Republican Challengers Take Aim at Sen. McConnell

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014

The KET Candidate Forums began yesterday on Kentucky Tonight. For the next three Mondays at 8 p.m., we’ll present the men and women who have qualified to seek Kentucky’s seats in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. The primary is Tuesday, May 20.

Last night, we invited Republicans Matt Bevin, Brad Copas, Shawna Sterling, and incumbent Sen. Mitch McConnell to sit down with me for the program. Sen. McConnell did not appear.

Louisvillians Bevin and McConnell are the only candidates in the Repubican primary to have actively raised campaign funds for the race. Bevin has received the endorsement of a number of the state’s Tea Party organizations. He responded to a range of questions from KET viewers, and commented on the so-called Reins Act (which would allow Congress to overrule certain federal regulations), why he would have opposed EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy’s nomination, the national debt, and the full repeal of the Affordable Care Act.

Copas, a native of Monroe County, and Sterling, originally from California, also gave their positions on a number of issues, including immigration reform.

Watch the full program with the Republican challengers

The Kentucky Tonight Candidate Forums continue next Monday night with the Democratic primary candidates for U.S. Senate.

On May 5, we’ll have the Democratic challengers for the 5th and 6th Congressional Districts, and on May 12 we’ll talk with the Democratic candidates for the 1st and 3rd Congressional Districts.

On Monday, May 19, we’ll preview all the races with representatives from both parties, and with political analysts Jennifer Moore and Ellen Williams.

Young Brains and Nurturing Environments

Thursday, April 17th, 2014

Raising healthy and happy kids doesn’t just depend on exercise, a good diet, and proper shelter. Experts say a loving and nurturing environment is also crucial during the first years of a child’s life.

We’ll explore the latest research on childhood brain development and learn how it’s being implemented in Kentucky on the documentary special Safe and Sound: Raising Emotionally Healthy Children in a Stressful World. The program airs Monday at 9 p.m. on KET.

Studies indicate positive early experiences are critical for children to develop long-term mental health, while experiences of trauma or constant stress can have serious repercussions for a child’s development. Those working to help Kentucky parents improve their child-rearing skills include Health Access Nurturing Development Services (HANDS), a state-run program offered to new parents in all 120 counties. We’ll also visit a Lexington family learning Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT), which strengthens the parent/child bond through dedicated playtime supervised by a professional counselor.

One of the experts featured on Monday’s program is Dr. Otto Kaak, a professor of psychiatry, pediatrics, and social work at the University of Kentucky. He’s also Associate Director of the University’s Center on Trauma and Children, where he works with families under investigation for child abuse or negligence.

To preview the documentary broadcast, Bill Goodman will speak with Dr. Kaak on Sunday’s edition of One to One. In the conversation, Dr. Kaak explains that a caring and positive home environment is key to creating strong neural pathways in a child’s brain.

One to One with Dr. Otto Kaak airs Sunday at 1 p.m. on KET. The documentary, Safe and Sound: Raising Emotionally Healthy Children in a Stressful World, airs Monday at 9 p.m.

Comer on Next-Generation Republicans

Friday, April 11th, 2014

In a wide-ranging conversation on One to One this weekend, Agriculture Commissioner James Comer says he thinks Kentuckians are ready to elect more “next-generation” Republicans to public office. Comer described them as GOP politicians who emphasize economic issues over social issues, like same-sex marriage. He places Kentucky 4th District Congressman Thomas Massie and U.S. Senator Rand Paul among this new generation of Republicans.

The Monroe County native and Western Kentucky University graduate was elected to the state House of Representatives in 2000. Comer served there until becoming ag commissioner in 2012. He says if he decides to run for governor next year, he will focus on education and fostering a highly trained workforce in Kentucky.

In the Republican primary for governor, Comer would face Louisville businessman Hal Heiner, the only candidate to declare so far.

In our One to One discussion, Comer touts the popularity of the “Kentucky Proud” program and says he thinks eastern Kentucky could benefit from its own “Appalachia Proud” version. He also describes a successful project the department started last fall to provide Kentucky dairy farmers with greater opportunities to process and sell their milk within the state.

One to One with Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner James Comer airs Sunday at 1 p.m. on KET.

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