Andy Barr to tour economically lagging 6th Dist. counties, starting with a courthouse opening

02/21/2012 11:34 AM

Republican candidate for Congress Andy Barr plans to highlight slow economic recovery in part of the 6th District on a tour this spring of the counties with higher-than-average unemployment rates, including the seven new counties to the district.

Among his first stops will be Tuesday’s opening of the new Fleming County judicial center in Flemingsburg — a $13. 5 million project funded by the state government bonds.

Barr has criticized government spending and debt, specifically the federal stimulus money through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act that Congress passed in 2009.

He is running for the GOP nomination to again face Democratic U.S. Rep. Ben Chandler, D-Versailles, who defeated Barr by 648 votes in 2010. Chandler voted for the stimulus bill and has defended it for helping to prevent the recession from going deeper.

In a telephone interview, Barr said the Fleming County courthouse opening is “a big deal” for Flemingsburg, and he will be attending major civic events as well as meeting with small business owners across the 6th District counties.

“Clearly what they need here is more private industry,” Barr said in a telephone interview. “I’ll be going to these counties for all their community events whether it’s the opening of a courthouse or factories. But we’re not seeing a lot of those things. That’s really the point of the job tour.”

Barr wouldn’t say whether he thought the economy would be worse in the nation, Kentucky or even these counties had it not been for some of the stimulus funds or borrowed state money to invest in construction projects.

Instead, he said Washington continues to jeopardize future infrastructure projects.

“We’re not going to be able to make these investments in roads or courthouses or bridges … if we continue to have this kind of debt crisis,” Barr said.

Barr said he’s still working on the schedule of campaign stops that will take him through the seven new counties to the 6th District — Bath, Menifee, Nicholas, Robertson, Wolfe and Fleming counties and part of Harrison County — as well as Clark, Montgomery, Powell and Estill counties. Those last four remain in the 6th District after the once-a-decade reapportionment process to make sure the populations of the districts are even.

All 11 of the counties have unemployment rates that are higher than the 8.3 percent national average. Harrison (8.4%), Robertson (8.8%), Clark (9.1%), Nicholas (9.4%), Fleming (9.6%), Estill (9.9%), Montgomery (10.3%), Powell and Bath (11.7%), Wolfe (12.6%) and Menifee, which has the district’s highest rate at 13.7%. (Figures according to the Kentucky Department of Workforce Training)


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