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Our Strength

OUR PEOPLE

Kentucky Jobs Action Plan
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Photos courtesy of Northern Kentucky Convention and Visitors Bureau.

OUR STRENGTH IS OUR PEOPLE:

KENTUCKY JOBS ACTION PLAN

As Kentucky’s next United States Senator, my number one priority will be putting Kentuckians back to work. Kentucky lost more than 118,000 jobs1 at the worst part of the recession, including 35,000 manufacturing jobs and 18,000 construction jobs.2 This has dovetailed with a decline in coal-mining employment to the lowest level since mining jobs began to be tallied in 1927.3 A grim situation has been further aggravated by a sharp rise in baby boomer retirements and, of course, the reckless government shutdown. For nearly three decades, Senator Mitch McConnell has been in Washington, yet we must ask ourselves whether Kentucky is more economically viable as a result. The answer, resoundingly given as I travel across Kentucky, is “no.” The 2014 U.S. Senate race affords Kentucky an opportunity to self-correct – to take action to place someone in our nation’s capital who actually puts the people of Kentucky – not partisan politics – first. Mitch McConnell’s Washington has failed Kentucky families. Unemployment remains high, and far too many Kentuckians are looking for work. According to the most recent estimates, our state is running a jobs deficit of 87,500,4 causing tens of thousands of our families to struggle to make ends meet. The number of children in Kentucky with a parent who had been unemployed for six months or more increased by over 90 percent in 2012,5 and more than one in four Kentucky children lives in poverty.6 What I recognize, and what Mitch McConnell lost sight of long ago, is that this tragedy – and it is a tragedy – is not a set of numbers. Nor is it about the world in which Mitch McConnell travels – one that is about budgets and hearings, Senate procedure, endless fundraising among big corporate donors, and fruitless boasts about being the “guardian of gridlock.”7 Unemployment and under-employment are the heartbreaking stories of real people, tens of thousands of our fellow Kentuckians, good people, hard-working people, unable to support themselves and their families because of devastating circumstances beyond their control. The intolerable jobs picture in Kentucky is one that Mitch McConnell complacently accepts, and one that I wholly reject and will fight every day to improve. Kentuckians deserve a leader who recognizes that the strength of the Commonwealth is our people. I pledge to be that leader.

Mitch McConnell has turned his back on Kentucky’s middle class and working families. He has repeatedly stood in the way of commonsense proposals to help Kentucky families, including raising the minimum wage, reducing the wage gap between men and women, expanding employment opportunities for our veterans, and encouraging manufacturing to return to our state. Meanwhile, he supports tax breaks for millionaires and companies that ship jobs overseas. And he voted against reversing the senseless sequestration cuts,8 threatening more than 3,600 jobs at Fort Knox and Fort Campbell military bases.9 It’s time for him to get out of the way. Kentuckians are all too familiar with the high costs of political gamesmanship and obstruction under Mitch McConnell. The utterly avoidable and unnecessary 16-day government shutdown cut $127 million from Kentucky’s economy,10 including nearly $63 million in Louisville and $23 million in Lexington.11 Since the beginning of 2011, Mitch McConnell’s brinksmanship has contributed to economic uncertainty that has cut growth by 12 percent and cost the country 900,000 jobs.12 Kentucky families deserve better: good jobs and a good quality of life. Unlike Mitch McConnell’s failed agenda, my plan for Kentucky will help increase family incomes and encourage businesses to grow and create new jobs. It will prepare and train Kentuckians for the rapidly changing economy of the future, and it will increase Kentucky’s global competitiveness. While there is not one silver bullet that will address all of Kentucky’s economic needs, there is a set of specific strategies we can utilize to help get Kentuckians back to work. Delivering these commonsense solutions will require a new brand of leadership that cares less about Washington’s silly games and more about giving hard-working Kentuckians a fair opportunity to put food on their tables. In order for Kentucky to reach its full economic potential, we must take ACTION today. We can and must do better. Together, let’s get started.

My proposal specifically focuses on six goals:
A Advocate for Kentucky Families and Veterans C Cultivate Kentucky Competitiveness T Train Kentucky Workers I Invigorate Appalachian and Rural Kentucky O Offer Better Kentucky Wages N Negotiate a Fair Deal for Kentucky Business

OUR STRENGTH IS OUR PEOPLE

Advocate for Kentucky Families and Veterans
Make child care affordable
Affordable child care is out of reach for many Kentucky families. More than 140,000 working Kentucky mothers have a child under age 613 and are potentially in need of child-care services. With the average cost of full-time care for an infant at more than $6,100 a year, far too many working Kentucky families are struggling to pay for child care.14 Meanwhile, Mitch McConnell has actually voted repeatedly to slash funding for child-care services in Kentucky. Under a proposal supported by Mitch McConnell, approximately 1,700 fewer Kentucky children would have child care through the Child Care and Development Block Grant. 15 We must do more to make quality child care – provided by well-trained and carefully screened adults – affordable for Kentucky families. We should start by providing additional tax breaks to Kentucky businesses that create on-site child-care centers or help their employees find child-care services. Such a partnership between the federal government and business could improve access to quality child care for rural areas, where working parents often face unique challenges.

