New Kentucky projects highlight Commonwealth’s clout in Washington
Published 3:42 pm Thursday, December 2, 2021
By U.S. SEN. REPUBLICAN LEADER MITCH McCONNELL
Kentucky and Washington, D.C., may only be separated by a few hundred miles, but the two places sometimes feel wildly out-of-step. Democrats are fully committed to reckless proposals aimed solely at appeasing their far-left base, ignoring Kentuckians’ needs. Amid these partisan fights, though, I have never lost sight of my most important job: delivering wins for the Commonwealth and my constituents.
During my recent trip through Kentucky, I joined other members of our congressional delegation to witness the impact of that work firsthand. The Commonwealth’s elected leaders hold many significant leadership positions in Congress, including my own role as Senate Republican Leader and a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee. We’ve used that sway to bring Kentucky priorities to the forefront of the conversation in Washington, allowing our state to punch significantly above its weight in Congress.
I started my visit in Louisville, joining the national guardsmen of Kentucky’s 123rd Airlift Wing to celebrate the arrival of a new fleet of C-130J aircraft. These servicemembers provide crucial services to our Commonwealth like responding to natural disasters, providing logistical support to hospitals during the pandemic, and deploying abroad as part of the War on Terror. They are also one of the most decorated units in the entire U.S. Air Force.
Impressively, they were doing all this with one of the Air National Guard’s oldest C-130H fleets. I worked with my colleagues Representative Hal Rogers (KY-05) and Representative Andy Barr (KY-06) to replace these aging planes with new and more capable aircraft. Together, we helped Kentucky’s 123rd Airlift Wing receive their new squadron of C-130J aircraft, preserving their flying mission for years to come.
My next stop brought me to St. Elizabeth Healthcare in Northern Kentucky, one of the nation’s foremost leaders in addiction treatment services. Tragically, substance abuse is a large and growing problem in the Commonwealth. St. Elizabeth does great work to help solve this crisis, and I try to assist their efforts by making substance abuse treatment a congressional priority.
I worked alongside Representative Andy Barr (KY-06) to pass the CAREER Act, which helps individuals in addiction recovery programs speedily return to independent living. I joined the St. Elizabeth staff to celebrate a $2.5 million grant they received through this legislation – part of more than $300 million I have helped Kentucky receive to fight addiction.
I next visited Logan County to meet with small business owners concerned with inflation, vaccine mandates, the threat of higher taxes, a crippled supply chain, and the worker shortage. The Biden Administration created these problems and has no viable solutions to fix them. I’m working hard to prevent Democrats from hurting our economy further by doubling down on the policies that caused these crises.
Next, I traveled to the Barkley Regional Airport in Paducah. With the help of $32 million in federal funding, the airport is breaking ground on a new terminal project. Once completed, these new, modern facilities will benefit all of Western Kentucky, bringing jobs and additional investment to the region.
Representative James Comer (KY-01) and I were proud to support the airport’s federal grant applications and helped ensure the funds arrived on time and in full. Kentucky’s river ports, railroads, highways, and airports keep America’s supply chains on the move, and I always look for ways I can help keep them running smoothly.
Finally, I spent Veterans Day back in Louisville to break ground on a project that has been fifteen years in the making. After years of delays, Louisville’s new VA hospital is finally under construction, promising high-quality care to Kentucky’s heroes.
The new facilities will be much more than just a long-overdue update to the older hospital it will replace. Its women’s health clinic will deliver specialized services and dedicated spaces to the ever-growing population of women veterans. It will reaffirm Kentucky’s status as one of the most military-friendly states in America and help cement Louisville’s reputation as a leader in cutting-edge medical technology.
I’ve stood alongside this project’s supporters and our veterans from day one. I worked with four different administrations to ensure this new hospital remained a priority at the highest levels, steadily providing the $860 million needed to make last week’s groundbreaking a reality.
Visiting these project sites offered just a small glimpse of the many ways I help deliver for the Commonwealth. I look forward to continuing to leverage my leadership positions to ensure Kentucky voices are heard loud and clear in Congress.