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Florida Governor Rick Scott’s name has been thrown around Kentucky for several weeks. Scott’s attempt to stop a prescription drug tracking system has prompted state, federal and city officials* to reach out to the Floridian leader and encourage him to reconsider the cut.

Scott has also made national headlines for refusing to accept federal money for high-speed rail projects in his state.

The Washington Post cites those issues and several others in a post predicting that Scott will soon take the spotlight from the GOP governors in Wisconsin, Mississippi and New Jersey, who have each notably clashed with President Barack Obama in recent months.

*Governor Beshear, Congressman Rogers, Attorney General Conway, Lieutenant Governor Mongiardo, U.S. Drug Czar Kerlikowske and several police officers and sheriffs

Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels sat down for a lengthy interview with NPR’s Steve Inskeep on Morning Edition today. The conversation covered Daniels’s stance on privatizing government services, bargaining with unions, running for Presidentand his reputation as President George W. Bush’s budget director. You can listen to it here.

by Graham Shelby

Fourteen protesters will be spending the weekend in the office of Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear.

They belong to an environmental group called Kentucky Rising that gathered in the governor’s office this morning to demand a meeting with the governor. Beshear met with the demonstrators, who voiced their objection to mountaintop removal mining and their concerns about the environmental damaged caused by coal mining in eastern Kentucky.

In his State of the Commonwealth speech last week, Beshear called for the EPA to get off the backs of the state and the coal industry. One of the protesters, Jason Howard, objected to that.

“It’s not the EPA and the federal government that needs to get off your back. It’s the coal industry and your administration that needs to get off our backs,” said Howard.

Beshear didn’t offer to change his positions. The group decided to continue their protest in the governor’s office. They were prepared to be arrested at the end of the day on Friday.

Instead, the governor told them they can stay as long as they like. The group plans to stay through Monday when other environmental activists will gather in Frankfort for a rally called I Love Mountains Day.

by Tony McVeigh

A citizens group protesting mountaintop removal has met with Governor Steve Beshear.

Around 20 members of Kentuckians for the Commonwealth began a sit-in protest this morning in the lobby of the governor’s office. They said they wouldn’t leave unless they got an audience with Governor Beshear. Beshear initially said his schedule wouldn’t permit it, but finally emerged and fielded questions for about 30 minutes. The group wants an end to surface mining in Kentucky, but Beshear says he cannot support that.

“I understand where you’re coming from. I do think we can surface mine in a responsible way and reclaim the land and protect the water,” he said, eliciting laughter from the demonstrators. “I didn’t laugh at you when y’all were talking, so I would appreciate it if you would give me the same respect,” replied Beshear.

Among the protesters, who remained even after the governor went back to work, are author/poet Wendell Berry and novelist Silas House.

“I don’t think that we’re anywhere near the conversation that we’re going to have to have before we’re satisfied.  We represent a side, and it’s an authentic side, with substantive issues that need to be dealt with,” said Berry.

by Graham Shelby

Author Wendell Berry is one of a group of protesters staging a sit-in in the office of Governor Beshear at this hour. The group is demanding a meeting with the governor to discuss ending the practice of mountaintop removal mining and creating a new economic model for Kentucky.

The group of twenty calls itself Kentucky Rising and says Beshear has refused previous meeting requests. They say they plan to stay in the governor’s office until he meets with them or orders them removed from the building.

In addition to Berry, the protest group includes Kentucky authors Silas House and Erik Reece as well as activists and retired coal miners.

Beshear’s office tells WFPL the governor is willing to meet the group, but will not have time today.

Demonstrator Jason Howard is tweeting from the sit-in.

We’ll have more on this as it develops.

An internal poll conducted for the gubernatorial ticket of Senate President David Williams and Agriculture Commissioner Richie Farmer gives the slate the lead in the GOP primary with 47% of the vote

The poll places Jefferson County Clerk Bobbie Holsclaw and her running mate Bill Vermillion in second place with 10%. Louisville businessman Phil Moffett and his running mate, state Representative Mike Harmon, trail with 9%.

CN2 has the response from the Holsclaw and Moffett campaigns. Both criticize the numbers, either by dismissing them or pointing out that Williams and Farmer have support from less than half of those polled.

On the Democratic side, incumbent Steve Beshear is running unopposed with Louisville Mayor Jerry Abramsonsharing the ticket.

Independent Gatewood Galbraith is also running with Dea Riley as his running mate.

 

Governor Steve Beshear spoke at the Kentucky School Board Association’s annual conference Friday. He encouraged the audience to support a bill that would raise the dropout age to 18. Similar legislation stalled in the General Assembly last year.

Beshear made other comments on education in his speech, and you can listen to his remarks here (mp3).

Jefferson County Clerk Bobbie Holsclaw says she will run for governor. Holsclaw previously told reporters she was considering entering the race, but had not found a suitable running mate. She has tapped retired Navy master chief Bill Vermillion of Grayson County to share the ticket, and the two plan to file their paperwork Tuesday.

Holsclaw will be the third Republican to enter the governor’s race. She will face State Senate President David Williams and Louisville businessman Phil Moffett in the primary. Democratic incumbent Steve Beshear is seeking re-election. Perennial candidate Otis Hensley is expected to challenge Beshear in the Democratic primary.

Independent Gatewood Galbraith is also in the race.

The first candidates forum in this year’s gubernatorial race will be held next week in Louisville. Republican candidates David Williams and Phil Moffett will be there. So will independent Gatewood Galbraith. Democratic incumbent Steve Beshear, however, will not attend.

From CN2:

[Campaign spokesperson Bill Hyers] pointed to the contested Republican primary and how, so far, no other Democrat has filed to challenge Beshear in the primary.  There will be plenty of time to discuss the issues once the Republican nominee is set, Hyers said.

“(Beshear) needs to be governor,” Hyers said in a phone interview. “It’s January for a November election. There will be plenty of times after the primary.”

 

Senator Evan Bayh of Indiana will be replaced in the Senate by the person he replaced in the Senate (Dan Coats). But he will not run for the office he held before he ran for the Senate (Governor of Indiana).

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