Posts Tagged ‘Bill Goodman’

Rep. Thomas Massie the Freshmore: “Call Me Mr. K‘NO’W”

Tuesday, May 21st, 2013

Note from Bill Goodman: We continue our special series with Kentucky’s federal delegation from Washington, D.C., which began airing last week. My colleague Renee Shaw provides the highlights of tonight’s One to One  interview with Rep. Thomas Massie which airs on KET tonight at 6:30 ET.

Kentucky’s 4th District Rep. Thomas Massie began his service in Washington under a rare political scenario back in 2012. He won a special and general election on the same day to fill the vacancy left by retiring Congressman Geoff Davis. He was sworn into office immediately after the November election –a trajectory that explains the “freshmore” nomenclature.

In a crowded field of seven Republicans with the Tea Party winds and Greenbacks firmly at his back, Massie bested the two more politically well-heeled candidates: State Rep. Alecia Webb-Edgington and Boone County Judge/Executive Gary Moore for the win last year. If the victory was a surprise to some political observers and pundits, imagine the shrills of disbelief when he refused to back John Boehner as Speaker of the House and subsequently voted ‘no’ on a Hurricane Sandy relief measure. Massie’s maverick moves of going rogue in the Republican Party have earned him the nickname “Mr. No.”

A relative newcomer to politics, Massie earned his first electoral victory in 2010 as Lewis County Judge/Executive. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) engineering graduate with two dozen patents under his belt, tells Bill Goodman tonight at 6:30 ET how he relies on his engineering background to analyze legislation. Rep. Massie says he doesn’t operate on intuition, but facts. He adds that his policy making motivations are not to broker deals, but mine solutions. He also complains of the lack of time lawmakers actually are afforded to read bills before acting and how the moniker of “Mr. No” needs some correcting.

Visitors to his Washington office get a blunt reminder of Rep. Massie’s top priority: debt reduction. A large flat screen monitor, showing nothing more than upward-ticking national debt numbers approaching $17 trillion, greets you as you enter his office in the Cannon House building. Assuming a minimalist spartan approach to office decorating that matches his preference for less government spending, the only Kentucky memento to be found is a hemp pillow with “My Old Kentucky Home” embroidered in black stitch. On a coffee table flanking his desk is a prominently displayed press release on hemp paper announcing his introduction of an industrial hemp bill on February 6th of this year. Most members of the Kentucky delegation are backing measures in Congress to legalize hemp or push for a federal waiver to allow Kentucky to grow it.

Bill Goodman talks with Rep. Massie about industrial hemp, immigration, why he thinks the sequester is a clumsy way of dealing with government spending, and why he’s frustrated by what he says are federal lawmakers’ “propensity to abandon ideology to pursue some fixed partisan goal.”

Watch the entire interview tonight at 6:30 ET on KET. Tomorrow night, the special One to One series with Kentucky’s federal delegation continues with Rep. Hal Rogers.

Rep. John Yarmuth: KY’s Lone Democratic Ranger in Washington

Monday, May 20th, 2013

Note from Bill Goodman: KET just returned from a trip to Washington, D.C., for a series of One to One interviews that began airing last week. My colleague Renee Shaw provides the highlights of tonight’s One to One interview with Rep. John Yarmuth which airs on KET tonight at 6:30 ET.

As a one-time legislative aide on Capitol Hill, newspaper publisher, television commentator and host, it would be safe to assume Louisvillian John Yarmuth had a pretty good warm-up before claiming a seat amongst the other 434 United States representatives back in 2006. Yarmuth’s victory back then against five-term GOP Congresswoman Anne Northup was due, in part, to a national wave of growing discontent over George W. Bush’s Iraq War.

Now, in his fourth term and the only democrat in the Kentucky congressional delegation, Yarmuth is sharply critical of the political molasses that mires even the most seemingly benign and simple measures.

