While stumping for Grimes, U.S. Senate Ag Chair says she forgot about McConnell

02/17/2014 05:38 PM

EMINENCE — At the same time U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell toured Eastern Kentucky lauding his work on the passage of the Farm Bill, the Democratic chairwoman of the Senate Agriculture Committee told a crowd in Henry County that she forgot McConnell was even on the committee.

“Now, the reason that I had forgotten that is because he has never attended a meeting in the three years I have chaired the committee,” U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Michigan.

Stabenow stumped for Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes in Kentucky farm country Monday afternoon and later at a town-hall style meeting in Bellevue.

It’s not uncommon for leaders to miss committee meetings, but Stabenow said that former Democratic leader Tom Daschle attended meetings when they were important, such as negotiations on the Farm Bill.

Stabenow said that she was never approached by McConnell to add a provision allowing hemp pilot projects in the state as part of the final bill.

“There are only two people from Kentucky who have ever talked to me about Kentucky agriculture. One is your governor and the other is Alison Grimes,” Stabenow said.

Stabenow is the first female elected into the U.S. Senate in Michigan, and she defeated a Republican incumbent, Spencer Abraham, to win the position.

Grimes said in her speech that she let Stabenow — not U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, know that her number one committee assignment would be to the Agriculture Committee. Grimes has come under fire by Republicans throughout the campaign who have said she will be a rubber stamp for Reid and President Barack Obama.

“We need her. I need her. I need another person who has some common sense which is not so common these days,” Stabenow said in her speech.

While McConnell took credit for protecting the hemp portion of the Farm Bill, Grimes criticized McConnell for not spurring action sooner.

“(McConnell) stalled and then stalled some more. And it wasn’t until we urged and communication and worked with Senator Stabenow that we saw the Farm Bill actually come to fruition this year,” Grimes said. “Proud to have led on the issue that’s what Kentuckians need and deserve.”

Stabenow and Grimes had three public stops on their itinerary including the stop in Eminence where the two spoke to 75 people as part of a Henry County agriculture lunch.

So far, Grimes hasn’t spent any money on campaign ads airing on television. McConnell began airing his first ad — a positive spot — last month. But Grimes pointed to polls, such as the recent Bluegrass Poll conducted for four Kentucky media organization — that she’s in the lead.

“This race is being watched by the nation,” Grimes said. “Many might think that this is a hill that’s too steep to climb, but it’s one that I know that together we can climb.”


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