By Jack Brammer
FRANKFORT — Former Kentucky Democratic Party Chairman Bill Garmer said Friday he is considering running for the U.S. Senate next year if Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes declines to enter the race against Republican incumbent Mitch McConnell.
“A lot of people have talked to me about the race,” said Garmer, a Lexington lawyer, in a telephone interview. “But Alison is the center of discussion. In my mind, if she wants the nomination, she has my support. She is one of the bright stars in the Democratic party and she wants to serve Kentucky. I would be the first in line to support her.”
Asked if he would consider running if Grimes decides not to run, Garmer said, “that sounds like a lawyer’s question but that would be fair.”
Grimes said April 23 that she is pondering whether to run for the U.S. Senate next year against McConnell. She said she would “take the time to reflect with my family, my supporters on how I can best continue to serve the Commonwealth of Kentucky.”
FRANKFORT — Lt. Gov. Jerry Abramson has told a Louisville news blog that he supports marriage equality for all adults.
“I don’t believe government should judge which adults can and which cannot make a loving, life-long commitment to each other. That’s why both Madeline (his wife) and I support marriage equality for all adults,” Abramson said in a statement to Fat Lip, a blog of LEO Weekly, an alternative weekly in Louisville.
The blog reported Monday that it had asked several Kentucky officials their views on marriage equality, including Gov. Steve Beshear.
Kerri Richardson, a spokeswoman for Abramson and Beshear, confirmed the statements made by Kentucky’s top two elected officials.
Beshear did not take a stance on same-sex marriage in his statement.
“In regard to marriage, Kentuckians overwhelmingly voted in favor of a constitutional amendment that banned same-gender marriage and have made the decision for the Commonwealth,” Beshear said.
He was referring to Kentucky’s 2004 constitutional amendment, which prohibited the legal recognition of same-sex marriage and civil unions.
Two organizers of the annual Fancy Farm picnic in Graves County that kicks off fall political campaigns in Kentucky have released statements about Lt. Gov. Jerry Abramson’s comment that the event is outdated with a rambunctious crowd.
Mark Wilson, the picnic’s political chairman, said, “As the organizer of political speaking for Fancy Farm, I along with the emcee have always made a good-faith effort to tame the crowd and for the visitors to be respectful to the invited speakers.
“It is hard for us as organizers to pull the reins on the crowd, so we deal with this issue the best we can and let the speakers speak and allow for the crowd to have a good time.
By Jack Brammer
FRANKFORT – State Republican Party Chairman Steve Robertson accused Lt. Gov. Jerry Abramson Friday of “insulting Western Kentucky” with his comment that the annual Fancy Farm political picnic in Graves County is outdated.
CN|2’s “Pure Politics with Ryan Alessi” reported Thursday that Abramson told the Louisville Rotary Club that he did not miss being at last Saturday’s 132nd picnic that traditionally kicks off fall political campaigns in Kentucky.
Abramson first called the picnic “an anachronism,” and then said, “I think the days of yelling and screaming at folks who are up on the stage — just to yell and scream and make fun of them are days of the past. Where was I? It was my anniversary.”
By Jack Brammer
FRANKFORT — Gov. Steve Beshear will use a state plane to take his family to New Orleans for the NCAA Final Four.
The Kentucky Democratic Party will reimburse the state for use of the plane because Democratic Party activities will be involved on the trip, said Beshear spokeswoman Kerri Richardson.
Richardson did not immediately know what state political party activities will occur in New Orleans or what family members will be going with the governor other than first lady Jane Beshear.
The Beshears used a state plane March 9 to go to the Southeastern Conference basketball tournament in New Orleans and to take a side trip to Ocala, Fla., for Jane Beshear to visit friends.
By Jack Brammer
FRANKFORT – Gov. Steve Beshear’s special commission to draft a plan to overhaul the state’s tax laws started its first day of work Tuesday by putting out a proposal to hire a consultant.
