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Opinion – Mitch McConnell: We continue to help the Commonwealth of Kentucky punch above its weight – NKyTribune

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I have had the honor of serving as a U.S. Senator for Kentucky longer than anyone in the history of the Commonwealth. And for nearly twenty years, I also had the privilege of leading my colleagues as Republican Leader in the Senate. While my responsibilities as leader change with each shift in the Senate’s balance of power, my role on behalf of my home state has always remained the same: to ensure that 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 to them is short: No.

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

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

Senator McConnell (NKyTribune file)

Our bill puts more weight in the fight to end the substance abuse epidemic, which has decimated communities across the Commonwealth. We are tackling this crisis from all angles through prevention, treatment and recovery, and we are strengthening state and local law enforcement with the tools they need to shut off the flow of illegal drugs at the source.

I am especially proud that our bipartisan bill secures critical construction projects at each of Kentucky’s most important military installations, further strengthening their central role in our nation’s defense. These projects range from high-end operational capabilities at Fort Knox and Fort Campbell to reviving a long-awaited training series for the National Guard to paving the way for new missions at the Blue Grass Army Depot. We also invest seriously in the latest military tools and technologies that give our military the battlefield advantage they need to defend the nation.

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

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

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

Leaders are being called on to do more than pay lip service to these threats. Congress and the Administration must seriously address these problems with greater investments in our military capabilities and in our defense industrial capabilities. We also invest directly back in states like Kentucky and expand our production capacity to better meet the challenges of tomorrow.

I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished so far this year, and I know most Kentuckians are happy to have a senator from our state with this kind of influence in Washington. The people of Kentucky deserve a leader who will do the hard work of making laws and vote ‘yes’ when it counts for our state and our country. I have done my best to do just that, and I will continue to fight for Kentucky as long as I have the privilege of serving in the Senate.

Mitch McConnell, a Republican from Kentucky, is the Republican Leader of the US Senate.