Secretary of State Trey Grayson made two stops in Whitley County Friday as part of his 38-stop “Kentucky First” tour that had a heavy focus on southeastern Kentucky – a part of the state he is relying on for support in Tuesdays Republican primary for U.S. Senate.
During short stump speeches in both Williamsburg, and then Corbin, Grayson pointed out stark differences between he and his chief rival in the election, Bowling Green eye surgeon Rand Paul. Perhaps the biggest divide, one that hits home with many eastern Kentuckians, is over the issue of coal use as an energy source.
“Coal is a big deal for me … My opponent says coal is dirty. We just disagree,” Grayson told the crowd of about 75 in front of Corbin City Hall.
Grayson said, if elected, he wants to serve on the Energy Committee so that he can ask the Environmental Protection Agency “tough questions” about policies he says are detrimental to the coal industry and would stifle attempts at job growth in the state.
In his introduction, Corbin City Manager Bill Ed Cannon said he supports Grayson precisely because of his position on coal.
“Coal, to Kentucky and eastern Kentucky, is its livelihood,” Cannon said.
Grayson touched on other issues as well. He said his main task, if elected, would be to put the brakes on “out of control spending” and “job-killing policies” in Washington, D.C. put in place in the last two years.
“I think like a lot of you we are concerned about the Obama administration and the folks in control in Washington right now who are pulling this country to the left, in the wrong direction … I want to go to Washington to stop that.”
Grayson said he is the only true fiscal conservative in the race, pointing to the fact that he’s cut spending 15 percent during his seven year stint as Secretary of State.
He also said he has implemented “common sense” conservative reforms like improving the voter registration system, cutting red tape for businesses and put all the expenditures for his office online for taxpayers to see.”
“We didn’t need a law to tell us to do the right thing. We just went ahead and did it.”
Fighting an uphill battle in the polls, some of which show him anywhere from 13 to 16 percentage points behind Paul with voters, Grayson said he’s counting heavily on the Fifth Congressional District to carry him through to Election Day.