by Bria Isaacson, News Editor
Senate Majority Leader and Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell spoke to invited Asbury University students and faculty and Wilmore community leaders in Asbury’s Miller Screening Room on Feb. 21.
His speech, entitled “A Washington Update — Current Issues,” served to update attendants on some of the issues that have been and are being discussed in Washington D.C. Topics discussed included protests and continued disapproval from some citizens after President Donald Trump’s election victory; the controversy over the nominations for Supreme Court justice upon Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s death in 2016; and Senate plans to tackle Obamacare, overregulation in every aspect of life and comprehensive tax reform.
Upon the conclusion of his speech, McConnell answered questions from the crowd. During this time, he responded to questions on nuclear warfare, the federal prison system, healthcare, President Trump’s executive order instituting travel bans, the 21st Century Cures Act, which passed in December, and Asbury’s role in the world.
Healthcare was the most popular subject with the audience. McConnell asserted that Obamacare is unsustainable and that, even if Democrat Hillary Clinton had been elected and there was a Democratic majority in the Senate, Congress would still be looking to rework healthcare and repeal Obamacare.
“What we know for sure is that everybody who got insurance because they were made to do it are paying higher premiums, have higher copayments and higher deductibles, and many of them have worthless insurance because they can’t meet the copayments,” McConnell said.
For freshman Kaleb Coleman, a political science major, meeting and hearing from McConnell was a great experience. “It was really cool,” he said. “I get more excited about meeting people like that than actual celebrities. I like getting to meet people who are actually influential.”
In addition to discussing politics, McConnell affirmed Asbury’s importance in the world. He is familiar with Asbury, as he holds an honorary degree from Asbury and has visited Asbury several times, even speaking at Asbury University President Sandra Gray’s inauguration in 2007. Two Asbury alumni are also currently working as staff assistants in his office.
“Look, I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t think you guys were really something,” McConnell said. “My experience is that you consistently produce bright graduates of high moral standard and solid citizens, and far as I’m concerned you need to keep on doing it.”
McConnell affirmed not only Asbury as a whole, but he also encouraged individual students and their passions, as he spoke with current Asbury Student Body President Matt Jackson, Tim Shell, incoming student body president, and Gray in a private meeting.
Jackson said, “The Senator was polite and articulate. I greatly appreciated him being willing to meet with students one on one…. We talked more about our passions (mine for Criminal Justice), and he was encouraging.”