FLAT WOODS Kelly Craft is no stranger to politics. She was appointed by President Donald Trump as the first female ambassador to Canada, and while there she brokered the largest trade deal in American history between the United States, Mexico and Canada.
“I had the privilege of seeing the number of workers in each state and how this deal with Mexico and Canada was going to benefit them,” the Republican said. “And of course, I was particularly interested in Kentucky, and I would tell President Trump that we needed to take care of our workers. and he was always concerned about our farmers and our workers, and he always asked me about our coal miners.
Craft, a 2022 Kentucky gubernatorial candidate, said Monday morning during a Flatwoods address at Pappy’s Cookin’ that she’s always believed the heart of Kentucky is her people.
“I was grateful to be able to negotiate this trade deal before COVID,” Craft said, adding that she could only imagine how bad it would have been for the state and the country without it. “Getting into it during or after COVID would have been much worse for the economy.”
After her tenure as ambassador to Canada, Craft said she entered the “real snake pit” of the United Nations. Craft said she moved from Canada to New York at the behest of President Trump after the former ambassador resigned, and her comparison to a snake pit contained very little exaggeration. It was a sobering thing to sit across from dictators and warlords, people who were waiting for America to fail so they could take its place.
Craft said she regularly tells people that no country or world power can truly replace the United States, but any government that does not uphold the rule of law is waiting to take a chance.
In a striking counterpoint, Craft said it was her experience growing up around the kitchen table in Glasgow that prepared her to sit at negotiating tables with people around the world like Israel for Peace. , discussing the Abraham Accords for peace in the Middle East, or speaking with refugee women from South Sudan about the issues they face.
“That kitchen table was not just for fellowship, but for community,” Craft said. “And no matter where you are in the world, your kitchen table is the most sacred place in your home.”
That sanctity is something Craft said she wanted to bring to Kentucky if elected governor.
“So, I’m starting my cooking tour here in Flatwoods,” Craft said. “My husband is in the energy business, so we are interested in low-cost energy. Under the Trump administration, we were energy independent. It took the Biden administration about three hours to shut down the Keystone pipeline, so we’re going from independent to dependent.
Craft said she realizes the importance of independence, which she says would make reliance on foreign oil impossible.
Craft also told those in attendance that independence also involves being independent of government assistance. She said Kentucky and the country must be independent from the ravages of the drug pandemic and have the dignity that comes with a job that pays a living wage. The latter, she said, teaches the next generation the value of hard work, attracts business and improves the quality of life.
“It makes the community grow,” Craft said. “And that’s why I’m here. I know Kentucky can do better because I know how good we are.
Craft said the key she learned growing up was to listen and learn before she speaks.
“It’s my job – to listen,” she said. “Citizens need to have more of a say in their local government. School councils, for example, are essential and people need to be more engaged.
Craft said people also need to be more engaged in electing their local elected officials.
The kitchen table is also where you come to bring everything, and everyone leaves hopefully better informed and enriched than when they arrived, Craft said.
“We need transparency and accountability in government,” she said. “We must demand accountability because it is your taxpayers’ money. and to get elected and use our taxpayers’ money in the state of Kentucky, we need a list of criteria. We need to make sure that people’s roads and all transportation issues are taken care of in order to build our communities. and we need to create jobs and be accountable. When you have transparency and accountability, you will see efficiency. It’s not easy sometimes, but it has to be done.