Encourage family-friendly workplace policies
I believe we should also encourage businesses to adopt family-friendly workplace policies. In 2009, 735,000 Kentuckians provided care to a child, parent or grandparent with limitations in daily activities.16 Taking care of our own families is a deep Kentucky value, so I believe we should provide incentives to encourage companies to adopt family-friendly workplace policies, such as flexible hours, job sharing, at-work day care and family leave. Through these efforts, we can provide families the flexibility they need to maintain economic stability and independence when dealing with illness or caring for loved ones. It is shameful that Mitch McConnell was one of only 27 Senators to vote against the Family and Medical Leave Act17 and opposed a bipartisan compromise to give time off to workers who have a newborn child or experience a family emergency.18

Ensure that our veterans have benefits and job opportunities
Our veterans have sacrificed so much, and we owe them the care they were promised and the benefits they have earned. As Kentucky’s Secretary of State, I have worked to ensure that members of the military never have to ask, “Does my vote actually count?” I traveled to the Middle East to meet with deployed military personnel and made recommendations that ultimately became law to protect their voices. As U.S. Senator, I will continue that fight. Washington has fallen short of honoring our commitment to our veterans. Kentucky is the home of more than 330,000 veterans.19 It is a disgrace that we have so many veterans across Kentucky who have compensation claims pending – more than 6,000 in Louisville alone are in the VA backlog20 – and that 15,000 Kentucky veterans are unemployed.21 We must expand education and training opportunities for service members and veterans, facilitating public/private partnerships that help them translate their military skills to the civilian workforce. We must improve access to health-care services, including mental health, prosthetic care and wound regeneration. We must improve collaboration between the Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs, ensuring that veterans receive in a timely manner the benefits and medical care they deserve. Additionally, I believe we must permanently expand tax credits that reward businesses for hiring veterans. In 2011, Congress passed the “VOW to Hire Heroes Act,” which provides businesses a one-time tax credit of up to $5,600 for every unemployed veteran and up to $9,600 for each disabled veteran they hire.22 Unfortunately, the program expired at the end of 2013. I believe we should make this program permanent and expand it to include unemployed members of the National Guard.23 The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the Child Tax Credit (CTC) currently support 28,000 Kentucky veterans.24 These credits help more than 140,000 working military families, with approximately 300,000 children, stay out of poverty.25 But Mitch McConnell introduced legislation that would have reduced EITC and CTC for Kentucky families. In 2010, Mitch McConnell introduced a tax plan that would have permanently renewed all of the Bush-era tax cuts but not extended improvements in the EITC and CTC. As a result, Kentucky families would have lost more than $200 million in credits, including 216,000 who would have lost some or all of their EITC.26 As Kentucky’s next U.S. Senator, I will stand up for our veterans and fight to preserve the EITC and CTC.

OUR STRENGTH IS OUR PEOPLE

Cultivate Kentucky Competitiveness
Strengthen our urban areas
In Louisville and Lexington, people know well the tremendous potential for growth of our business and industrial economy. Some of the biggest private employers have done well and expanded in recent years: UPS, Ford, General Electric, Toyota. That is to be applauded. But there have also been widespread layoffs and closings, and the needs – for jobs, for training, for opportunity – remain urgent. Unfortunately, Washington has not helped unlock our potential. Instead, the gridlock and partisan bickering have blocked critical assistance that Louisville, Lexington and our cities need and deserve. For example, even with millions of Americans looking for jobs, the United States is actually spending less on workforce training than it did in much better times. In 2000, the federal government invested over $2.1 billion a year for training programs to aid displaced workers.27 Today, the figure is barely half that. Mitch McConnell has repeatedly voted to slash workforce training funds.28 That sort of irresponsible action has real consequences. It means that organizations like KentuckianaWorks in Louisville, or the Central Kentucky Job Centers in the Lexington area, have less money to meet employers’ needs for workers and to help individuals climb back into the middle class. When I am your Senator, I will be a tireless advocate for strong federal investment for state, local and private partners who train workers for the jobs of today and tomorrow. Furthermore, no discussion of economic growth in Louisville, Lexington and our urban areas can be complete without noting the vital role played by our public school systems and our institutions of higher learning. As your Senator, I will be a tireless champion of our public schools, the University of Louisville, the University of Kentucky and our wonderful community and technical colleges. Our campuses will have no more determined advocate in promoting the research, workforce training and economic analysis that are of such critical importance to the economy, workers and the business community.

