For Kentucky Public Radio
Published THU OCTOBER 16, 2014
By RAE HODGE
Speaking Wednesday night before 4,500 people at the Kentucky International Convention Center, Hillary Rodham Clinton urged Kentuckians to take to the polls in November for Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes.
The former U.S. Secretary of State held Republican incumbent Sen. Mitch McConnell’s feet to the fire on healthcare reform and pay equity.
Clinton never mentioned the senior Senator by name, but she responded to the Monday night debate between Grimes and McConnell. During the debate, McConnell said he would dismantle the Affordable Healthcare Act “root and branch,” though he’d allow Kentucky to keep the healthcare exchange website, Kynect.
Clinton argued removing the Affordable Healthcare Act would remove federal funding for the website and prevent Medicaid expansion.
“Kynect is about more than a website; it has helped more than half a million Kentuckians get good-quality, affordable healthcare,” said Clinton. “And for many, many of your fellow citizens it was the first time that they had that kind of security.”
Clinton also spent much of her 30 minute speech echoing Grimes’ platform points on gender pay equity. Grimes has taken McConnell to task in numerous campaign appearances this fall for his votes against fair pay legislation.
“It’s just unbelievable that in this day and time someone would be telling the women of Kentucky they don’t deserve equal pay for equal work,” said Clinton. “If there is only one reason that will motivate you to go vote in 20 days put that at the top of the list, because whether you’re a woman or a man this is a family issue.”
Grimes has continued to struggle against McConnell’s attempts to paint her as a rubber stamp for President Obama, who is unpopular in Kentucky, and has called herself a “Clinton Democrat.” Grimes responded Wednesday night to McConnell’s claim that there is no difference between the two.
“Being a Clinton Democrat, well, it’s the recognition that when President Clinton left office the nation’s unemployment was at the lowest rate it had ever been in 30 years,” Grimes said. “The largest economic expansion that the nation had ever seen, with over 22 million good paying jobs. People reaching out and working together across the aisle in a spirit of bipartisanship.”
The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee on Tuesday stopped funding ads for Grimes, but she announced that she has gathered $4.9 million in fundraising between July and September of this year.
Facing traditionally low mid-term election turnout rates, Clinton closed her speech by driving home the necessity for Kentucky voters to take to the polls in November.
“Just ask yourselves this, and ask everyone you see in the next 20 days: ‘Do you want politics in Washington, in the Congress, to look the same for the next six years?’ Because more than any other race in the country, this election in Kentucky is a referendum on the future.” she said.