The Paducah Sun

November 1, 1999

Plant cleanup tops Patton's stop

By David Fraser
The Paducah Sun

Gov. Paul Patton will continue to pressure Congress to investigate and pay for cleanup work at the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant, he said during a brief campaign stop in Paducah Sunday night.

The stop was one of 19 he is making in a 36-hour whirlwind campaign finish that will end Monday night in his eastern Kentucky home of Pikeville.

The Paducah rally was held outside the Rape Crisis Center on Blandville Road, and about 150 people attended. Accompanying Patton were First Lady Judi Patton, Lt. Gov. Steve Henry and Secretary of State John Y. Brown III.

Sherry Bone, director of the Rape Crisis Center, listed some of the projects and programs provided over the past four years by money from a Community Block Development Grant. Judi Patton spoke about the center, but Patton, surrounded by aides who had already been on the road for 12 hours, kept his focus on the campaign.

"By promoting education we can make this community safer," Patton said. "...We have stuck to issues like this that are important to us throughout the first four years and will continue in the second term.

"...The reason we are making this final 36-hour tour is to show you we are not taking anything for granted. We're not taking you for granted. We will go until late (tonight). It's that important to us that you get out and vote. ...Four years ago western Kentucky delivered for us, and we want to see the same this year."

Patton is the first governor able to seek election to a second consecutive term in the modern era. He said the race carried a responsibility, even if he was faced with competition that he said was historic in its own way.

A veteran of three of his own campaigns for county judge-executive in Pike County and three statewide races, Patton said this election presented its own issues.

''Considering the importance of the race, it's obviously the strangest,'' Patton said. ''You expect kooks in the county judge's race. You don't expect them in the governor's race.''

Republican candidate Peppy Martin has made increasingly outrageous comments as the election draws near, has been repudiated by her own party. Reform Party candidate Gatewood Galbraith, who has lost three Democratic primaries for statewide office, has tried to run as a more mainstream candidate and often invokes the experience in Minnesota when Jesse Ventura won the governorship last year.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.