Rep. James Comer - back for Fancy Farm Picnic was touring River Counties
(Clinton, KY) First District Representative James Comer is back in the Purchase for the premier political event in the Commonwealth's calendar - the Fancy Farm Picnic. While he's in the area, Comer is making the rounds of the counties on the farthest end of his district.
On this Tuesday, he started his day at a WAVE meeting with Ballard, Carlisle, Fulton and Hickman leaders. His theme was regionalism. In the past, Comer recognized that counties competed with each other for state attention, jobs and industries. WAVE is the first program in memory that truly concentrates the power of the four Mississippi River Counties with shared goals.
Comer then made a stop at New Pathways in Graves County, a private enterprise housing children who've been removed from their parents. Then it was on to visit Hickman County. With County Judge Kenny Wilson, Comer toured the newest property acquisition by the Hickman County Economic Development Board. Using money from TVA, a program that allocates taxes that TVA would pay to county projects in its service area, the county purchased acreage along the north south rail line as a manufacturing site. Wilson also took Comer to a local hemp field. Comer was on the hemp bandwagon long before others jumped on.
Comer and Wilson saw areas that local farmers could not plant because a rainy spring and lengthy flooding kept under water until it was too late to plant. It is estimated between 8000 and 9000 acres went unplanted this year. That's an all time high.
When interviewed in Judge Wilson's office, Comer discussed the problems facing area farmers: the tariff wars that are hurting soybean farmers and the flooding of farm land.
The tariffs are being mitigated for farmers by rounds of funding from President Trump. "The farmers are smiling" said Comer.
The tariff war with China is of particular concern and Comer predicts no settlement before the American presidential election in November 2020. The two presidents, Xi and Trump, have dug in and are making claims about not caring if a settlement is reached.
Comer said of those affected, soybean growers are most hurt.
He is hopeful that the US-Mexico-Canada treaty will help. He also thinks that bilateral contracts with Britain and other individual countries will alleviate the pain that the Chinese trade war is creating. He sees USMCA (US-Mexico-Canada Agreement) as a win for Kentucky, contrasting it with NAFTA which was a clear loss. Comer said that companies were practically rewarded for moving manufacturing to Mexico.
Infrastructure is a question that clearly frustrates the Congressman. "Everybody agrees we need infrastructure but no one agrees what that means." For urban legislators, infrastructure means high speed rail and airports. For rural legislators, infrastructure means roads and high speed internet. While there are multiple infrastructure bills filed, Comer isn't hopeful. The bottom line in 2019 Congress seems to be "We can't agree."
As far as the Fancy Farm Political Speaking, Comer is enthusiastic. "I love it."