By Lorie Hailey
WASHINGTON, D.C. (July 19, 2012) — More than 50 business leaders and elected officials from the Bluegrass region are in Washington, D.C., today to advocate on behalf of the budgetary, infrastructure and economic development needs of Central Kentucky.
The delegation is part of the 2012 Washington Fly-In, which is an annual event that gives elected officials, business, education and non-profit leaders throughout Central Kentucky the opportunity to meet with Kentucky’s entire Congressional delegation over a two-day period.
Today, leaders have met with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., who told the delegation: “If I’m leader of the Senate again, repealing Obamacare is job one.”
He also discussed the economy and tax hikes, as well as entitlements.
This morning, the group met with Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., and Rep. John Yarmuth, D-Ky.
Paul said the Affordable Care Act “will not work. It cannot work,” according to representatives from Commerce Lexington, who are Tweeting from the meetings.
Right now in Washington, “everyone is always in campaign mode, and no one is in governing mode,” Yarmuth said.
The priorities for this year’s fly-in include focusing on regulatory relief from burdensome federal regulations, such as financial regulations established by the Dodd-Frank Act that have adversely impacted the region’s community banks, or from the U.S. EPA’s willingness to circumvent its own federal rulemaking process in order to continually deny permits to Kentucky’s coal industry, according to a press release from Commerce Lexington.
The delegation is highlighting the need for infrastructure improvements for Central Kentucky communities, as well as the needs of the region’s post-secondary institutions; however, in the post-earmark era, Commerce Lexington Inc. and the Central Kentucky Regional Public Policy Group have focused their efforts on several non-monetary priorities and policies that have negatively impacted the state’s economy.
The leaders also will lobby to save 300 jobs at the Blue Grass Army Depot in Richmond. Depot employees recently were told that the winding down of U.S. military operations in the Middle East was reducing demand for depot materials and could lead to layoffs at the facility.
The fly-in has been successful in the past six years in aquiring initial funding for the feasibility study of the I-75 Connector between Nicholasville and Northern Madison County; funding for the Kentucky Blood Center; Newton Pike Extension; contract for bio-fuels program at Eastern Kentucky University; funding for the University of Kentucky; Bluegrass Airport; Bluegrass Army Depot; and a reauthorization of the SBIR/STTR program.
An update on the visit, as well as comments from delegation members, will be posted later at www.lanereport.com.