US Senate candidates campaign at festival

By: Marcus Conroy Email
By: Marcus Conroy Email

Hundreds of thousands of people from all over the country were in Pikeville on Saturday for the 34th Hillbilly Days Festival.

One tradition of the festival is Stump Speaking, which allows people running for public office a platform to campaign for three minutes.

This year, several US Senate candidates took advantage of this opportunity, including Democrats Jack Conway and Daniel Mongiardo.

"It's always great to be back at Hillbilly Days," Conway said.

"People are having fun. It's a beautiful day. Not too hot, not too cold," Mongiardo said.

Both candidates discussed several topics, including health care reform, unemployment, and the future of coal.

During his speech, Mongiardo said Conway supports legislature that would restrict coal mining, a charge Conway strongly denies.

"Coal's been under attack, and I'm someone who's against cap and trade. I want to go up there and invest in cleaner coal technologies for the future of the industry," Conway said.

"We need to decrease our dependence on foreign oil, and increase coal. We can increase national security, we can create thousands of jobs, including in eastern Kentucky," Mongiardo said.

They have their disagreements, but one thing all four US Senate candidates want is a chance to change Washington.

"We're still where we were in relation to poverty, still where we were as in health issues. There are already elected officials, and nothing has changed," Democratic candidate Maurice Sweeney said.

"We don't need to make a left turn. We don't need to make a right turn. We need to make a u-turn to god," Republican candidate John Stephenson said.

"I want to make Kentucky the place we all know that it is. We live in the best state, we have the best people, but our state has not lived up to its potential," Mongiardo said.

"If the people with this region vote me in, I will never ever forget who sent me to Washington," Conway said.

The primary elections will be on May 18.

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