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McCracken County Dem Dinner - BBQ and Politickin'
Democrats from McCracken to Livingston County to Fulton County over to Calloway, Trigg and Hickman showed up for the Alben Barkley Democratic Dinner at the American Legion Hall in Paducah on Friday evening. Backwoods Barbecue supplied the eats. According to McCracken County Dem Committee member, Ron Morgan, the turnout was good. He said that during May there are so many competing events, "we don't know if we'll have ten or a hundred". This get together looked closer to a hundred.

County Attorney Dan Boaz who serves as McCracken County Democratic Executive Committee Chair, served as moderator. County Judge Van Newberry was on hand to present an award to Robert A. Coleman. He joked to Coleman after reading a letter from Mayor Bill Paxton that "Bill really likes you, Robert." (see related story)

Lt. Governor Dan Mongiardo was the keynote speaker. Opponent in a primary upcoming in 2010 for US Senator Attorney General Jack Conway was on hand to shake hands and make a few remarks about his accomplishments as AG since his election in 2008. He spoke of working with online sites, MySpace and FaceBook, to protect young people from sexual predators. Last year, MySpace took 90,000 sexual offenders off their site. "Those were the dumb ones who used their registry email addresses" he said.

He told the crowd that when he was young, his parents warned him about predators at the local mall. Facebook and MySpace are the new malls and they are more difficult for parents to police. He also said he has spoken to 15,000 students, trying to make them understand that the cute poses they put online now will be searched out by college recruiters and potential employers later.

The AG just got an injunction against the "annoying" auto extended warranty dealers and will be going after offenders. 

In a shot at his opponent, he told the crowd that "Dan's theory is that health care is key to everything."  Conway said he will take a wider approach. His focus will be on the economy, education, looking at the Federal Trade Commission and the antitrust people who allowed companies to become "too big to fail".

Conway left before Mongiardo gave the keynote speech. He asked the crowd to excuse his leaving early because his wife, seven months pregnant, hadn't seen him in a week.

Lt. Governor Mongiardo began by repeating his reasons for entering medicine - the death of his older brother, Dominick, who lived only a month after he was born. The death of a child in an Italian family, especially the firstborn son, had a big impact on his family. His mother was only seventeen at the time.  She died of cancer at 47.

Mongiardo went to medical school at McGill in Montreal and went back to Hazard, Kentucky, eventually becoming chief of staff at the Applachian Regional Hospital - the successor hospital to the one where his brother died.  He ran for state senate because the changes he thought needed to be made couldn't be made on a local level.

He said that partisanship will not solve problems and worked with Senate President David Williams in co-sponsoring Senate Bill 2 which began the process of moving medical care from paper to computers. 

Mongiardo believes passionately that health care is key to fixing the economy.  He sees Kentucky as a laying the foundation to be a model for the nation in health care. He envisioned a Manhattan Project approach.  And it had better be soon - he predicts that in 2017, the system will crash.  "There will be no money to pay Lourdes or Western Baptist" he said. On other issues, he told the crowd that we must bring coal into the 21st century. Coal to liquid is a national security must. Having resources will keep the Middle East from dictating to the US. He doesn't dismiss solar, wind and alternative energies, but does not believe they will replace coal in the near future. 

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