Barren County sheriff says drug problem is "not anyone's fault," says Rand Paul campaign is wrong for blaming Jack Conway

08/31/2010 03:30 PM

In response to his opponent blaming a rise in meth labs across Kentucky on his abilities as attorney general, Democratic U.S. Senate nominee Jack Conway fought back against that allegation with the help of Barren County Sheriff Chris Eaton.

Yesterday, Conway released his first ad of the general election touting his law enforcement record as attorney general, which prompted the spokesman for Republican Rand Paul, as well as Republican Party of Kentucky chairman Steve Robertson, to blame Conway for a “60 percent rise in meth labs” during Conway’s time as attorney general.

But Eaton, a Democratic sheriff, said that no one is to blame for the rise.

“The drug problem isn’t Jack Conway’s fault, it isn’t Chris Eaton’s fault, it’s not anyone’s fault,” Eaton said on a conference call with reporters.

Eaton instead attributed the rise to repeat offenders, people Eaton said were locked up in 2003 or since then have served their time and started committing crimes again.

The conference call with Eaton is just one of many efforts Conway has made to press Paul on comments to the Associated Press earlier this month, when Paul said the drug problem in Eastern Kentucky was “not a pressing issue.”

Since then, Conway has held multiple round table discussions with sheriffs and law enforcement officers in Eastern and Central Kentucky.  He has taken the opportunity to bring up his crime-fighting record as attorney general to contradict Paul’s drug comments. Tomorrow, Conway will hold events in Louisville and Northern Kentucky to discuss the same issue.

Eaton said that federal funding for his area’s drug task force has helped hire at least one deputy to work solely on drug crimes. Eaton thanked U.S. Reps. Hal Rogers and Ed Whitfield, both Republicans, for the work they’ve done to bring federal funding to local drug programs.

But without federal funding to stop first-time and repeat offenders, sheriff’s offices across the Commonwealth would be “lost.”

“It would be total chaos, we’d be giving drug dealers the green light to go,” Eaton said in regards to having to fund drug enforcement programs at the local level. “It would kill us.”

Asked what it would take to ever solve the growing issue of drug abuse in Kentucky, Eaton said bipartisan support was the first step, noting it won’t happen “until we drop our egos and our partisan solutions and sit down at the table together.”


Subscribe to email updates.

Subscribe and get the latest political intelligence delivered to your inbox.