Build Northern Kentucky
In Northern Kentucky, there is tremendous potential for growth of our business and industrial economy. At the top of the list must be the approximately $3.5 billion Brent Spence Bridge project.29 The need is obvious. The economic impact of delay is equally obvious. This is an interstate highway – a vital national transportation link. It is shameful that Washington politicians have become so paralyzed by partisan rancor that they cannot or will not do their job and finance important infrastructure projects. Instead, an unjustifiable burden – in the form of tolls – is proposed to be placed on the people and economy of Northern Kentucky to pick up the tab. As your next U.S. Senator, I will reach out to responsible members of both parties to return to sensible, bipartisan solutions that observe the need to restrain spending, but also allocate money for Kentucky’s and the nation’s most urgent needs. And I will be a tireless fighter to try to find sufficient federal backing to avoid tolls on the vital Brent Spence Bridge project. I also understand how frustrating it is for Northern Kentucky to have witnessed the drastic service reductions at the once-bustling Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport. The airport can and should be a powerful engine for economic development in Northern Kentucky. As your next Senator, I will work tirelessly to find opportunities to increase airport activity. Our institutions of higher learning, especially Northern Kentucky University, also contribute to this region’s economic vitality. When I am your next Senator, NKU and other public campuses will have no greater champion in promoting universitylevel research, workforce training and economic analysis that are of such critical importance to business.

Cut red tape and allow businesses to grow
As Kentucky’s Secretary of State, I have worked with both parties to make it easier for Kentucky businesses to grow and create more jobs. I spearheaded efforts to create a one-stop shop for Kentucky businesses to interact with multiple state agencies through one point of contact, reducing red tape and encouraging small businesses to grow – making Kentucky one of only 12 states with a similar system. Since January 1, 2012, more than 24,000 Kentucky businesses have been created online through the One Stop Business Portal. Red tape and government bureaucracy impact the ability of Kentucky businesses to grow. According to some estimates, federal government regulations cost the national economy $216 billion in 2012, including 87 million hours spent completing paperwork.30 The Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy estimates that

OUR STRENGTH IS OUR PEOPLE

federal regulations cost small businesses with fewer than 20 employees more than $10,500 per employee to comply.31 In cases where these regulations are superfluous, redundant or needlessly burdensome, they hurt Kentucky’s economy. Families and small businesses in Kentucky demand commonsense solutions from their federal government to encourage economic growth, not stifle it. Different agencies often require small businesses to report the same information, slowing business development. As Senator, I will fight to require the federal government to establish a small business common application and web portal, similar to our One Stop Business Portal in Kentucky. Given the more than 854 federal regulations affecting small businesses,32 I will also spearhead efforts to allow small businesses the opportunity to correct a first-time error in filling out federal paperwork without being fined.

Advance entrepreneurship in Kentucky
Entrepreneurship and innovation can drive Kentucky’s future economic growth. Start-ups have a critical role to play in the success of Kentucky’s recovery from the worst recession since the Great Depression. These high-growth businesses have impressive potential to create jobs, generating up to nearly 90 new jobs a year compared to the average two to four jobs produced by other businesses.33 Since the 1940s, advances in science and technology have been major drivers behind economic growth, contributing to nearly half of every dollar added to our country’s GDP.34 Although our state has made important strides in encouraging start-ups, we can do much more. According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Kentucky is near the bottom of the country in terms of innovation and entrepreneurship (47th), and it ranks 45th in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) job concentration, 37th in creation of new businesses, and 39th in growth in selfemployment.35 We must do more to encourage entrepreneurship and innovation in Kentucky. As Senator, I will fight to expand tax credits for companies to invest in research and development, helping them create new technologies and new products. There should also be an emphasis, bolstered by federal education funds, on entrepreneurial training in Kentucky’s public colleges and high schools.

Level the playing field with China
China is one of America’s most important economic partners and an emerging player on the world stage. There should be few higher objectives for American economic policy than a fair, productive relationship with China that is based on trust, respect and shared prosperity. However, there is a clear need for several changes to level the playing field and make the game fairer for Kentuckians. I believe we can do more to ensure that Kentucky businesses and workers can compete successfully with China. Mitch McConnell does not think that the growing trade deficit with China is a problem. I couldn’t disagree more. Between 2001 and 2011, the U.S. trade deficit with China alone displaced or eliminated 35,700 Kentucky jobs.36 During the same period, this trade deficit cost the U.S. 2.1 million manufacturing jobs, more than half of all manufacturing jobs lost.37 We should start by curbing China’s currency manipulation. The Chinese government keeps its currency artificially low, which makes Chinese products more affordable and puts Kentucky and other American companies and workers at a disadvantage. According to the Economic Policy Institute, addressing currency manipulation would create up to 4.7 million American jobs, add more than $470 billion to our GDP, and reduce the deficit by $165 billion.38 I strongly support measures to lower the threshold by which a country is considered to be in violation of currency rules and strengthen consequences for violations. As Senator, I would use my access to the Secretary of the Treasury and other officials who negotiate currency exchange practices and other issues with the Chinese to press without respite for fair treatment. We should also do more to protect American intellectual property, particularly defense technology.39 Each year intellectual property theft, mainly by China, costs the United States approximately $300 billion, and more than one million jobs.40 These are jobs that we should be bringing home, including to Kentucky. To do so, we must enforce intellectual property protections through trade agreements, economic pressure and World Trade Organization dispute resolutions to ensure that American innovation benefits our country.

