HAZARD, Ky. (WYMT)- Below you will find WYMT's complete coverage of Alison Lundergan Grimes and former President Bill Clinton's campaign stop in Hazard, KY on Wednesday. Keep check back in as we update this throughout the evening.
Clinton says Grimes is best choice for Eastern Kentucky
by Tanner Hesterberg August 6, 2014 6:00 p.m.
All eyes are on Kentucky today as the highly touted campaign by United States Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes came to Hazard. Former President Bill Clinton once again made the trip to Kentucky to support the woman challenging 30 year incumbent Mitch McConnell.
President Clinton touched on a number of topics Eastern Kentuckians care about and he talked about his visit to Hazard 15 years ago. He says the legislation he touted in Hazard 15 years ago has really helped the region.
President Bill Clinton appeared with Senate hopeful Alison Lundergan Grimes and touted the “New Market” tax credit, which he lobbied for in Hazard in 1999.
The former president said, “It was the last great economic initiative for small town and rural America and we did it in a bipartisan fashion. This all started in Hazard KY so I want you to listen. By 2012 under this law there had been 31 billion dollars in investments in areas with unemployment above the national average and incomes below the national average.”
Clinton says Grimes is the best choice for Eastern Kentuckians. As Grimes took the stage she touted her ability to reach across the aisle. She said in her speech, “I am the Kentucky candidate who will forge relations and bipartisan alliances to make sure we restore coal to its rightful place as a prime American export and having a fundamental place in our national energy policy.”
Grimes and Clinton delivered their speeches surrounded by members of the United Mine Workers of America, who recently endorsed Grimes in the Senate race.
Clinton also spent a bit of time in his speech talking about his relationship with former Kentucky Senator Wendell Ford and the compromises they made and battles they had.
Grimes and Clinton address capacity crowd at Hazard Forum
By: Morgan Lentes August 6, 2014 6:00 p.m.
Members of the Grimes campaign tell us the fire marshal had to shut the doors on the Forum in Hazard.
Dozens if not hundreds of people were stuck outside and turned away from attending the event.
Fire Chief Sam Stacy told us the room where Grimes and Clinton spoke could hold about 800 people. And that's just folks in the chairs. During the campaign event, that auditorium was standing room only.
From beginning to end, audience members showed their support for U.S. Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes. Johnny Smith, a coal miner from Western Kentucky told us, “It was a good event and I think everyone here enjoyed it. Everyone here can see the new future for Kentucky with her.”
But maybe the biggest cheers of the afternoon came when former President Bill Clinton took the stage.
Melissa Qullan of Hazard was excited to see the former president, saying “I remember when he was here in 99 but I was a little bit young to appreciate it, not so much now.”
Fans of Clinton and Grimes, some local and some not, waved signs and clapped repeatedly in support of who they hope will be their next U.S. Senator.
President of the United Mine Workers, Cecil Roberts said, “We need a senator that's going to be with us for a long time, fight for us every single day and that's why we endorsed her.”
Dozens of coal miners from across Kentucky came to today's event on behalf of the United Mine Workers.
Now Senator Mitch McConnell's campaign released this statement today.
"It must not have occurred to Alison Lundergan Grimes that after Barack Obama declared the war on coal, he named the building tasked with executing his mission after the man she's bringing to Eastern Kentucky. Evidently she doesn't think Eastern Kentuckians can execute a basic Google search to reveal that Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, and now Alison Lundergan Grimes have every intention of continuing to attack their way of life."
Once we looked more in depth into those claims, we learned the House and Senate both voted and approved legislation to re-name the Washington D. C. EPA building after Clinton.
The vote occured in December of 2012 and President Obama signed off on it May of 2013.
Grimes-McConnell race garnering national attention
By: Matthew Rand August 6, 2014 6:00 p.m.
It is a race getting nationwide attention. Grimes is looking to unseat Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in November. We talked to a Yahoo News political reporter about why this race is so appealing.
Former President Bill Clinton drew big crowds Wednesday, including one man who drove more than seven hours from Alabama to support Alison Grimes.
Mike Weathers from Florence, Alabama told us, “This is a critical election from a national standpoint, so those of us across the country are going to be impacted by what happens in this election.”
The event drew national media as well in a race where incumbent McConnell faces a tough reelection bid. Meredith Shiner is a political reporter for Yahoo News. She said the stakes in this race are high, “It has national party implications. When you have someone that's so involved in trying to craft a strategy for the party at large, I think there's a lot of interest in both sides.”
And adding a former president to the mix makes the national interest that much stronger.
Not to be outdone Senator Mitch McConnell will be holding a rally of his own tomorrow in Middlesboro. WYMT will provide coverage of that event as well.
15 Years Later: A look back at Bill Clinton’s 1999 visit to Hazard
By; Steve Hensley August 6, 2014 6:00 p.m.
Fifteen years ago, Bill Clinton was the first and only sitting president to visit downtown Hazard. WYMT also carried that event live. He was promoting his new markets initiative, but times have changed since he came through the region in 1999.
On a hot July day in 1999 President Bill Clinton gave a speech on Main Street in Hazard. It was just hours after visiting the small town of Tyner in Jackson County. So much has happened since then.
It was before 9-11, before the War in Iraq, and the economy was strong. However, the president was trying to prove that certain parts of the country like Appalachia were still lagging behind.
Clinton in his speech said, “This is a time to bring more jobs and investment and hope to the areas of our country that have not fully participated in this economic recovery. We have an obligation to do it.”
Clinton was joined on stage by a host of dignitaries, including Reverend Jesse Jackson and the late Hazard Mayor Bill Gorman.
He ended his speech with the hope that folks would not just remember how hot they were.
“I hope you will remember that it was the beginning of a new sense of renewal for this region and for all the people in our country to go forward together... Thank you and God bless you”
Tight security in place as former President Clinton joins Grimes on campaign stop
By: Matthew Rand August 6, 2014 4:00 p.m.
Whenever a former or sitting U.S. president comes to town you can bet a lot of folks will be there to hear what they have to say. Today was no different as form President Bill Clinton joined Alison Lundergan Grimes on a campaign stop at the Forum in Hazard. Officials say they are taking every precaution to make sure everyone is safe.
Safety officers with the Hazard Police Department were out as early as 10 am Wednesday, directing traffic into the Hal Rogers Forum. Chief Minor Allen told us, “Basically I've got all my officers out here today and you know they're going to be providing security. Not only here on the lot but on the roadway as well.”
Kentucky state police brought in bomb-sniffing dogs to secure the area. Chief Allen says they are working closely with the secret service and local agencies will be helping as well. He said, “Public safety is our main concern, that no one is injured or hurt in any way.”
Folks we talked to say the beefed up security provides them with peace of mind. Student Zoey Mills said, “Hazard, Kentucky is a really small town. So you know they're taking good precautions so that nothing does happen.”
Chief Allen told us earlier how he remembers the last time President Bill Clinton came to Hazard back in 1999. He says more than 100 Capitol Police Officers came from Washington D.C. to help run security then.