Kentucky.
Like much of the south, Kentucky was once a bedrock Democratic state. But the state's voters have swung toward Republican candidates in recent years.
Mr. Bush carried Kentucky on Election Day by 16 points following Bill Clinton's wins here in 1992 and 1996. And seven of the eight members of the state's Washington delegation are Republi cans, with U.S. Rep. Ken Lucas of Boone County the lone Democrat.
We've all worked hard to elect these seven Republicans at the federal level, said Kentucky GOP vice chairman Damon Thayer, knowing they would represent us well in Washington but hoping some day they would be a part of a Republican majority that gets to work with a Republican president.
U.S. Sen. Jim Bunning, a Northern Kentucky Republican from Southgate, said he is looking forward to once again working with Mr. Bush.
The two helped campaign for Mr. Bush's father, former president George Bush, during the 1988 presidential campaign.
Knowing him personally is going to be a big plus as far as I'm concerned, Mr. Bunning said.
And his administration is going to have policies that are important to people in Kentucky, things like education, energy, health care and prescription drugs for seniors.
Mr. Thayer said during the last eight years of the Clinton administration a number of Kentucky industries have been under attack, including:
Tobacco, which President Clinton proposed regulating as a narcotic. The tobacco industry was also sued by the federal government and was under constant assault because of the health effects of smoking.
Coal and auto making, two industries targeted by the environmental policies of Mr. Clinton and Vice President Al Gore.
Horse racing and breeding, which were threatened by stiffer regulations.
The Clinton/Gore war ... on those industries will come to an end in a Bush presidency, Mr. Thayer said.
Mr. Bunning described those industries as vital to the economy of Kentucky. All of those industries have a great deal of effect on the prosperity of all Kentuckians, he said.
Kentucky residents, particularly those who voted for Mr. Bush and who agree with his policies, should also benefit over the next four years, he said.
In general a Bush presidency is going to help because his policies on taxes, education, Social Security and other issues will be beneficial to all Kentuckians, Mr. Thayer said.
Mr. Bunning said he expects some Kentucky residents to be given jobs in the Bush administration, though he said it's too early to mention any names.
We've been waiting for the race to be finalized before we did anything, but we have a lot of requests waiting and I think we are going to have some people from Kentucky in the administration, he said.
GOP consultant Hayes Robertson of Covington said he does not anticipate Mr. Bush being a hard-edged partisan. That's good for Kentuckians, and really for everybody in the country, because more is going to get done in Congress, Mr. Robertson said.
But when you have seven of your eight members of Congress in the same party as the president, Kentucky issues and legislation are go ing to have a better chance of being heard.
Mr. Bunning said Mr. Bush will also help restore Kentucky voters' confidence and respect in the presidency, which suffered because of Mr. Clinton's scandals in office and his impeachment.
With his personality and his honesty and his straight-forward approach, what you see is what you get, Mr. Bunning said of the president-elect.
He's not a double-talker, and I think that is going to sit very well with all Kentuckians, he said.
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TELL US WHAT YOU THINK
Local voters just glad it's over
Lawmakers talk conciliation
Ohio could reap the spoils
Tristate Republicans could win appointments
Kentuckians see friend in Bush
Tristate scholars consider lessons, impact of election
Impact on Abortion
Impact on Education
Impact on Environment/energy
Impact on Health Care
Impact on Social Security
Bush electors in the Tristate