OUR STRENGTH IS OUR PEOPLE

Train Kentucky Workers
The overarching challenge facing our state is to position Kentucky to succeed and prosper in the economy of the future. That means supporting our coal industry, expanding agricultural markets and rebuilding our manufacturing base, but it also means training and providing workers for the new occupations and entrepreneurial opportunities that are emerging in a rapidly transforming global economy.

Bridge the skills gap
Building a modern workforce is critical to growing Kentucky’s economy. Job creation and economic growth are stifled when Kentucky industries are unable to hire sufficiently trained workers. According to the National Skills Coalition, “In 2009, about 54 percent of Kentucky’s jobs were in middle-skill occupations. But only 45 percent of the state’s workers likely have the appropriate training for these jobs.”41 And by 2018, 54 percent of all Kentucky jobs will demand a level of training beyond high school.42 Instead of striving to advance our workforce, Mitch McConnell has blocked jobtraining programs for Kentucky. In March 2011, Mitch McConnell supported a budget that would have cut education and training by 53 percent,43 and he later voted for a continuing resolution that would have cut $47 million in job-training funds for Kentucky and cost our state nearly 10,000 jobs.44 Over the past decades, Mitch McConnell has repeatedly voted against expanding job-training programs.45 As a result, Mitch McConnell’s obstruction has done nothing to enhance the lives of hard-working men and women and only stifled expansion of Kentucky’s middle class. We must do more to bridge the skills gap in Kentucky. As Senator, I will work to help establish a national emphasis at the K-12 level on science, computer, math and engineering skills. I believe we also must encourage collaboration between community and technical colleges and industry, expanding apprenticeships and on-the-job training programs. We should provide incentives to companies to make job training available for workers interested in improving their skill sets.

Prepare Kentucky workers for the jobs of tomorrow
It is vitally important that all of Kentucky have access to quality Internet access. I will tirelessly fight for federal and business help to bring broadband expansion to rural areas and lure groundbreaking high-bandwidth service to our cities. Broadband, connectivity and computer science – these are topics that no Kentucky leader can talk about enough. Mitch McConnell has been missing in action in this fight. I will be on the front lines. Technology can also be used to create more urban and regional one-stop job centers that align training with available jobs by providing job seekers and job counselors with the information and tools they need. Government and business can be partners in these enterprises to ensure that workers are being trained for jobs that employers need to fill. Community and technical colleges should also receive financial assistance to offer courses that help laid-off and unemployed workers, including former coal miners, to develop skills aligned with what employers need.

OUR STRENGTH IS OUR PEOPLE

Invigorate Appalachian and Rural Kentucky
Diversify the economy
When asked for his ideas to help develop Eastern Kentucky, Mitch McConnell shrugged off any responsibility, calling such concerns a state issue.46 He is wrong. I believe we must promote and defend coal production, but credible political and business leaders recognize that our coal industry is undergoing deep structural changes. Achieving prosperity for our people in the Eastern Kentucky coalfields requires sustaining coal and pursuing genuine economic diversification. That has proved a daunting challenge in the past, but failure is not an option. We must do more to encourage economic development in Eastern Kentucky. While history has given us many frustrations, it also makes clear the path to progress in Eastern Kentucky: We must do the right things on an appropriate scale over a sufficient period of time. I agree with the sentiments expressed by Congressman Hal Rogers at December’s SOAR conference in Pikeville. Where others see unemployed Kentucky coal miners as only statistics, Representative Rogers said, we should instead see some of the best electricians, engineers, mechanics and machine operators anywhere in the world, bolstered by a strong work ethic. Any time a manufacturing company is considering a start-up, an expansion or a relocation, we should be shouting the message that we have the resources they need to succeed.

