Governor Ernie Fletcher’s Communications Office
Statement From Governor Ernie Fletcher

Press Release Date:  Saturday, July 14, 2007  
Contact Information:  Jodi Whitaker

“An obstructionist attitude such as the one House Speaker Jody Richards has displayed over the past several weeks, most recently with a letter requesting a trip to meet with Peabody’s CEO, is not productive when negotiating with potential billion-dollar investors for Kentucky.

“On June 1, a day after a meeting I had with House leadership, Speaker Jody Richards was quoted in the Courier-Journal as saying ‘I'm never too much for special sessions, but this one seems to be important in terms of some economic development.’

“On June 6, a Herald-Leader article cited Speaker Richards as saying he did not believe a special session was needed.

“On July 5, Speaker Richards and the House Democrats acted unconstitutionally when they voted to walk out on the special session.

“A Courier-Journal article Friday reported the Speaker as saying he will not rule out returning to Frankfort to pass energy incentives.

“Today on Newsmakers, Speaker Richards said he will walk out again when the session resumes on July 30.

“While Speaker Richards is talking about the unprecedented and unwise policy of having legislators negotiate business deals for the state, he has made a dogmatic statement that he is not coming back to pass the only legislation that has potential to attract this investment to Kentucky.

“If Peabody views another meeting with me, my staff and/or members of the legislature as constructive, I will be glad to accommodate them. It is important to repeat that Peabody has clearly stated they will not consider Kentucky without these incentives, and they are making their decision well before the January session. They will not make a multi billion-dollar decision based on a letter. The House only needs to convene for three days to vote on legislation that passed the Senate with bipartisan support this past Monday.

“I hope Speaker Richards will reconsider his decision for Kentucky and do his duty to allow his members to vote on this opportunity. I again call on individual members of the House to return to Frankfort and pass these important incentives – incentives which will bring opportunity and jobs for all of Kentucky.”