Grimes 'broke promise'

Monica Spees

Bowling Green Daily News

June 12, 2014

U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell and his supporters say Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes broke her promise to Kentuckians at a fundraiser last week.

Prior to Grimes’ Washington, D.C., fundraising event last week for her bid to unseat McConnell, her campaign had said she would address Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., about her opposition to the Environmental Protection Agency’s regulations that hurt the coal industry. An audio recording of the event revealed that Grimes, a Democrat, failed to publicly speak out for coal in her speech. Grimes’ campaign says she spoke privately with Reid on the matter.DN Blank rail NEWS short

Because of the fossil fuel’s impact on the state economy and Kentucky families, Jesse Benton, McConnell’s campaign manager, said Grimes missed an important opportunity to stand up for coal at the fundraiser.

“There’s very clear evidence that she made a promise, broke that promise and misled and even lied about that promise,” Benton said in a Wednesday conference call.

Benton said coal remains a vital issue in Kentucky and shouldn’t be taken lightly.

“We’ve been hearing from our friends in coal country about the devastating effects these new regulations would have,” Benton said.

Jonathan Hurst, Grimes’ campaign manager, said in an emailed statement that Grimes “had strong words with Senator Reid regarding her displeasure with President (Barack) Obama’s new EPA regulations and the negative impact it could have on Kentucky families. She offered real stories of Kentuckians struggling to make ends meet and stressed that we need a comprehensive, balanced approach that reigns in the EPA, invests in clean coal technology, and keeps foreign markets open for Kentucky coal.”

Reid also had a comment included in the email with Hurst. Reid said Grimes has spoken against Obama’s proposed EPA rules to him “many times, including last Thursday,” and has spoken with him about “protecting Kentucky families by opposing the president’s EPA rule far more times than Senator McConnell has, since Senator McConnell has not raised the issue with me once or sought to meet with me to discuss his ideas on this issue.”

Hazard Mayor Nan Gorman, a Democrat, and GOP state Sen. Brandon Smith participated in the Wednesday conference call, along with Kathy Walker, president and chief executive officer of Elm Springs Resources Inc. All three expressed their concern over Grimes being mum on the coal issue at the fundraiser and praised McConnell for speaking out for coal on numerous occasions.

“I share the anxiety that things are falling out of orbit,” Gorman said of the governmental battles against coal.

Gorman said “scores of job losses” have plagued the state in the coal industry, but that McConnell has supported countless job-creating efforts.

Walker said the bottom line is that coal creates jobs and is a good provider of energy. She said it’s “great to see that our great state has an asset in coal.”

“Whether a Republican or Democrat running for the U.S. or state Senate, coal is – or should be – a top priority,” Walker said.

Walker added that she fully supports McConnell because he has proven himself to be a champion of coal.

“Senator McConnell truly talks the talk and walks the walk,” while Grimes talks the talk and “sits down,” Walker said.

Walker said it’s possible that Grimes forgot to mention coal in the speech she delivered at the fundraiser, but that doesn’t bring Walker much ease.

“I highly anticipate that Ms. Grimes will forget us if she is elected,” Walker said.

Smith said it was “offensive” for Grimes to say she understands coal and called her “one of the most destructive members that’s ever been when it comes to the energy grid.”

He echoed Walker that forgetfulness shouldn’t be an excuse when coal is concerned.

“You shouldn’t be secretary of state if you forget something that important,” Smith said.

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