Kentucky editorial roundup
Summary of recent Kentucky newspaper editorials:
Lexington Herald-Leader on U.S. Rep. Andy Barr fighting off a challenge to keep Kentucky’s 6th Congressional District seat:
Congratulations to U.S. Rep. Andy Barr who held off a strong challenge by Democrat Amy McGrath to keep Kentucky’s 6th Congressional District seat.
Barr, who held a rally with President Donald Trump in Richmond and unleashed a barrage of attack ads against McGrath, was soundly defeated in his hometown of Lexington while voters in Madison and more rural counties carried him to victory.
Barr will represent a deeply divided district in a deeply divided country. It will be interesting to see if this close call motivates him toward the middle or reinforces his loyalty to Trump’s extremism.
Barr got his fourth term in Congress off to a good start Tuesday night by striking a conciliatory tone in his victory speech. He acknowledged the deep divisions in the country, reached out to McGrath supporters and vowed to “do everything in my power to find common ground with your concerns.” He didn’t even mention Trump, but instead extolled his staff, campaign crew and the people, industries and natural beauty of the 6th District.
Despite her military credentials, McGrath — a post-9/11 fighter pilot and retired Marine lieutenant colonel — failed to make her hoped-for inroads in rural areas. Even after Barr labeled her “too liberal for Kentucky,” she stuck to her pledge to run a positive campaign without attacking her opponent.
It wasn’t pretty, but Barr did what it took to win. We wish him well.
The Daily Independent of Ashland on a newsletter that contains information about rural America:
A Harvard University research newsletter distributed in late October contained a ton of valuable information that is relevant to all who live in rural America.
The research summary is called “What matters to rural Americans” and is available to the public through the Harvard Kennedy School Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy. In articles by Chloe Reichel, the author summarizes a survey of 1,300 rural Americans called Life in Rural America and notes that two very important issues rise to the forefront for what people care about: the economy and the opioid epidemic.
“According to survey results, 25 percent of respondents named drug addiction or abuse as the biggest problem facing their community. Economic concerns were listed as the biggest problem by 21 percent of respondents. (Poll co-director Robert J. Blendon) also noted that while opioid misuse is often thought to impact just a few rural states, the poll found that concerns about opioid use were widespread across all of rural America.”
Healthcare services are a very important priority to rural Americans as well. Rural Americans tend to have far less access to doctors than people in urban areas do.
“While rural populations tend to have lower diagnosis rates of early-stage cancers than their urban counterparts, they have higher rates of being diagnosed with later-stage cancers. This helps to explain why rural areas have higher cancer mortality rates than urban areas, despite lower overall cancer incidence rates.”
We find this newsletter to be a very valuable resource in large part because we believe it to be accurate. The economy, opioid epidemic, and healthcare. These are the top priorities for the rural communities of the United States. It serves as a blueprint for priorities in bettering our communities.
We also found in the research a positive fact that we agree with as well — that despite the negative headlines and reports to be found about the state of rural America today, rural Americans don’t see it that way. Citing the Life in Rural America survey, Reichel wrote:
“Despite the problems facing rural Americans, many participants were optimistic about their lives, and valued specific aspects of rural life. In terms of overall expectations, most rural Americans say their lives have turned out either better than they expected (41 percent) or about like they expected (42 percent), while only 15 percent say their lives have turned out worse than they expected.”