Posts Tagged ‘democrat’

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.

Some Quick Thoughts on the Candidate Forums

Tuesday, October 30th, 2012

“I hate all politics. I don’t like either political party. One should not belong to them—one should be an individual, standing in the middle. Anyone that belongs to a party stops thinking.”

Those are the words of renowned science fiction writer Ray Bradbury, who died this past June,  just as the summer campaign season got underway. I’m sure he believed every word. He would probably rejoice in knowing that our KET candidate programs are over and that the election — unless Hurricane Sandy’s damages cause interruptions to the schedule — is next week.

Throughout the summer, our “Kentucky Tonight” program endeavored to bring you serious discussion on key issues: Medicare, jobs and the economy, and foreign policy among many others.

This fall, candidates in all 6 congressional districts gathered to debate the issues. I thought we had solid, thoughtful, and reasoned conversations. We brought you some new candidates, 3 of the 5 incumbents who are seeking reelection, a couple of independent candidates, and a Democrat and a Republican running for an open seat in the 4th district.

Bill Goodman with 6th congressional district candidates Andy Barr, Ben Chandler, and Randolph Vance on “Kentucky Tonight” set

Monday night, candidates in the 6th Congressional District—incumbent Democrat Ben Chandler, Republican challenger Andy Barr, and Independent candidate Randolph Vance—met for the first, last, and only appearance on “Kentucky Tonight.” It was a robust discussion, to say the least.

I want to thank viewers and listeners in the 6th district who took the time to Tweet, e-mail, and call us with your questions, comments, and opinions; for those of you who wondered or asked about how fair I was with the timing of the forum, it breaks down like this:

  • Chandler-23 minutes, 21 seconds
  • Barr-19 minutes, 21 seconds
  • Vance-5 minutes, 15 seconds

My apologies to Mr. Vance…he had a lot of interesting things to say.

As far as criticism of the moderator, it was mixed. Some thought I was partial to Barr or was partial to Chandler, some of you had compliments, some of you probably wished I had stayed home.

One person e-mailed, “It’s very apparent whose side Mr. Goodman is on. He is interrupting guests and even interrupts himself. Where’s his manners?”

My only goal was to be fair to all and have a vigorous discussion of the issues.

Watch the 6th Congressional District candidates on “Kentucky Tonight”

“Kentucky Tonight” airs on Mondays at 8 pm ET

A Small Part of a Big Piece of History

Wednesday, October 17th, 2012

Editor’s note: Bill Goodman asked Anne Evans, KET’s Public Affairs intern and recent Centre graduate, to share her thoughts about the VP debate.

This past Thursday, I was given the chance to attend the Vice Presidential Debate at Centre College in Danville.

As a Centre alumna, I jumped at the chance to serve as a volunteer during the days leading up to and the day of the debate. On Thursday, my job was to check the credentials of those entering the debate’s venue,  Norton Center for the Arts.

Around 8:30 p.m., I realized that there could be no harm in asking the director of the Norton Center if another volunteer (Kelsey) and I could sit on the steps inside Norton’s Newlin Hall during the debate. He told me that the Commission on Presidential Debates would have to make that decision. Kelsey and I happened to be in the right place at the right time when we bumped into two headset-wearing men who worked for the debate commission.

Anne Evans inside Newlin Hall about an hour before the debate began

As we quietly and quickly walked into Newlin Hall and took our seats, I was jittery with excitement.
The atmosphere inside the debate hall was energized but quiet. The already-seated crowd of 600 included the families of Vice President Joe Biden  and Rep. Paul Ryan, other prominent people  from across Kentucky, the United States and the world, and 100 Centre students.

One of the most striking things about actually being in the hall during the debate was that while the debate between the candidates was intense, I didn’t think that the discussion felt as jarring as it perhaps would have had I been watching it on television…  Why not?

Not only did we not have an up-close and personal view of each of the men’s emotional and facial expressions, no one in the audience was allowed to voice an opinion/say anything during the debate.

In sharp contrast to what you may experience while reclined on the couch at home, where you’re free to respond to the candidates aloud and argue with friends or family about something that was said, we were to remain silent. We got to listen to every single word that each person said, without interruptions. We were not distracted by Twitter, Facebook, or any electronic device. We had to be attentive and present in the moment and nothing else. I loved it.

It was a wonderful experience that will remain in my memory forever, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to see the debate in person. A genuine thanks goes out to the Commission on Presidential Debates for allowing me to become a very small part of this big piece of history.

The morning after the debate, my friend Jane and I went to The Hub, a little coffee house on Danville’s Main Street. We were both wearing Centre College clothing and a man asked us if we were Centre students. The man was Joseph Lord, a Courier-Journal reporter. He asked me to record a short video clip about my experience inside the debate hall. Watch the video below.


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