When most people think of Kentucky, their minds drift to horses, basketball and rolling hills. These beloved symbols of the Bluegrass State do begin to tell our story, though I can assure you there is far more behind the hardworking families of my home state than meets the eye.
As the third of five daughters, I had to find my voice and strength early. My parents and grandparents taught us that no matter what disagreements we might have as sisters, we had to find a way to get along and make our world a better place.
I learned that we are all bound together and that turning your back on a coal miner, a veteran, a senior, a single mom or a child is not what we do in Kentucky. We are a proud people who take care of our own and help lift each other up.
And that's what I've tried to do over the course of my life -- during my work outside of state government and as Kentucky's Secretary of State.
As a child, my family didn't sit down for Thanksgiving dinner until we had served hundreds of meals to families less fortunate than ours. As an attorney, some of the work of which I am most proud was helping protect victims of domestic violence. And as Secretary of State, we have modernized the office and reset its mission to one of protecting citizens' privacy and helping businesses small and large cut through red tape so that they can open their doors and put people to work.
While in office, I've simplified tax filings for small businesses, developed a one-stop business portal and championed tax incentives for farmers to help feed over 750,000 Kentuckians. We've also created the first-ever address confidentiality program for victims of domestic violence.
And following my recent trip to the Middle East, I worked to improve voting procedures for our men and women in uniform. We passed Kentucky's first Military Heroes Voting Initiative to ensure those on the battlefield have their voices heard here at home at the ballot box.
It's clear that Senator McConnell and I have two very different views of public service. He views it as a carnival game of whack-a-mole. If someone dares to poke their head up and disagree with him, he'll try to bang it back down again, just as he tried to do to me before I ever even announced my intention to get into this race.
Unfortunately for Senator McConnell, I do not scare easily and will be holding him accountable for his 28 years of failed leadership.
From blocking efforts to create jobs, to obstructing legislation to increase the minimum wage, to giving companies tax breaks and trade deals that ship our good Kentucky jobs overseas, Senator McConnell refuses to stand up for Kentucky's hardworking men and women. Senator McConnell's record of gridlock, obstruction and partisanship on these key issues of economic security is deplorable.
He also has absolutely no problem standing in the way of pay equity for women while raising his own congressional pay and quadrupling his own net worth on the backs of Kentucky taxpayers. And these are just the times when Senator McConnell has allowed a vote in the U.S. Senate. More than 400 times he has stood in the way and blocked votes from even happening. Senator McConnell has literally gone Washington, leaving Kentucky in the lurch and letting its people fall behind in the process.
There is a disease of dysfunction in Washington, D.C., and after 28 years, Senator McConnell is at its core. He embodies all that is wrong in D.C. He has wasted decades blocking legislation that would have helped Kentucky and our country move forward. But instead of advocating on behalf of all Kentuckians, Senator McConnell's top priority was to attack the Executive Branch and limit our President to one-term- - proving once again that his focus is misplaced and that he simply cannot get anything done.
Kentuckians have had enough.
This race is deeply personal because it's about all of us. It's time we had someone in Washington, D.C., who gives all Kentuckians a voice. If I'm fortunate enough to be elected as Kentucky's next senator, I will continue to work every day, as I have as Secretary of State, for the hardworking families that make our state great.
After 28 years of dividing our nation and deserting Kentucky, it's time we had a senator who unites all Kentuckians -- regardless of party affiliation -- and puts Kentucky's citizens first.
Together, we can make that happen.
Alison Lundergan Grimes is the current Kentucky Secretary of State and Democratic candidate for US Senate. For more on Alison, please visit www.alisonforkentucky.com.