Lally, Yarmuth have first exchange over Louisville job losses

06/21/2010 06:13 PM

(WITH VIDEO) LOUISVILLE — With Louisville unemployment still high and relief trickling in slowly, Republican 3rd District candidate Todd Lally made his first public argument of the general election against Democratic U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth by asking Monday: “Where are the jobs, John?”

Yarmuth at least partially addressed Lally’s rhetorical question hours later with an announcement Monday afternoon regarding the creation of 10,000 temporary jobs in Kentucky paid for by federal stimulus dollars, which Yarmuth voted for in 2009.

Thus began the first public exchange of the general election for the two congressional candidates from Louisville.

Lally chose the shut-down Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom as the backdrop for his news conference, which also happened to be right across the street at the Crowne Plaza hotel where Yarmuth was sponsoring a job-training conference. More than 430 people attended to try to increase their chances of landing a new job through resume and interviewing seminars.

But Lally blamed Yarmuth for not doing enough for the Louisville economy and argued that he had voted for legislation that cost jobs.

“There is no shortage of people looking for work in this area,” Lally said to a crowd of supporters. “The simple truth is there is not enough jobs to go around.”

Lally supporters held signs that favored a return to George W. Bush and Ronald Reagan tax cuts as well as pointing out notable Louisville businesses that have shut down or laid workers off.

Watch video of Monday’s action between Lally and Yarmuth:

Specifically, Lally said the health care bill Congress passed in March cost the area jobs because Louisville-based Humana announced the month before that it would shed 750 jobs in its Louisville operation. (Yarmuth was the only member of Kentucky’s congressional delegation to support the legislation.)

But news accounts of Humana’s decision showed that while the health care company announced a cut 2,500 jobs nationwide because of the economy, it planned to add 1,100 in “growth areas.”

Two hours after Lally’s rally, Yarmuth stood with Gov. Steve Beshear and Louisville Mayor Jerry Abramson at Buechel Metropolitan High School in Louisville to announce the 10,000 new summer jobs subsidized by federal stimulus money. At least 1,000 of those jobs will go to young people and the disadvantaged, those who are hit the hardest, Yarmuth said.

Beshear gave credit to Yarmuth for getting the money for the jobs, $46 million in all, to the area.

Despite the multiple events Yarmuth attended that were focused on job creation, Lally tried his best to paint his opponent as out of touch with Louisvilles needs.

“Just because you dont need your paycheck doesnt mean we don’t need ours,” Lally said, referring to Yarmuth’s decision to donate his congressional salary to charity.

Yarmuth struck back before the joint event at Buechel, citing stimulus funds for sending 400 jobs back to the General Electric Appliance Park in Louisville.

“Mr. Lally can say whatever he wants,” Yarmuth said. “And I’ll be happy to point out the jobs.”

- Reporting by Kenny Colston with video produced by Holly Thompson


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