Hurray for Mitch McConnell!!!

OK, OK, don’t worry, fellow progressives and Democrats.  I haven’t gone over to the dark side.  I will be enthusiastically supporting the Democratic nominee for Kentucky’s U.S. Senate seat in 2014.

However, I think it is very, very important to congratulate any public official who does the right thing, even when we might disagree with him/her on other major issues.  And when it comes to industrial hemp, Senator Mitch McConnell made a statement that I believe will have long term, very positive implications for the struggling economy of the Bluegrass State, as well as potentially tremendous environmental benefits for the planet.

From the press release of Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Jamie Comer (who deserves plenty of kudos himself for his leadership on this issue:

MCCONNELL SUPPORTS INDUSTRIAL HEMP;
PAUL, YARMUTH, MASSIE TO TESTIFY WITH COMER;
NORTHERN KENTUCKY CHAMBER ENDORSES SB 50

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Today, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell issued a statement of support for Agriculture Commissioner James Comer and the effort to re-introduce industrial hemp into Kentucky agriculture. Leader McConnell’s office issued the following statement:

“After long discussions with Senator Rand Paul and Commissioner James Comer on the economic benefits of industrialized hemp, I am convinced that allowing its production will be a positive development for Kentucky’s farm families and economy. Commissioner Comer has assured me that his office is committed to pursuing industrialized hemp production in a way that does not compromise Kentucky law enforcement’s marijuana eradication efforts or in any way promote illegal drug use. The utilization of hemp to produce everything from clothing to paper is real, and if there is a capacity to center a new domestic industry in Kentucky that will create jobs in these difficult economic times, that sounds like a good thing to me.”

Comer expressed enormous gratitude for McConnell’s support:

“When the most powerful Republican in the country calls to discuss your issue, that’s a good day on the job,” Comer said.

“Leader McConnell’s support adds immeasurable strength to our efforts to bring good jobs to Kentucky.”

In unprecedented bi-partisan cooperation, U.S. Reps. John Yarmuth and Thomas Massie are confirmed to testify alongside U.S. Senator Rand Paul and Commissioner Comer in support of Senate Bill 50, state Senator Paul Hornback’s legislation on industrial hemp.

“Our federal delegation is showing tremendous leadership,” Comer said. “They recognize this is not a partisan issue. It’s about jobs. And we will continue to push forward to make sure Kentucky is first in line for them.”

Adding to this momentum, the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce today voted unanimously to support SB 50 after hearing arguments on its behalf from state Senate Majority Leader Damon Thayer and Senator Hornback. The Lexington-Fayette Urban County Council is also expected to pass a resolution endorsing the industrial hemp initiative today.
SB 50 will be heard in the Senate Agriculture Committee on Feb. 11, 2013 at 11 a.m. EST.

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