Attorney General Jack Conway unveiled a jobs plan Tuesday that he said reflects the top three priorities of his Democratic campaign for governor — "jobs, jobs and more good-paying jobs."
With running mate state Rep. Sannie Overly, Conway joined Danette Wilder, president and CEO of SealingLife Technology, in a tour of Wilder's small business in Lexington, highlighting the need for Kentucky to produce a well-trained workforce.
"We are both very excited to reveal this plan today because nothing is more important to this ticket than growing good-paying jobs here in Kentucky and creating a climate that provides for economic growth for our middle class," Overly said.
The plan, which Conway and Overly said is the result of an extensive listening tour, is based on three broad planks — building on Kentucky's strengths, opening doors to businesses and building the best workforce.
It was the last plank of the plan that brought Conway to Lexington, where he discussed Wilder's efforts to hire employees whose training and skills fit with her company.
"The quality of our workforce more than anything else is going to help us determine our future economic success," Conway said. "And that's why I'm going to make worker training a top priority."
Conway said his plan would focus on "renewed support" for homegrown industries, such as bourbon, agriculture and mining; cutting red tape for small businesses and expanding high-speed Internet access; and working with businesses and schools to ensure a skilled workforce.
"I want to grow Kentucky's economy by using common-sense proposals that will help the businesses we already have, attract new businesses to Kentucky and make certain that our workforce gets the education and skills that they need," Conway said. "This plan is about getting that done."
Conway pledged that his plan "incorporates the need to keep our finances strong and to hold the line on taxes in order to make sure that Kentucky is competitive."
Republican Matt Bevin, Conway's opponent, has for the last few weeks challenged Conway to release a jobs plan, noting that Bevin put out his "Blueprint for a Better Kentucky" just days after announcing his candidacy in early February.
On Tuesday, Bevin's campaign issued a statement congratulating Conway for unveiling a plan, saying that Conway was following Bevin's lead.
"Although it took (Attorney General) Conway 413 days since he announced his candidacy, I am glad he has finally presented something tangible to the people of Kentucky," Bevin said in a statement. "It is one piece of what he owes the people he wants to lead, but at least it is a start."