The Herald-Leader editorial board is onto me again.
Now, they want to know what I'm "for" in Eastern Kentucky since I'm so "against" the war on coal.
I'm not surprised they don't know what I've been doing these 33 years; the paper never printsa ny news about the projects I've been successful with, even though my 30 counties are in its coverage area.
Let me remind them of my record and what I'm "for."
I'm for the health and safety of Eastern Kentuckians.
I've helped build flood walls, diversion channels, and raised banks on the Cumberland, Kentucky, Big Sandy and Licking Rivers. Perennial flooding no longer devastates towns and communities along these streams.
I've helped secure funding for hundreds of drinking water and wastewater projects and led health-care facility upgrades at Pikeville Medical Center, Appalachian Regional Healthcare facilities and other area hospitals.
I'm for infrastructure and economic development.
I've worked to improve roads and highways, including the Cumberland Gap tunnel that replaced dangerous stretches of U.S. 25 over "Massacre Mountain." I've sponsored modern federal correctional facilities in McCreary, Martin, Clay and eventually Letcher counties that provide over 1,200 good-paying jobs. I've helped with job creation by joining others in launching the Southeast Kentucky Economic Development Corporation (SKED), which has created more than 10,000 jobs, including some 3,200 high-tech, federal contract jobs in our region.
I'm for the PRIDE campaign, a massive effort to clean up southern and eastern Kentucky. With 33,000 volunteers at our annual spring cleanups, the results speak for themselves — nearly 3,000 illegal dumps eliminated, 963,000 tires pulled out of streams and off hillsides, 29,000 homes now have access to sanitary sewer, and thousands of kids in our communities are creating their own environmentally friendly projects.
I'm for Operation UNITE, a three-pronged initiative launched following a Herald-Leader series on pervasive prescription pain medicine abuse in my region. Law enforcement, medical practitioners, educators, and concerned citizens banded together to fight the drug epidemic. We've now jailed 4,000 drug pushers, partnered with drug abuse treatment centers, helped bring drug courts to 30 counties where only a handful stood before, and installed counselors and formed UNITE Ccubs in area schools. We are pushing out the drug pushers.
I'm for the 17-year mission of the Center for Rural Development, a headquarters for these and other regional development efforts. The center hosts conferences, concerts, job training, and so much more. The Rogers Scholars and Rogers Explorers programs give our brightest students leadership training, character development and a leg up in going to college.
Currently, 17 universities and colleges offer scholarships to these participants from across southern and eastern Kentucky.
In conclusion, I've devoted my life to fighting the main issues that have plagued our region.
Now, with the Obama war on coal, we've got another plague inflicted upon us. I'm for ending this war on coal.
We will prevail, as we always have, in spite of the editorial board's discouragement.