U.S. Senate candidate Amy McGrath (Dem.) traveled to Owensboro Saturday to talk about restoring democracy, her plan for rebuilding Kentucky and — with the Nov. 3 election just weeks away — her hopes to defeat incumbent and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
A crowd of more than 100 supporters carrying election signs and donning masks gathered at the Daviess County Democratic Headquarters to hear the former Marine fighter pilot speak.
McGrath, who has spent the last few weeks traversing the state to speak with and hear from Kentucky residents, made several mentions of her opponent throughout the event. She highlighted the need for term limits in the U.S. Senate as one of her many qualms against McConnell’s decades-long service as a senator representing Kentucky.
“Our country is in peril. Kentucky is in peril. You know that 36 years is long enough,” she said. “You know that Kentucky can do so much better. The country deserves better and Kentucky deserves better.”
McGrath said as a young girl growing up in northern Kentucky, she never dreamed she’d be running for political office. But in wanting to serve her country to the best of her ability, she was drawn toward politics after her military career ended.
“I just had this crazy dream to fly fighter jets and serve my country. I wanted to do that, but I had to fight to get the ability to serve the country,” she said. “I had to learn about government and politics at a young age. Because that job was closed off to me as a young girl.”
McGrath said she sent a letter to McConnell, who was a U.S. Senator when she was 12 years old, about changing the law against female fighter pilots, and that he never wrote her back.
But she didn’t quit, she said. She asked other politicians to change the law. During her senior year of high school, more women were elected to Congress than ever before, and President Bill Clinton took office.
“Within several months of his inauguration, Congress had rescinded that obscure law,” she said. “That was my first understanding of politics and government. The fact that we needed leaders that would always open doors, that would always fight for regular people.”
McGrath detailed her plan for Kentucky moving forward, saying she wanted to rebuild the state she believed in. She acknowledged Kentucky’s increasing COVID-19 numbers and the racial tensions that have plagued the state in recent months, along with the poor health and lack of high-paying jobs in the Commonwealth for years.
“If you don’t have a plan for Kentucky, where are you going? You’re going nowhere. Mitch McConnell doesn’t have a plan for Kentucky. He doesn’t look at the future,” she said. “For years we’ve had our signature industries in Kentucky on the decline.”
McGrath said her plan for rebuilding Kentucky included focusing on infrastructure — building better highways, roadways, bridges — as well as increasing broadband internet across the entire state.
She said access to broadband internet was desperately needed in Kentucky — not just because of the number of students forced into distance-learning without reliable internet, but to bring better-paying jobs and businesses to the Commonwealth.
McGrath also said her plan included immediate aid to Kentuckians suffering from unemployment and COVID-19-related health and economic issues.
“I would have said that a year ago, and we didn’t even have a national crisis then,” she said.
Fixing the state’s and nation’s healthcare system was another part of McGrath’s plan, including working with both parties to address the flaws of Obamacare — something she said was just one of many imperfect pieces of legislation that had been passed over time.
“We’re Americans. We fix things. We make them better,” she said. “We don’t run away from them for political reasons, just to spite the last administration, of somebody from another party.”