Actress and prospective Democratic Kentucky Senate candidate Ashley Judd is set to appear in Washington, D.C. later this week at two public events, which will likely draw increased attention due to ongoing speculation about her possible political ambitions.
Judd will head to George Washington University’s School of Public Health and Health Services on Friday to deliver a speech on women's reproductive health, an issue that she is quite familiar with. She's spoken out on the topic frequently, and at times infused her speeches with controversial language that some predict could end up playing into a Senate run, if she decides to make one.
As Salon recalled earlier this month, Judd once ripped into former President George W. Bush over his stance on access to contraception, an issue that could resonate less powerfully among rural Kentucky voters than it might have among the crowd at a conference of Tennessee Democratic Women.
"Throughout history, men have tried to control the means of reproduction, which means trying to control woman," she said at the time. "This president is a modern day Attila the Hun."
On Saturday, Judd will remain in Washington to receive an honor from the Global India Fund for her advocacy on behalf of girls and women in India.
"I am honored to accept this award from the Global India Fund on behalf of the many inspiring girls, women and health workers I have met over the years who are far more deserving than I of recognition for the work they do every day," Judd said in a statement regarding the award. "Access to basic healthcare should never be a barrier for a girl or woman to reach their full potential. The need for private investments that support the development of promising new health solutions cannot be understated."
Public appearances in Washington don't stand out as particularly unusual for Judd, a vocal liberal activist and humanitarian, but the latest visit comes at a time when speculation over her potential challenge to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has reached a fever pitch.
Judd has reportedly taken steps to lay the framework for a campaign, meeting with the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee as well as top figures in Kentucky Democratic politics on separate occasions earlier this month.
Rep. John Yarmuth (D-Ky.), the only Democrat in the state's congressional delegation, recently told ABC News that he'd "be surprised" if Judd didn't end up getting in the race.
Judd has said she'll make a final decision about a run before the Kentucky Derby on May 4.