Journal-Times (Grayson, KY)


October 31, 2012

Sen. David Williams was a game changer

Oct. 31, 2012 — When David Williams was elected to the Kentucky Senate in 1987, his Republican Party held only eight of 38 seats.

When Williams left the Senate last Friday to become a circuit judge, the GOP held a 23-15 majority and he had been Senate president for 13 eventful years.

Despite the fact his political foes called him “the bully of Burkesville,” Williams emerged without question as the most powerful man in Frankfort.

He dominated state politics but could not turn his legislative influence into enough votes to take the governor’s office from Gov. Steve Beshear.

Williams, no doubt helped by influence and funding from U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, returned the General Assembly to a two-party system for the first time in nearly 90 years.

Hailed by both parties as a gifted legislative strategist, Williams used the sheer force of his will at times to alter the course of public policy in the Commonwealth.

His unwillingness to yield on fiscal matters resulted in three biennial budget deadlocks and he kept casino gambling from coming to a floor vote in the Senate until this year when it failed 16-21 in a vote largely along party lines.

We agree with the assessment of John David Dyche, a Louisville attorney and columnist for The Courier-Journal, who was quoted as saying Williams “has probably been the Republican in state government with the stiffest spine since Louie Nunn.”

Williams first rallied his Senate Republican colleagues to a protracted battle in 2002 when he triggered a budget deadlock over a few million dollars to fund public financing of gubernatorial elections.

Senate Republicans called the program “welfare for politicians”. Democrats later dropped the idea.

Williams strongly opposed legislation to allow expanded gambling designed to benefit the horse industry.

He consistently rejected accusations from Beshear and the industry that he never gave the issue a fair chance to get on the ballot as a constitutional amendment.

Text Only
  • Robbing Peter, Paul, and everyone else

    We intended that headline to read “Robbing Peter to pay Paul” but that was not broad enough to include all of the Kentuckians who pay into special funds that Gov. Steve Beshear again had to confiscate to balance the state’s budget.

    July 30, 2014

  • Five years and counting on Saturday mail

    It was five years ago when that marvel of fiscal management, the U. S. Postal Service (USPS), announced it would end Saturday mail delivery within six months.

    July 23, 2014

  • Yes, girls can become scientists, engineers

    We applaud the television commercials sponsored by Verizon which gently but effectively rebuke those among us who discourage girls and young women from careers in science, technology and mathematics.

    July 16, 2014

  • High court right on mobile phone ruling

    We don’t always agree with the rulings of the U. S. Supreme Court which is often divided with multiple opinions. But, for the moment, we feel better about the high court because of its recent ruling on searching mobile phones.

    July 9, 2014

  • Would we pay the same high price today?

    As we Americans take a day off from work on Friday to mark the 238th birthday of our country, can we find a few moments to reflect on those who made it happen?

    July 2, 2014

  • Trading Saturday mail for roads is a hoax

    Just when we thought all of the idiotic ideas had emerged from the current Congress, along came another doozy. A Republican leader in the U.S. House of Representatives proposed that Saturday mail delivery be ended and the resulting savings be used to fix roads and bridges across America.

    June 25, 2014

  • Is history repeating itself in Iraq?

    If last week’s news from Iraq left you with a sense of déjà vu, you are not alone. “Déjà vu” is defined as “disagreeable familiarity or sameness” and that certainly fits what appears to be the emergence of another Islamic militant group which took control of two major cities in Iraq.

    June 18, 2014

  • Technology bringing closure to MIA families

    After 58 years in an unmarked grave in a military cemetery in Hawaii, a Kentucky soldier came home last Saturday to his family and a final resting place in his native soil.

    June 11, 2014

  • New state veterans leader a great choice

    Some may criticize Gov. Steve Beshear for appointing former Miss America Heather French Henry as commissioner of Kentucky's Department of Veterans Affairs.

    June 4, 2014

  • As is, Rupp Arena project not worth saving

    When the General Assembly decided last month not to allow state bonds to be used to help fund the Rupp Arena renovation, we said it was unfair because Louisville got state money for the KFC Yum Center four years earlier.

    May 28, 2014