Lt. Gov. Jerry Abramson, chairman of the 23-member panel, said Beshear considered it “imperative that we have someone from the outside who could lead this group through the issues” the governor considers important.
The consultant, Abramson said, will focus initially on how Kentucky’s tax structure measures up with surrounding states and should be in place by the commission’s next meeting on April 10.
Cost for the consultant has not yet been determined, he added.
Beshear announced in January the formation of the panel to try to make the state’s tax code more equitable and to make it more competitive in economic development. It is to submit its report by the end of the year.
By Jack Brammer
FRANKFORT — Gov. Steve Beshear and first lady Jane Beshear rode up Capital Avenue Tuesday morning in an open horse-drawn carriage provided by the Kentucky Horse Park as part of an Inauguration Day parade that had more than 4,150 participants.
Following them in another carriage were Lt. Gov. Jerry Abramson and his wife, Madeline Abramson.
When their carriages arrived at the front steps of the Capitol, the couples dutifully took their place in a reviewing stand to watch 54 high school marching bands wish them well.
Beshear and Abramson were officially sworn into office at midnight. A public swearing-in ceremony is scheduled for 2 p.m. Tuesday.
It will mark the second time Beshear and Abramson will call the state’s Capitol building their workplace.
Former Louisville mayor and Lt. Gov. Candidate Jerry Abramson was the first to whisk into the Frankfort Convention Center, where Democrats are awaiting results.
In a casual round of interviews, he sounded an optimistic tone but cautioned that despite he and Gov. Steve Beshear’s healthy lead in polls, “it isn’t over ’til it’s over.”
Abramson did express disappointment in the low turnout Tuesday saying people in countries around the world fight and die for the right to vote.
After many Louisville mayoral races, Abramson said he enjoyed getting out into the Commonwealth and “discovering that we’re not all that different.”
By Beth Musgrave
FRANKFORT — The two main rivals in Kentucky’s gubernatorial race have new television advertisements out this week.
Democratic incumbent Gov. Steve Beshear’s new ad uses news clips showing Beshear touring the state after major disasters, such as an ice storm that knocked out power to much of the state in 2009. The advertisement also uses a moderator who says Beshear has been a calm presence during the state’s natural disasters over the past three years.
Beshear has said that 10 federally-declared states of emergency have been declared since he took office in December 2007.
Senate President David Williams features his running mate, Richie Farmer, the agriculture commissioner and former University of Kentucky basketball star, in his ad. The 30-second spot tries to tie Beshear to President Obama, who is unpopular in Kentucky. Farmer claims that Beshear cannot support Obama and be pro-coal.
“A vote for Beshear is a vote for Barack Obama’s war on coal,” Farmer says in the ad.
Beshear has said in interviews that he supports Obama but does not agree with him on all issues. His administration has sued the Environmental Protection Agency over coal regulations.
By Beth Musgrave
LOUISVILLE — They took the trash can. Again.
Louisville city workers were supposed to dump the trash from the wicker-wire trash can near the Abramson’s grocery store on Preston Avenue and put it back. But frequently the can would disappear.
One day, a 12-year-old Jerry Abramson turned to his exasperated father, Roy, and said: “Don’t worry Dad, someday I’ll be mayor and I will have that can bolted down.”
Roy Abramson, now deceased, loved to tell that story about his son, Louisville’s longest-serving mayor. But Jerry Abramson, 65, who spent much of his childhood working at his father’s three-aisle grocery store in Smoketown, said he doesn’t’ remember that conversation or having aspirations for public office at that age.
Yet, 50 years later, Jerry Abramson has become almost synonymous with the city of his birth.
Abramson’s long tenure as Louisville’s mayor, three terms as mayor of the city and two terms as mayor of the merged city government, is on trial as he seeks his first statewide elected office. Rather than run again for mayor he decided in 2009 to join Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear’s campaign as his pick for lieutenant governor.