Jack Conway's latest drug abuse roundtable is Wednesday in Louisville. It continues what has been the theme of the Democratic Senate candidate's campaign for the last month, that Republican opponent Rand Paul is "soft on crime" and that Paul's urge to limit federal involvement in local drug abuse efforts would hamper partnerships currently in place in Kentucky, especially in poorer counties that rely on federal tax dollars.
In mid-August, Paul was quoted by the AP: "I don't think it's a real pressing issue. They're socially conservative out there, so am I. Jack's not. They're fiscally conservative. I am. Jack's not. … I think we'll swamp him."
Paul has since insisted that he believes drug abuse is a serious problem, but that other issues are driving the race.
A Conway campaign news release says he will be joined at The Healing Place by Charlie Horton of the Jefferson County Attorney's Office, Tony King of the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department and former DEA officer, LMPD's Stanley Salyards, President of the Kentucky Narcotics Officers Association and Joni Jenkins, Kentucky State Representative, 44th District (D).
Conway has conducted similar roundtables and amplified the drug abuse issue at no fewer than ten campaign events in the last month, in addition to campaign ads in which Kentucky sheriffs who support Conway mock Paul's views.
When Conway appeared at a Wolfe County roundtable in late August, Paul countered with an appearance at a faith-based facility in western Kentucky:
Conway's campaign has also publicized Paul's comment during a 2008 appearance on KET in which he said, ".....things that are non-violent shouldn't be against the law.”
While Conway says such a standard would decriminalize serious offenses such as drug use, burglary and prostitution, Paul says the ad deliberately twists his quote out of context, that he was talking about "motorcycle helmets, gambling and the lottery," and that he is opposed to changing any current laws against other non-violent crimes.