Bring rural Kentucky online
Economic uplift in Appalachian and rural Kentucky cannot be achieved in the modern technological economy without online connectivity. As Senator, I will make federal assistance to achieve expanded broadband capacity in these areas one of my top priorities. In contrast, over the last couple of years, Mitch McConnell has repeatedly voted against increasing investment and expanding access to broadband service in rural communities.47 We should turn over every stone in search of models elsewhere that could be developed to Kentucky’s benefit. For example, much attention deservedly is being paid to an experiment in high-bandwidth Internet connections made possible by Google Fiber activity.48 Google Fiber provides Internet service at speeds at least 100

times faster than normal residential bandwidth.49 In Kansas City (its pilot market), the innovation is driving a start-up village phenomenon, with the hope that people, entrepreneurs and businesses move there for it. As Kentucky’s next Senator, I will make the case that a similar undertaking in Kentucky could demonstrate the transformative potential of the project. In addition, we must offer top-of-the-line computer science classes and facilities in our high schools and community and technical colleges. Computer sciences and skills are a pathway to good careers and regional progress. A heartening model in Lee County, where a computer science program undertaken by Microsoft has attracted large enrollment, has changed how students think of learning and encourages them to explore ways to pursue careers in this field. It, and similar programs, show the immense potential of public/private technology education partnerships and are worthy of widespread emulation.50

Support and enhance the Appalachian Regional Commission
Unlike Mitch McConnell, I will protect and enhance funding for the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC). I believe the ARC is critical to creating new jobs and growing the local economy. In 2011 Mitch McConnell voted to cut the ARC’s budget by $8 million.51 Studies indicated that without sustained investment in the area over five years, “the region stands to lose $9.3 billion in economic productivity and $3.7 billion in personal income.”52 And on three other occasions, Mitch McConnell voted for budgets endangering $10 million worth of ARC projects per year.53 In order to partner with local interests in a commitment to economic success, the federal government and the ARC could try something innovative: economic development loan guarantees that require some risk on the part of a local financial institution. Such an effort could be tried on a small scale initially and expanded if it proved promising; it’s past time for the federal and state governments to try new approaches.

Provide federal investment capital to coal country
Since announcing my candidacy, I have repeatedly called on the President to do the right thing and protect the jobs of hard-working Kentuckians. As your next Senator, I will pursue federal investment capital and development incentives for areas like Kentucky’s eastern and western coalfields that have suffered as a result of federal energy policies. When federal policy causes disproportionate harm to one state or region, as this Administration has done, it is only right to offer sufficient assistance to real people who simply want to provide for their families. There already are heartening models to pursue and expand. I enthusiastically embrace the recent inclusion of eight southeastern Kentucky counties in one of the first five Promise Zones designated for federal funding and investment for job

OUR STRENGTH IS OUR PEOPLE

creation and economic assistance. The government’s partner in this venture, the Kentucky Highlands Investment Corporation, has been developing ways to attract capital to this region since 1968 and serves as a model for public-private partnerships that can create jobs. As Senator, I will urge that more of Eastern Kentucky – indeed, more of the commonwealth – should be included in future Promise Zones. I will also pursue possibilities of obtaining orphan-mines funds collected from a national coal severance tax under the federal Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977. Kentucky coal operators have paid this tax for more than 35 years, and some of the money should be available for investment in communities impacted by mining.

Protect and expand early childhood education
The importance of early childhood education cannot be overemphasized. Access to early childhood education is a need in the entire state, but particularly in economically lagging Appalachian and rural areas and low-income urban neighborhoods. Mitch McConnell just doesn’t get it. In fact, he helped craft a budget deal that completely shut down Head Start programs, causing an estimated 1,100 Kentucky children to lose access to early childhood education.54 Study after study has shown that once children fall behind, they rarely catch up. According to The New York Times, “Julia Isaacs, an expert in child policy at the Urban Institute in Washington, finds that more than half of poor 5-year-olds don’t have the math, reading or behavioral skills needed to profitably start kindergarten. If children keep arriving in school with these deficits, no amount of money or teacher evaluations may be enough to improve their lot later in life.”55 Yet, the share of public investment devoted to early childhood education is much lower in the United States than in most other developed countries. In fact, one study shows that the United States “devotes less public spending to either childcare or preschool education than virtually any other advanced democracy.”56 “Other studies, like the Abecedarian Project, show similar results. Children in quality preschool programs are less likely to repeat grades, need special education, or get into future trouble with the law.”57 The lack of focus on early childhood education is outrageous, and I will spare no effort to raise awareness of this issue and work to close the gap between the U.S. and other developed countries.

