Afternoon Chatter: Beshear testifies in D.C., endorsements and more fundraising

04/14/2011 02:47 PM

This morning, Gov. Steve Beshear testified in front of a U.S. House of Representatives committee with fellow Gov. Rick Scott about prescription pill abuse, asking the federal government to committee more resources to fighting prescription pill trafficking.

Beshear, a Democrat, has asked Scott to continue to fund a pill tracking system in his state that would be similar to the KASPER system used in Kentucky. Beshear told reporters in a conference call this afternoon that Scott committed to moving forward with the pill tracking system in Florida to help fight to flood of illegal prescription pill abuse.

“This morning I testified at a Congressional hearing on the epidemic of prescription drug abuse that has hit Kentucky hard, despite our successful prescription drug monitoring program. A large part of our current problem is the illegal prescription drug pipeline from Florida, which does not have such a monitoring system … “ Beshear said.

“Although Gov. Scott was initially against such a system because of privacy concerns, I am excited to announce that this morning Gov. Scott advised me privately and at the hearing that he was moving ahead with the implementation of a prescription drug monitoring system. This is great news for Kentucky and could save thousands of lives.”

Beshear’s No. 2, Lt. Gov. Daniel Mongiardo, released a statement saying he too was glad that Scott had reversed course. Mongiardo has been a vocal advocate about stopping the flow of illegal prescription drugs in Kentucky.

“For too long the illegal prescription drug pipeline from Florida to Kentucky has been taking its toll on our people,” Mongiardo said in a statement. “Governor Scott’s decision to allow Florida to implement a prescription drug monitoring system is a key component in getting a handle on this problem and hopefully shutting down those clinics that are nothing more than pill dispensaries of death.”

And Thursday afternoon, Attorney General Jack Conway released a statement saying he believes Scott’s decision to implement pill tracking would greatly reduce the amount of pill available in Kentucky.

“(Scott’s) actions will likely help shut down the prescription pill pipeline that runs from Florida to Kentucky,” Conway said. “In fact, our law enforcement officers estimate 60 percent of illegal pain pills on the streets of Kentucky right now are from Florida. I have no doubt the implementation of electronic monitoring in Florida will help save lives in Kentucky.”

Bunning endorses Wuchner

Former U.S. Senator Jim Bunning and his wife, Mary, have endorsed state Rep. Addia Wuchner, Republican from Florence, in the GOP primary for state Auditor, according to the Wuchner campaign.

Bunning, a two-term U.S. Senator, is from Northern Kentucky, where Wuchner also resides.

In a statement released by Wuchner’s campaign, Bunning said Wuchner will bring “un-compromised integrity” to the auditor’s office.

“Addia Wuchner will bring real-world business experience, uncompromised integrity and a dedicated commitment to public service to the job of State Auditor. This is a position that is critical to ensuring that state government offices, programs and grants are administered effectively and efficiently and overseen independently and fairly. I have the utmost confidence in Addia,” Bunning said.

Wuchner faces Lexington developer John Kemper in the May 17 primary.

Johnson picks up ‘independent’ endorsement

Republican secretary of state candidate Bill Johnson picked up support from Michael Lewis, the chairman of Independent Kentucky, according to the Johnson campaign. The endorsement is a personal one, not one by Lewis’ organization.

Lewis posted his endorsement on his personal Facebook page.

The Johnson campaign noted a previous interview on Pure Politics where Johnson said he was “sympathetic to independent (voters) across the state.” A bill allowing open primaries passed the state Senate twice, but has stalled in the state House.

James Young, political director for the Johnson campaign, said the time of ignoring independent voters is over.

“Kentucky has nearly 200,000 independent voters,” Young said in an emailed statement. “We cannot continue to deny this growing population of taxpayers their right to participate and engage.”

Democrats continue online fund-raising pushes

With the latest fundraising reports due tomorrow, several candidates, many being Democrats, are continuing last minute pushes for campaign cash.

According to an e-mail to supporters yesterday, Democratic secretary of state candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes had locked up donations from 34 donors in the last 24 hours on her way to reaching a goal of 50 by the April 15 fundraising reporting deadline. UPDATE: In a follow-up e-mail, Grimes said her campaign reached 57 donors by 4 p.m. today and moved her goal to 75 donors by Friday night.

Attorney General Jack Conway, running for re-election but unopposed in the primary, is halfway to his $10,000 fund-raising goal. According to an email to supporters, Conway raised more than $5,000 as of Thursday morning a few days after setting the goal.

Democratic auditor candidate Adam Edelen is shooting for 50 donors online by midnight on Friday, mirroring the same goal as Grimes. Edelen released his goal through an email to supporters today.

And agricultural commissioner candidate B.D. Wilson, a Democrat, said he had raised $1,175 of a $2,500 goal yesterday.

- Kenny Colston


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