Continuing to Help Kentucky Punch Above Its Weight


I’ve been honored to serve as U.S. Senator for Kentucky longer than anyone else in the Commonwealth’s history. And for nearly two decades, I’ve also had the privilege of leading my colleagues as Senate Republican Leader. While my responsibilities as Leader change with each shift in the Senate’s balance of power, my job on behalf of my home state has always stayed the same: ensuring Kentucky always punches above its weight. Some of my critics, both inside and outside Kentucky, would prefer that I stop using my influence to help my home state. My answer for them is short: No.


This spring, the Senate closed out our essential work of funding the government for this fiscal year, and I was proud to once again put Kentucky’s priorities at the center of the national discussion.


Our bipartisan legislation secures hundreds of millions of dollars for priorities crucial to Kentuckians and the rest of Middle America, including urgent funding to overhaul our aging roads, bridges, and riverports, which are the backbone of our rural economy; investments in clean, reliable water infrastructure; and resources to continue environmental cleanup efforts in Paducah.


Our bill puts more weight behind the fight to end the substance abuse epidemic, which has hollowed out communities across the Commonwealth. We’re tackling this crisis from all sides through prevention, treatment, and recovery, and we’re reinforcing state and local law enforcement with the tools they need to cut off the flow of illegal drugs at the source.


I’m especially proud that our bipartisan bill secures critical construction projects at each of Kentucky’s premier military installations, further solidifying their central role in our nation’s defense. These projects range from top-of-the-line operational capabilities at Fort Knox and Fort Campbell to resurrecting a long-overdue training range for the National Guard to paving the way for new missions at Blue Grass Army Depot. We’re also putting serious investments into the latest military tools and technologies that give our servicemembers the battlefield advantage they need to defend the nation.


At the local level, these projects will have a profound impact on our economy, creating jobs and spurring innovation. Nationally, investments like these are critical to meeting the global moment. For the first time since the Cold War, we face an era of great power competition: Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine; Iran-backed terrorism in Israel and violence in the Middle East; and growing competition with an increasingly hostile China, whose ruthless communist regime poses the greatest threat to our peace and prosperity. Meanwhile, our allies from Europe to the Indo-Pacific doubt America’s willingness to lead. Only through strength backed by investments in our own hard power can we address these threats.


Just as I have called on President Biden to do more to cultivate and exercise hard power, I will continue to disavow the notion that American strength is not worth the cost, that turning our back on the world is somehow pragmatic and in our own interest.


As I’ve said every time I get the chance, it’s clear to me that the threats facing America’s allies today are facing us too. We cannot pretend that America is immune from the consequences of war in Europe or chaos in the Middle East. And just as importantly, we cannot pull up the drawbridge and hope the order that has underpinned peace, prosperity, and stability for decades will endure without American leadership. The cost of inaction in the face of these growing threats will be far greater in American lives and tax dollars.  


Leaders are called to do more than pay lip service to these threats. Congress and the Administration must seriously address them with greater investments in our military capabilities and in our defense industrial capacity. In doing so, we also invest directly back into states like Kentucky and expand our manufacturing capacity to better meet the challenges of tomorrow.


I’m proud of what we accomplished so far this year, and I know most Kentuckians are pleased to have a Senator from our state with this kind of clout in Washington. The people of Kentucky deserve a leader who will do the hard work of legislating and vote ‘Yes’ when it counts for our state and our country. I have tried my best to do just that, and I will continue fighting for Kentucky as long as I have the privilege of serving in the Senate.


Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, is the U.S. Senate Republican Leader.

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