Mongiardo right choice for Kentucky



Column by Tim Pearce

On May 18, when the stress of finals has passed, both Democrats and Republicans will vote in their respective primaries to choose their party’s nominee for the 2010 U.S. Senate race.

Considering his positions on important issues, his long record of achievement and the refreshing way he is running his campaign, Lt. Gov. Dan Mongiardo is the best candidate to represent Kentucky in the U.S. Senate.

On issues related to the economy and job creation, Mongiardo has risen above the usual rhetoric (duh, everyone supports small business tax credits). He has outlined a plan taking advantage of Kentucky’s unique resources, dividing Kentucky’s economy into components such as health care and energy.

Dr. Mongiardo, a UK graduate, lost a brother because of inadequate health care and since then has dedicated himself to fixing the health care system. He is a practicing surgeon in Eastern Kentucky, where he opened a free care clinic.

Most importantly, Dr. Mongiardo supported the recent health care legislation as a good first step, but recognizes that real health care reform must pay for itself.

He understands adding millions of people to a broken system will only make problems worse, and a lot of work still exists.

For years, he has been working to significantly reduce health care costs, not just talking about it. He is a national leader in advancing “e-health,” which digitizes patients’ medical records, saving billions of dollars a year and improving care.

Dr. Mongiardo also seems to be the only candidate recognizing Kentucky’s potential role in a comprehensive national energy policy.

Just like the Midwest is harnessing its wind and the Southwest is capturing its solar energy, Kentucky must take advantage of its natural resources. His plan would develop two cutting-edge industries right here in Kentucky: Coal-to-fuel and bio-fuel.

First, building coal-to-fuel plants would provide fuel that burns cleaner than petroleum while creating thousands of jobs that can’t be shipped overseas.

Second, Kentucky’s climate and land make it uniquely suitable to grow crops like miscanthus.

When miscanthus is blended with coal for energy use, the mixture burns CO2 neutral. Currently, an economical substitute for coal does not exist, which is why it must be a part of the entire solution.

Ultimately, Dr. Mongiardo is a moderate Democrat who takes controversial issues and searches for common ground. He bases his decisions on facts, not polls.

Dr. Mongiardo was the only statewide elected official to endorse Barack Obama for president in the primaries, and Obama even campaigned for Dr. Mongiardo in 2004.

While the two have a positive ongoing relationship, this has not kept Dr. Mongiardo from standing up to the president on issues such as energy policy.

Having interned for Dr. Mongiardo in the Lt. Gov.’s office and subsequently volunteering with his campaign, I have developed an enormous amount of respect for him.

The way he interacts with people, makes decisions and runs a campaign all speak to his character.

Between Dr. Mongiardo and his primary opponent, it is a classic battle of people v. money. Average Kentuckians v. special interests.

It is no coincidence that Dr. Mongiardo has built the largest volunteer field organization in Kentucky’s history, while his opponent has instead focused on TV ads. Dr. Mongiardo loves this state and especially its people, and he has the capacity to move our state forward.

Whether you’re a Democrat or Republican, I hope you’ll seriously consider supporting Dan Mongiardo. We need his insight, experience and dedication in Washington. Please contact me if you’d like to get involved. Otherwise, have a great summer.