Invest in infrastructure
The Bert T. Combs Mountain Parkway should be extended as a four-lane highway all the way to Pikeville, and funding and construction might well be expedited if the parkway was designated as part of the interstate highway system, presumably as a spur of Interstate 64. Moreover, Interstate 66 construction should be pursued, particularly in the southern and eastern parts of the state, all the way to the West Virginia line. If that does not happen, there should be widening and extension of the Hal Rogers Parkway. Just last year, Mitch McConnell failed Kentucky by fighting to block the transportation funding bill that would have provided resources to build Kentucky roads and bridges.58 McConnell even went so far as to vote against $200 million in funding for rural infrastructure and development.59

Invest in tourism
As underscored in a recent Kentucky Chamber Foundation report, “Eastern Kentucky is well-positioned for tourism growth.”60 I am committed to advancing public/private partnerships to encourage development of the area while also providing federal funding for infrastructure investments than can support tourism development. The good people of the Kentucky/Cumberland lakes area in Western Kentucky understand the positive economic impact of “destination” tourism. The potential for the same excitement and economic impact exists in the adventure, history and beauty of eastern Kentucky from the Red River Gorge, to “Coal Miner’s Daughter” ground, to the Big Sandy and the Breaks, down Pine Mountain to the Blanton Forest to Cumberland Gap and on over to Big South Fork.

Invest in local entrepreneurship laboratories
The mountains and rural districts could benefit from installing entrepreneurial coursework in high schools, designed with the help of successful natives of the region. I propose investing in our high schools in order to seed their students’ ideas. Young people everywhere have a leg up in understanding and applying new technologies and fresh thinking, but they typically lack the capital necessary to put ideas into action. That could be changed with a small infusion of federal and private resources.

OUR STRENGTH IS OUR PEOPLE

Offer Better Kentucky Wages
Raise the minimum wage
Hard-working Kentuckians who work full time should not be struggling to keep their families’ heads above water. Since 1968, the minimum wage has lost 30 percent of its value, making life harder for Kentuckians who have difficulty paying their bills.61 The current minimum wage of $7.25 is not enough to ensure workers and their families have a fair opportunity to provide for their families. Indeed, in many cases it does not provide enough income to raise a family above poverty levels. I strongly believe that in order to grow our middle class, we must raise the minimum wage to help hard-working Kentuckians sustain a basic standard of living. Rather than having to choose between putting food on the table, getting to work or paying the rent, Kentuckians deserve a living wage that is consistent with our values. Raising the minimum wage is an important step to ensure that workers see the benefits of a growing economy. Earlier this year, the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy outlined the impact a minimum wage increase to $10.10 per hour would have on Kentucky, including: c Lifting the wages of more than one in four Kentucky workers,62 c Increasing by $2,369 on average and $863 million in total annual earnings for the nearly 30 percent of Kentuckians who make minimum wage or just above,63 and c Growing Kentucky’s GDP by $546 million by 2015 and creating 2,200 jobs.64 Mitch McConnell, however, is so out of touch with middle-class Kentucky families that he has repeatedly voted against increasing the minimum wage,65 even though a majority of Republicans support the effort. According to a recent Pew Research survey, those who earn under $30,000 support an increase 2-to-1.66 As Senator, I promise to fight to raise the minimum wage for Kentucky families.

Eliminate the pay gap
Equal pay for equal work isn’t just a women’s issue; it’s also a family issue. Kentucky women make up nearly half of the labor force, yet they make only 79 cents for every dollar paid to men, amounting to a yearly gap of $8,928.67 Meanwhile, women head more than 200,000 Kentucky households. According to the National Partnership for Women & Families, “Eliminating the wage gap would provide much-needed income to women whose salaries are of critical importance to them and their families.”68 Yet Mitch McConnell does not believe in equal pay for equal work. In a shameless betrayal of Kentucky’s women and families, Mitch McConnell has called equal pay for equal work just another “special interest vote”69 and voted against the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and the Paycheck Fairness Act – not once, but twice.70 In fact, he has claimed that pay inequity in this country is not a problem that should be addressed. The women of Kentucky who lose nearly $5 billion every year due to the wage gap strongly disagree.71 We must end workplace discrimination to ensure Kentucky families have the financial security they deserve. By eliminating the wage gap in Kentucky, a working woman would have enough for approximately: c 78 more weeks of food,72 c Eight more months of mortgage and utilities payments,73 c 14 more months of rent, or74 c 2,477 additional gallons of gasoline.75 For this reason, I support the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would ensure that women receive the pay they have worked to earn.

OUR STRENGTH IS OUR PEOPLE

Negotiate a Fair Deal for Kentucky Business
Champion Kentucky’s energy sector
Developing Kentucky’s energy sector will provide financial security to families across the state. Kentucky is leading the way in domestic energy development, and the coal and energy industries hold tremendous potential for growth of our economy and creation of middle-class jobs. Washington Democrats and Republicans need to be realistic about what powers our nation and recognize that Kentucky’s coal reserves are crucial. But Washington’s regulatory barriers and burdensome taxes have inflicted unemployment and pain in Kentucky’s coalfields, driving coal jobs to unprecedented lows. This is unacceptable. As Senator, I will spare no effort to persuade Washington’s policy makers that a coherent, rational national energy policy must have a meaningful, long-term place for coal – an abundant Kentucky and American resource that is not subject to the whims and extortion of dictators in the Middle East and elsewhere. I call on the President to do the right thing and develop an energy policy that does not threaten Kentuckians’ livelihoods and that gives Americans the benefits of our coal resources. In this endeavor, I will form alliances with colleagues from other Appalachian and coal-producing states and develop strong working relationships with officials in the U.S. Energy Department and other key regulatory agencies.

