Kerrey last in Owensboro to campaign for Gov. Patton in 1995

Thanks to fellow M-I reporter Keith Lawrence for letting me know that this weekend won’t be the first visit to Daviess County for former Nebraska governor and U.S. Sen. Bob Kerrey. 

Kerrey will attend a fundraiser for Bruce Lunsford, Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate, and the Wendell H. Ford Democratic Picnic this Saturday, and was in the area back in 1995 for a political rally. 

Read Lawrence’s story about the Aug. 16, 1995, visit below – 

Sens. Kerrey, Ford come to town, stump for Patton

By Keith Lawrence

“This is America. This is politics as it should be,” Lt. Gov. Paul Patton said Wednesday as he stood with approximately 100 Daviess County Democrats in the shade of a century-old maple beside Bill Kuegel’s carport.

Patton, the Democratic nominee for governor; Dr. Steve Henry, his running mate; U.S. Sen. Wendell Ford of Owensboro; U.S. Sen. Bob Kerrey of Nebraska; and state Rep. Billy Ray Smith, Democratic nominee for agriculture commissioner, came to the home of the former Daviess County Democratic chairman to stump for the fall campaign.

A recording of Garth Brooks’ “We Shall Be Free” played as they climbed onto a farm wagon decorated with red, white and blue bunting, bales of straw and sticks of tobacco. Sweat bees and lazy flies hummed in the sultry 98-degree heat.

“In western Kentucky, we like our politics like our weather – hot,” said state Sen. David Boswell, the master of ceremonies.

“We’ve got a tough row to hoe,” said Kuegel, the party’s local chairman in the ’70s, as he watched the speeches. “The President made a lot of people mad with his attack on tobacco. And people aren’t as party-oriented as they used to be.” But Kuegel said, “We’ve got a good candidate” for governor.

Ken Bosley, the current county chairman, said, “We may have taken a hit last week when the President came out against tobacco. But we’re moving again.” He said the latest Democratic poll shows the Patton-Henry ticket leading Republicans Larry Forgy and Tom Handy by 10 percent statewide and 2 percent in Daviess County.

Ted Jackson, Forgy’s spokesman, said later, “That’s not what our polls show.” Jackson said he wasn’t going to talk about poll numbers. But, he said, “Paul Patton doesn’t act like a man who is ahead by 10 percent.” “We have a good mix of veterans, farmers, labor and teachers here today,” Bosley said. “We’re going to work together to win this thing.”

Ford wouldn’t talk about poll numbers either. But he said, “We’ve gained and they’ve lost. You don’t see me frowning, do you?” He told the crowd, “We don’t need a Newt Gingrich in Frankfort. We need somebody like Paul Patton.” Kerrey, chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, urged people to work together to make a better society.

Kerrey, who lost a leg in Vietnam, said, “When I’ve been knocked down, I never got up without help.” He said he sees a lot of people in society who have been knocked down and need help in getting on their feet again.

“God did not put any of us on this earth to just take care of ourselves,” he said.

U.S. Sen. Bill Bradley, a New Jersey Democrat, announced Wednesday that he would not seek re-election next year.

But Ford and Kerrey said they expect Democrats to keep the seat. “I don’t think New Jersey will be that difficult to hold,” Kerrey said. “But the Senate will miss Bill Bradley.” Patton praised the Kentucky work ethic. “The ultimate purpose of government is to create the atmosphere where people can have jobs and take care of themselves,” he said.

He called Forgy an “enemy of developing good markets” for farmers.

Patton continued to rip Forgy for his comments at Red’s Picnic in Sorgho last month when the GOP nominee said that he wants good-paying jobs for Kentuckians. “What we need are more jobs that aren’t chicken-plucking jobs,” Forgy said that night.

Patton said he was “instrumental” in getting Perdue Farms to build a chicken-processing plant in Ohio County and in getting Hudson Foods to locate in Henderson, Union and McLean counties.

“My opponent ridiculed honest work as ‘chicken-plucking’ jobs,” he said.

Jackson said Forgy wasn’t attacking poultry jobs. “Larry believes that any job is a good job,” he said. “But the national average income is $25,903. In Kentucky, it’s $21,858. And for the jobs Patton claims credit for, it’s $18,800. We need to set our sights on high-paying, high-skilled jobs.” Henry touted his Daviess County roots, pointing to a tree near the farm-wagon stage. “I guess I was climbing that tree 40 years ago,” he said.

He said Democrats believe in “hard work, hard work, hard work.” Henry drew the biggest laugh of the day with a gaffe in introducing Ford – as “our senior citizen.” “Write 500 times on the blackboard,” Ford said. “Senior senator.”

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