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Congressman John Yarmuth 'Thrilled' Over Son Purchasing LEO Weekly


Congressman John Yarmuth, D-Ky., says he is thrilled that his son is buying the alternative news weekly he founded almost 25 years ago.Last week it was announced Aaron Yarmuth is leading a group purchasing LEO Weekly from the Nashville-based SouthComm Communications. But the elder Yarmuth said he doesn’t expect to receive preferential treatment from LEO Weekly as a result. John Yarmuth founded LEO in 1990. He sold it in 2003 to a publishing company in Pennsylvania, which later sold it to SouthComm. The Louisville Democrat says he wasn’t aware his son was even interested in buying LEO, but he was pleased with the result. "I had actually consulted with another potential purchaser about a month ago and then out of the blue Aaron said, 'Hey dad, I've been talking to all these people and I'm thinking about buying LEO. What do you think?' "You always want your children to be passionate about something and to, if they can, carry on a legacy and it means a lot to me on many, many different levels,” he says. The congressman added it is better for LEO to be locally owned in order to give it the attention and resources it needs. Aaron Yarmuth told WFPL he wants to push LEO in a more digital direction. Much like print dailies, it's been a rough time for alt-weeklies in the age of the Internet. But observers point to more complex reasons for their recent decline. John Yarmuth sold LEO three years before running for Congress. That didn’t stop political opponents from making the weekly's advertisements or editorial content a campaign issue in 2006. For many, the name Yarmuth is synonymous with the paper and Aaron's purchase could blur the lines even further. But the congressman doesn't believe his son buying his former paper will have an effect on its coverage of him in Washington. "I’ve actually been in a conversation with (Aaron) and the publisher where he said the one way that people will infuriate him is if they pull any punches where coverage of me is concerned," he said. "I think he’s made it clear to them they need to treat me as they would anybody else and that’s the way it should be." "I understand there are going to be suspicions, but it's pretty hard to get any better coverage out of LEO. I worry about it going the other way where they bend over backwards to be hyper-critical."