Conway on Utilities Inc. Rate Increase: "We will do our job."
Attorney General Jack Conway was in Paducah for the Alben Barkley Democratic Dinner on Friday evening. I was able to ask him a few questions before the evening program started.
Q: I saw a quote recently on a blog that seemed like a “Duh”. You are quoted as saying that you would prefer running against Jim Bunning. That sounds so obvious that I had to ask you about it.
Conway: “I think the voters of Kentucky are ready for a new generation of leadership. Voters throughout the commonwealth – our senior citizens who we need to take care of, our people who are their prime earning years and our young people who have their own aspirations. All are ready for new leadership. The point I made in an interview with WHAS was that the contrast between what I represent and what Senator Bunning represents will be really stark. That’s the reason I want to make that argument.
Q: If you’re running against Trey Grayson, what’s your theory? Because you can’t make that contrast, you and Trey are similar ages and similar backgrounds.
Conway: If I am the nominee of the Dem party, it would be a tremendous honor to carry the banner of what we are now and what we are becoming- a big tent party representing various interests throughout the American spectrum. I would relish the opportunity to debate Trey if he were to be the nominee.
This is a hypothetical question. It would be plainly apparent that we would be electing somebody who could go into the majority, have some clout, really make a difference for the Commonwealth. That would be part of the argument and it would also be an argument of issues- how do we grow the economy, how do we create jobs, what’s the future of Kentucky look like? I would be happy to have that argument against Trey Grayson. That’s all speculative because Rand Paul is exploring the race, Connie Bailey is exploring the race. So it’s premature to say that Trey Grayson will be the candidate.”
Q: The Attorney General is representing Clinton in the Utilities Inc. rate increase case. What do you know about the case?
Conway: “We intervene on behalf of the rate payers. Our statutory responsibility is to do all that we can to make sure that our utilities have a decent rate of return but the ratepayer is protected with the lowest possible rate for the ratepayer. That will be my guiding principle whether it be Clinton or some other rate case."
Q: We all know that state government is out of money. Will the Attorney General have the money to hire an expert to refute Utilities Inc.'s experts?
Conway: “Yes. I have a budget that is not all I need it to be. I need more money to hire expert witnesses. I am beating down on the expert witnesses for them to charge us lower rates. I am trying to stretch our dollars as far as they can go.
We’ve taken about a 20% budget cut since I took office as Attorney General, but I’ve still managed to handle the case load. We used to have thirteen personnel in the Office of Rate Intervention. Now we’re down to five. But we will do our job.”