GOVERNOR SERIES: KELLY CRAFT
By Chelene Nightingale
Former United States Ambassador to the United Nations, Kelly Craft, recently visited her hometown of Glasgow for a special announcement at the new Craft Innovations Campus for the local Boys and Girls Club.
The Barren County Progress (BCP) sat down for a few minutes to discuss her gubernatorial campaign trail. The candidate declared her intentions to campaign for Kentucky’s highest office back in September 2022.
Since announcing her candidacy, she has broken fundraising records and spent more than $100,000 on television ads. However, some Kentucky voters are upset with the launch of attack ads against her leading opponent Daniel Cameron, labeling him as “an establishment teddy bear.” Kelly told BCP, “An outside entity produced those ads. I watched them for the first time on TV like everyone else. I had no knowledge of the ads.” In fact, a group called the Commonwealth PAC, not affiliated with the Craft campaign, produced the commercials.
The BCP wondered why President Trump endorsed Daniel Cameron over Kelly Craft since she worked under the Trump administration. Kelly Craft answered, “The question really should be answered by President Trump. What I can say is that I was the first female to ever serve as the United States Ambassador to Canada and I was appointed by President Trump. He later selected me as the UN Ambassador after Nikki Haley left the position.” Mrs. Craft continued, “I helped with finalizing the United States-Mexico-Canada deal (USMCA) which ended NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) and created jobs for Americans.” In a press conference back on October 1, 2018, Trump acknowledged her as he thanked the team who helped broker the agreement.
The Kentucky gubernatorial candidate mentioned her support of Trump’s Abraham Accords. On New Year’s Eve of 2020, then-US Ambassador Craft delivered a message to the UN regarding the peace agreement.
The following is an excerpt from her report:“While this body is eagerly endorsing two decades of dishonesty and division, the Trump administration is bringing nations together and bridging age-old divides between people through the Abraham Accords. Having just recently returned from Israel, I can attest that the Abraham Accords offer a real path toward reversing the tide of conflict and misunderstanding. In this instance, as in others, the world is moving forward while the UN is stuck in the past.”
After discussing Craft’s accomplishments under the Trump administration, BCP discussed the fentanyl problem in the Commonwealth. Kentucky is in the top 10 for fentanyl overdoses, unfortunately. American Addiction Centers ranks the Bluegrass state as the 3rd highest state for the opiate crisis. Kelly Craft agreed but stated it was a national crisis and required a strong team of like-minded governors working together to confront the dilemma.
The governor candidate warned that drug dealers needed harsher punishments. She further cautioned that the Communist Chinese Party needed to be stopped. Besides producing the majority of the deadly drugs, she said China is also the mass producer of pill presses. Craft believes the CCP has waged a war on America including stealing our intellectual property. “The CCP sanctioned Mike Pompeo and me for our work to make China accountable.”
The Craft campaign released a 30-second ad which promises, “Kelly vows a full court press to stop China in its tracks.” Craft also told BCP, “We will stop China from buying Kentucky farms. We will protect family farms in our state and offer incentives and financial literacy to help families keep their farms and earn a profit to continue.”
Kelly’s husband is Joe Craft, the President and Chief Executive Officer of Alliance Resource Partners, L.P. His company is the third largest coal producer in the United States. The coal industry is under attack by environmentalists, but Kentucky relies on the coal industry. Kelly Craft defended coal production, “My husband has created thousands of jobs. As a team, we know how to create employment for Kentuckians.”
The gubernatorial candidate segued into the topic of education, “We must change our education system. Once a student is a freshman in high school, they need to be presented with choices in life – trade school, vocational training, apprenticeship, community college, or attending a university. We need to implement these choices in the school system and make programs available.” She believes that if youth were better prepared, they will make better choices and be better equipped to succeed. She shared that she and her husband are very involved with giving to education. In fact, the Alice Lloyd College in Pippa Passes, Kentucky, hosted a dedication ceremony back in 2018 for naming the Joseph W. Craft III School of Business and Appalachian Leadership.
Many people have christened billionaire Joe Craft as “Kentucky’s most powerful non-elected politician.” He donated $500,000 to Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign in 2012. As a married couple, Joe and Kelly donated $2 million to the Trump campaign.
Allegedly the couple backed Marco Rubio for president, but switched to Donald Trump after Trump promised not to replace Congressman Paul Ryan nor Senator Mitch McConnell from their majority positions. Although the Crafts have a history of donations to national republican candidates, according to a Lexington newspaper, Joe Craft has donated more to democrats including to Andy Beshear’s first gubernatorial campaign. Moreover, Kelly Craft has stated in past public appearances that she is good friends with Mitch McConnell, Bill Gates, and Justin Trudeau.
BCP inquired about the Craft’s donations and associations. The republican candidate responded, “My husband and I are very fortunate, but we have never forgotten where we come from.” She also noted that competitor Daniel Cameron worked for Mitch McConnell in the past and received McConnell’s endorsement when he campaigned for the Office of Attorney General.
Although some Kentucky voters are concerned that Kelly Craft is a RINO (Republican in Name Only) who is too rich to understand their needs, Glasgow native Lisa See Brummett disagrees and supports Craft for governor. Lisa told BCP, “Kelly was one of the first people I met in seventh grade after my family moved here. We became instant friends and she was so good to me.” Kelly Craft definitely exudes charm and a warm heart, “I enjoy lifting people up and sharing my faith in God.”
Craft launched her campaign in her hometown of Glasgow. In her first commercial filmed in Barren County, Kelly described herself as “a Christian, a conservative, and a proud Kentuckian.” The commercial can be viewed on her campaign website: www.kellycraft.com. The campaign phone number is (859) 489-4818.