Lt. Governor is Chamber guest speaker

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By Becky Cassell, Editor

Lt. Gov. Daniel Mongiardo says Kentucky's future is bright.

Mongiardo was the guest speaker at Thursday night's annual Campbellsville/Taylor County Chamber of Commerce banquet.

In addition to the Chamber's annual awards (see related story), new Board members were announced. They are Mark Carney, Pieter De Grez, Renay England, Susie Skaggs and Dr. Heather Wise. Those members rotating off the Board were Larry Bowen, Dr. Ben Cox, Tommy Hughes, Sue Ellen Knifley and David Alan Newton.

Outgoing president Laura Wilds was recognized, and incoming president Mike Judd was introduced.

In his speech following dinner, Mongiardo said that nothing is perfect, and when there's nothing perfect, then there's room for change.

"Let's face it," he said. "We don't have the ability to make changes unless we have a crisis."

And today's economic condition is indeed a crisis, he said.

"Two-thirds of the economy is you and I buying stuff. And when you and I are spending $4 a gallon for gas, we don't have the extra money to buy that 'stuff.'

"These are bad times."

However, Mongiardo went on to say that Kentucky has an opportunity to capitalize on its resources. In the past, he said, when it comes to tourism initiatives, it has seemed as if Kentucky has been trying to fit a square peg in a round hole. However, with the shoreline and wildlife that Kentucky has, he said the state could market itself as an adventure tourism expert.

"I think we could make Kentucky the destination for everything outdoors."

Mongiardo said a statewide trail system would be a huge benefit.

"Can you imagine getting on a horse or a four-wheeler and traveling from one side of the state to the other?"

He said he predicts record-size elk in the state in the next few years and that once an individual bags one of them, then others will want to do the same.

"That's fitting a round peg in a round hole."

Mongiardo said we also need to focus on coal as an alternative to petroleum, especially since it burns 40 percent cleaner than petroleum. He said he doesn't believe ethanol is a viable alternative because it drives up the cost of corn, thereby driving up the cost of food.

"Kentucky could lead the nation in being energy independent."

Healthcare also needs to be a focus for Kentucky, according to Mongiardo. Insurance costs too much and covers too few, and the quality is not what we claim it to be.

"We don't need a transformation. We need a revolution."

He said everything to do with healthcare is based on insurance companies saying "yes" or "no."

"I didn't go to four years of high school, four years of college, four years of medical school and five years of residency to hold on the telephone for 45 minutes just to hear someone say 'No.'"

Again, Mongiardo said, nothing is perfect.

"Do we have problems?" he asked. "Absolutely. But isn't it great how we have the opportunity to show the nation how to fix them?"

Mongiardo said he is confident that Kentucky has an unlimited future.

"All we need is a little bit of Kentucky know-how and a little bit of passion."

- Editor Rebecca Cassell can be reached at 465-8111 Ext. 227 or by e-mail at editor@cknj.com. Comment on this story at www.cknj.com.