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.


  • Felix wrote on January 24, 2013 09:05 PM :

    Comer/Yarmuth in 2015! Let’s form a cooperative nonpolitical ticket with bold ideas who aren’t beholden to a political party. They should run as the Independent Party. Comer/Yarmuth would destroy the establishment tickets of Guthrie/Stivers and Conway/Luellen!

  • David Adams wrote on January 25, 2013 08:38 AM :

    Kentucky has already clearly spelled out plans to force insurance companies to pay for ObamaCare implementation and they are just hoping most people continue to not realize the added costs will be passed on to consumers. The big winners in this mess are the politicians pushing it. I have no concerns about predicting that in three or four years these same politicians will be taking more power to themselves to “fix” the mess they are creating now.

  • viewer wrote on January 25, 2013 10:33 AM :

    To anyone that is reading this with friends in Frankfort. Tell your rep or senator that if they will file a bill to repeal HB 299 of 2005 I will sing their praises. I am a member of the none of the above party. We have one member now , and a promise of another next week. But we are showing growth. I fell like Im watching a movie in Frankfort , where the words dont match the action on the screen. I will say that they took BOLD ACTION to stop legal fraud being done to the state pension fund. Thanks for anyone that can help with this.

  • viewer wrote on January 25, 2013 11:18 AM :

    I would just like to know from my democratic friends, what they think about Obama’s choice for the head of the SEC, Mary Jo White? Mary Jo was a U.S. attorney who left that position in order to defend all the Wall Street corruption taking place over the last 15 years. Now, she will be over prosecuting the people she previously represented. How do you think this will work out? The revolving door of Washington and power is amazing. Let’s hear the reasoning behind this Rep. Yarmuth?

  • sam pierce wrote on January 25, 2013 11:59 AM :

    The Yarmuth article plus the one about Stumbo being the key to industrial hemp’s success are both on target. Though Yarmuth is a Democrat and Comer, Paul, and Massie are Republicans, Yarmuth shows that he looks at issues rather than political party. On the other hand Dictator Stumbo is the most partisan bully in Kentucky politics now that David Williams is out of the legislature. Stumbo usually supports or opposes bills not on their merits, but whether it is perceived as a Republican bill or a Democrat bill. Stumbo is consumed with hatred for Republicans. I hope enough good Democrats will persuade Stumbo that the industrial hemp bill is a good deal for all Kentuckians, and is not just a Republican bill.

  • Paul Hosse wrote on January 25, 2013 08:10 PM :

    Certainly industrial hemp needs to be grown in states like Kentucky as a substitute for tobacco. Of course, if tobacco production decreases, so would consumption and there goes a lot of tax revenues.

    McConnell is not quite a “vulnerable” as Yarmuth suggests, however, he is beatable but it sure won’t be any Ashley Judd who does it. Speaking of “vulnerable”, Yarmuth could get beaten without to much trouble too. The trouble is that the GOP’s bench isn’t very deep.

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