Make the Senate work for Kentucky
I will support trade and international monetary policies that pave the way to expand sales abroad of Kentucky and American coal and to make its prices competitive with other nations’ exported coal. The Executive Branch’s global trade agenda has wrongly de-emphasized coal. I will fight to restore coal to its rightful place as a prime American export product. Gridlock, which Mitch McConnell so proudly champions, has created a situation in which Congress has not made energy policy for the EPA since 2007. This must end. As Senator, I will work in Congress to reign in the EPA to ensure predictability of regulations, insist that the Secretary of Energy undertake a quadrennial energy review, and demand cuts of red tape that restricts federal funds to support fossil fuel development.

As Senator, I will stress the importance of easing some of the rules that are most restrictive on coal-fired power plants and giving states greater power in setting their own standards. I believe we should also relax those parts of the regulatory process that add to the financial and managerial burdens of operating mines without advancing the vital function of protecting the safety and health of miners and the environment of mining communities.

Expand investment for clean coal technology
We must expand federal tax incentives and subsidies for research, development and implementation of Carbon Capture Utilization and Sequestration (CCS). Coal-powered electrical utilities are making critical investments to reduce carbon emissions and capture and store greenhouse gases, but the federal government must do more to support CCS development and make it economically viable. We can start by allowing companies to claim tax credits of $20 per ton of carbon dioxide captured when producing energy. Moreover, Congress and the Environmental Protection Agency must set a legal framework for the standards that constitute acceptable carbon storage. Without it, power companies are trying to hit a target with no bull’s-eye. Mitch McConnell supported an extreme budget proposal that would end over $500 million in fossil fuel research and development and cut millions of dollars for investments in clean coal technology.76 I will never support cutting such programs. Indeed, I will spare no effort to expand them.

Rebuild Kentucky’s manufacturing sector
We must rebuild Kentucky’s manufacturing sector. Kentucky’s manufacturing grew dramatically throughout the 1990s, reaching over 300,000 jobs in the year 2000.77 According to the Kentucky Center of Economic Development, however, “over the last 10 years, manufacturing jobs have plummeted with Kentucky losing nearly one-third of its factory employment over that period.”78 Any decline of our state’s manufacturing sector matters, because these are good, middle-class jobs, paying more than most other sectors. Meanwhile, Mitch McConnell has repeatedly undermined efforts to grow Kentucky’s manufacturing sector. He has repeatedly voted for tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas,79 “a move which would prompt American firms to avoid taxes by moving operations overseas even faster than they already are, harming American workers and reducing investment in the U.S.”80 In fact, Mitch McConnell has blocked proposals to encourage companies to relocate operations to the U.S.81 and even opposed requiring the Department of Defense to buy equipment that was made in America.82 While companies like General Electric, Ford and Toyota are opening or operating manufacturing plants across Kentucky, we can do more to encourage new investments in our state. As Senator, I will fight to expand access to capital

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for companies to invest in R&D and new machinery, equipment and advanced manufacturing technological innovation here in Kentucky. I believe we should expand tax credits for businesses relocating to the U.S. and end tax breaks for businesses that ship our jobs overseas. We also need to continue to stress education and training to develop an advanced manufacturing workforce in Kentucky, and we must insist on fair trade practices that open new markets abroad for Kentucky.

Expand Kentucky agriculture
I will support fair trade policies that enable Kentucky farmers to export more of their crops and products to the expanding global market. In particular, we must back provisions like those in a recent World Trade Organization agreement that cut red tape and costs for small and medium-sized agricultural operations are important, since the average Kentucky farm is relatively small. I will push to make it easier to obtain federal permits and backing for new grain-loading facilities on our major rivers to expedite shipment of Kentucky corn, wheat and soybeans. I also favor expanding the federal direct farm loan program for farmers who are unable to get traditional commercial bank loans. In addition, we need to raise the cap on the new microloan program that can have a positive benefit on small, non-traditional and urban farmers across Kentucky. For too long Mitch McConnell has gotten by promising Kentucky farmers the certainty of a Farm Bill, then failing to keep his promise. The most recent Farm Bill extension expired on his watch mere months after he said, “We will get a farm bill.”83 It is clear that the gridlock, procrastination and lack of compromise in Mitch McConnell’s Washington strips Kentucky farmers of the assurance and certainty they deserve. Instead, our farmers are hesitant to plan ahead and invest in the very fields that keep Kentucky going and growing in the right direction.

