Obama Initiative Earns Rare Kudos From Kentucky Republicans

Jan 10, 2014

President Obama’s Promise Zone program has produced a rare moment of agreement between the president and the state’s Washington delegation.

It might be the first time Sens. Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul, as well as Rep. Hal Rogers, have found themselves lining up to support an initiative introduced by President Obama.

In an announcement Thursday, the president identified a group of southeastern Kentucky counties as one of two rural zones that will now be at the front of the line when it comes to getting federal dollars for education and other needs.

"We're encouraged that the president is finally, finally focused on a concrete approach to jobs that members of both parties can support," Sen. McConnell said Thursday, tempering his remarks with a familiar criticism of the president’s policies. "There is no doubt that Eastern Kentucky is a region that has suffered enormous hardship in recent years, much of it unfortunately related to the very same Obama administration's war on coal families."

McConnell and Paul have introduced a measure called the Economic Freedom Zones Act, which would allow areas to apply for a status that would limit some government regulations and taxes, while instituting education and other reforms.