Rep. Yarmuth, who defected from the Republican Party in 1985, scoffs at the unyielding gridlock in Washington and declares the system “irresponsive to problems, voter opinions or challenges.” “(Washington)…is not functioning with any degree of efficiency, and it’s giving the public a bad impression of our democracy and leaving them frustrated and unfulfilled,” he laments.

So, the logical follow-up by host Bill Goodman is ‘how to loosen gridlock’s grip?’  Yarmuth claims district apportionment has a lot to do with it in this clip from Bill’s interview.

On the sluggish pace of lawmaking, Yarmurth asserts that “… at its optimum, our system is designed to move at about 20 miles per hour, and the world’s moving at 100 miles per hour. We’ve got to figure out how to narrow that gap.”

In assessing President Obama’s second term agenda, Rep. Yarmuth says in one sense he’s very impressed with Obama’s outspokenness on a number of issues including gun legislation, immigration reform, early childhood education, and standing up for an increase in the minimum wage. But, Yarmuth reserves praise of Obama pending actions that result from the rhetoric.

As a member of the Gang of Eight working on the House version of an immigration bill in Congress, Yarmuth talks about the near-secret group that’s worked out of the press limelight to forge consensus and work toward a shared goal. He believes both parties are highly motivated to broker a deal, even though he anticipates some rough patches on the way to reaching a resolution.

Bill Goodman talks with Rep. Yarmuth about the practice of mountain top removal, sequestration and a Democratic challenger to U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell in 2014 tonight at 6:30 ET on KET. Tomorrow night, the special One to One series with Kentucky’s federal delegation continues with 4th District Rep. Thomas Massie.

Our Capitol Excursion

Tuesday, May 7th, 2013

Note from Bill Goodman: Renee Shaw is with me in Washington, D.C., this week and she’ll be posting her observations about our Beltway expedition to interview the eight men representing Kentucky in Washington.

All this week, KET is inside the Beltway talking with members of Kentucky’s congressional delegation. We launched our D.C. excursion with a live broadcast of Kentucky Tonight last night from the Cannon House rotunda balcony. All of the members of Congress representing Kentucky were asked to join Bill Goodman on the balcony overlooking Constitution Avenue, and we were delighted that Kentucky’s junior U.S. Senator Rand Paul and third-term Congressman John Yarmuth could join Bill on the program.

There were times when Yarmuth, the Louisville Democrat, and Paul, the Bowling Green Republican, were on the same political page. But some glaring contrasts on prominent, headline-making issues facing the 113th Congress remain, one of which is immigration.

Senator Paul says the United States is still not adequately addressing student visas and screening background checks from those with refugee status. He says Congress should not rush to pass immigration reform and instead engage in a robust, debate without self-imposed deadlines on action.

On the pathway to citizenship proposals, Yarmuth and Rand Paul gave their perspectives. Yarmuth says the government is deporting unprecedented numbers of the undocumented now and argues that deporting the estimated 11 million with questionable legal status is not prudent. Sen. Rand Paul says border security is a lingering concern for conservatives like himself and he’s poised to present a plan called “Trust but verify.”

The other lightning rod issue Congress is perhaps bracing for another round of debate about is gun legislation related to background checks. The shooting tragedy at Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown, Conn., nearly six months ago reignited gun control measures, particularly relative to background checks.

Sen. Paul says he’s concerned that some proposals like the Manchin-Toomey plan that recently failed in the Senate, shift criminal blame onto law-abiding gun owners. He instead favors examining the background checks already in place.

Rand Paul doubts public polling on firearms background checks, which he contends is sullied with high emotions about recent events. He thinks that as time passes, the emotions will subside when policy proposals are parsed out for possible unintended consequences affecting the rights and civil liberties of upright citizens.

Bill’s engaging discussion on Kentucky Tonight Monday night covered ideology on poverty and minimum wage, Medicare, Syria, and the guests’ collaboration on a golf tournament to benefit veterans.

You can watch the entire program online.


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