Yarmuth says he'll bring hemp issue to Obama if legislature acts; Says McConnell is 'vulnerable'

01/24/2013 06:24 PM

U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth, D-Louisville, said he agrees with Republican U.S. Sen. Rand Paul about pushing for a federal waiver to allow industrial hemp to be grown in Kentucky if the Kentucky General Assembly passes hemp legislation.

“I am a strong supporter of Senator Paul’s efforts, and Thomas Massie’s efforts and Commissioner Comer here in Kentucky. We have talked about that and we are all working together to see how we can get that accomplished because it would be great for Kentucky,” Yarmuth said.

Yarmuth, the only Democrat in Kentucky’s delegation, said once state lawmakers pass a proposal setting up the framework for regulating hemp, he would be happy to go to President Barack Obama’s administration to seek a waiver.

On health care

Kentucky has received more than $180 million to help set up the health benefits exchange as part of the Affordable Care Act. And Yarmuth said Kentucky is farther ahead in the process than most states and commended the work of Gov. Steve Beshear’s administration.

“We may have to go back and ask the insurance companies to help fund part of the process but I think anyone who thinks they know what is going to happen in the health care field more than 3 or 4 years down the road is setting themselves up to be embarrassed” (at 1:50).

On Sen. McConnell

A vocal opponent of Kentucky U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell, Yarmuth said he is very confident the Democrats will find a strong opponent to the ‘vulnerable’ McConnell in his 2014 re-election bid.

In response to a tweet from a McConnell twitter account welcoming a challenge from Yarmuth in a Senate race, Yarmuth says he has no interest in running for U.S. Senate.

“My response to that is if he had been so intent upon beating President Obama and making sure he wasn’t a second term president then he should have put up his money and his efforts as well” (at 6:35).

And he said Democrats are very aware that failure to make a strong challenge to McConnell would allow the Senator to spend a big chunk of his multi-million dollar war chest against Democrats elsewhere — like the state House.

Jacqueline Pitts

Jacqueline Pitts joined the cn|2 political team in June 2012. A graduate of WKU, Jacqueline grew up in Nashville, TN and is looking forward to having a front row seat to Kentucky politics. Follow Jacqueline on Twitter @Jacqueline_cn2. She can be reached at 502-792-1114 or jacqueline.pitts@twcnews.com.

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