Thursday, September 2, 2004

Question on roots gets Davis riled up

He's lived here for 15 years

By Travis Gettys
Enquirer contributor

CRESTVIEW HILLS - GOP Congressional candidate Geoff Davis responded to criticism Wednesday of not having deeper Kentucky roots.

During a speech before Thomas More College students, Davis told the crowd that he shared the values of Northern Kentucky.

But he bristled when asked if his opponent, Bracken County Democrat Nick Clooney, held an advantage because he was born and raised in Kentucky.

"I've lived here for 15 years, which is longer than most people live in one place," said Davis, who grew up in Pittsburgh but lives in Boone County.

"When I wasn't living here, I was serving my country, which I consider to be more community service than hosting (events)," Davis said.

Clooney and his family have a long and well-known history in Kentucky's 4th Congressional District. He and his sister Rosemary Clooney, the late singer and actress , were raised in Maysville. And Clooney raised his family, including his actor son George Clooney, in the Ohio River town of Augusta.

Through his nearly 40 years as a television news anchor, radio personality and newspaper columnist, Clooney says, he has hosted thousands of events throughout the district. And he often uses his Kentucky upbringing in his campaign speeches.

"Everything I believe I learned right here in the 4th District," Clooney said during an Aug. 10 joint appearance with Davis at a forum sponsored by the Kentucky Farm Bureau.

Clooney is scheduled to speak Sept. 29 in the second installment of a "Meet the Candidates" series.

While Clooney has used his Kentucky roots on the campaign trail, Davis rarely fails to tout his military experience.

Congressional leaders cited his military background when approaching Davis about serving, if he's elected, on the House Armed Services Committee.

Davis, who studied Arabic in the Army and served in the Middle East, said he'd also be interested in the terrorism subcommittee. Clooney is also an Army veteran.

"The war on terror is the No. 1 issue for the future of our way of life," said Davis, who on Monday delivered a short speech during the morning session of the Republican National Convention in New York.

Davis encouraged students to vote in what he termed a "decisive" presidential election, with the winner having an opportunity to nominate as many as three justices to the U.S. Supreme Court and shape strategy in the war on terrorism.

"You live in one of the greatest generations in history - to be able to see real change," Davis said.

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