The Commonwealth needs a Senator who will find bipartisan solutions – not one who plays politics with Kentuckians’ livelihoods.

Taking “ACTION” Today Ensures a Stronger Kentucky
Kentucky’s challenge is to thrive in a competitive, global economy of the future. Together, we can meet that challenge. If we determine to put the good of our people ahead of the Washington tendency to act petty and small, a better day awaits.
KCEP, 3/21/13 KCEP, 6/8/12 3 Herald Leader, 8/7/13 4 KCEP, 3/21/13 5 Urban Institute, 12/12 6 Urban Institute, 12/12 7 C-Span, 2/2/06 8 Vote 27, 2/28/13 9 Courier Journal, 6/26/13 10 Pew State, 10/23/13; U.S. Department of Commerce,  Bureau of Economic Analysis, 6/6/13; calculations based on U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis, 6/6/13 and Pew State, 10/23/13 11 Moody’s Analytics 12 DPCC, 10/31/13 13 NACCRRA, Kentucky Fact Sheet 14 NACCRRA, Kentucky Fact Sheet 15 Senate Democrats, 2013 16 AARP, 2011 17 Vote 11, 2/4/93 18 Vote 215, 10/2/91; Lexington Herald-Leader, 10/3/91 19 KY Department of Veterans Affairs, 9/12 20 Veterans Benefits Administration, 12/30/13 21 Senate Democrats, 6/11 22 News-Record, 10/26/13 23 AP, 11/21/13 24 KCEP, 7/2/13 25 CBPP, 7/2/13 26 National Women’s Law Center, 9/22/10 27 New York Times, 4/9/12 28 Washington Post, 5/25/11; Vote 77, 5/25/11; CAP, 4/14/11; Vote 36, 3/9/11; DPCC, 2011 29 Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, 12/31/13 30 Washington Post, 1/14/13 31 SBA, 9/10 32 Forbes, 2/6/13 33 Bloomberg, 3/12/10 34 Center for American Progress, 4/24/13 35 U.S. Chamber of Commerce, 4/13 36 Economic Policy Institute, 8/23/12 37 Economic Policy Institute, 8/23/12 38 Economic Policy Institute, 2/7/13 39 Reuters, 12/17/13 40 Congressional Research Service, 12/16/13 41 National Skills Coalition Fact Sheet 42 Georgetown University Center on Education and Workforce report 43 Washington Post, 5/25/11; Vote 77, 5/25/11; CAP,  4/14/2011
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Vote 36, 3/09/11; DPCC 2011 Vote 99, 3/25/03; Vote 325, 9/4/03 46 Kentucky Educational Television, 5/13/13 47 Vote 144, 6/10/13; Vote 136, 6/19/12; Vote 141,  6/20/12 48 Fortune, 8/23/12 49 Google Fiber website: accessed 12/22/13 50 Kentucky School Boards Association, 10/12 51 HR 1, Vote 36, 3/09/11; FY 2011 Continuing  Resolution Reductions, 4/13/11 52 Congressman Hal Rogers press release, 6/6/12 53 ABC News, 3/17/11; Vote 80, 5/25/11; Vote 100,  5/16/12; Dana Milbank, Washington Post, 5/17/12; Vote 69, 3/22/13; The Hill, 3/22/13; Think Progress, 3/25/13; US Department of Housing and Urban Development summary 54 WKYT, 2/21/13 55 NYT, 4/2/13 56 Center for American Progress, 4/3/13 57 NEA: Early Childhood Education 58 The Hill, 8/1/13 59 Vote 126, 9/19/12 60 KY Chamber study: 10/8/13 61 Reuters, 7/24/12 62 KCEP, 4/3/13 63 KCEP, 4/3/13 64 KCEP, 4/3/13 65 Vote 179, 6/21/06; Vote 26, 3/7/05; Vote 257, 10/19/05 66 Pew Research Center, 8/20/13 67 National Partnership for Women & Families, 4/13 68 National Partnership for Women & Families, 4/13 69 McConnell press conference, 4/23/08 70 Vote 14, 1/22/09; Vote 115, 6/5/12; Vote 249, 11/17/10 71 National Partnership for Women & Families, 4/13 72 National Partnership for Women & Families, 4/13 73 National Partnership for Women & Families, 4/13 74 National Partnership for Women & Families, 4/13 75 National Partnership for Women & Families, 4/13 76 Vote 69, 3/22/13 77 KCEP, 12/21/12 78 KCEP, 12/21/12 79 Vote 98, 5/15/12; cbpp.org, 3/22/12; Vote 181, 7/19/12  80 Wall Street Journal, 3/20/12 81 Vote 242, 9/28/10 82 Vote 191, 5/21/03 83 McConnell Speech At Kentucky Farm Bureau Ham  Breakfast, 8/22/13
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