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Conway's Jobs Plan: Training, Broadband and Bourbon

Alix Mattingly

Democratic candidate for governor Jack Conway unveiled his jobs plan on Tuesday, saying that his administration would expand broadband Internet to rural areas, train a better workforce and grow Kentucky’s tourism, bourbon and coal industries.

In his Plan for Kentucky Jobs, Conway advocates for allowing a single broadband provider to service all state government and public entities to make expansion worthwhile to a provider.

“In order to generate the jobs of the 21st Century we have to have the technological infrastructure in place now to allow ourselves to grow,” Conway said on Tuesday.

Construction of a broadband network in Eastern Kentucky is expected to begin later this summer. Kentucky ranks 47th for broadband speed, according to the Finance and Administration Cabinet.

Conway saud if elected he’ll review each of Kentucky’s community college campuses to make sure each one is training students for jobs needed in their geographic areas.

“We need to form the partnerships between these schools and businesses to make certain that Kentuckians have the training they need to land a good-paying job,” Conway said.

On Tuesday morning, Conway unveiled his proposal to boost the tourism industry in Kentucky at the Stitzel-Weller Distillery, which produces Bulleit Bourbon.

In his plan, Conway proposes making Kentucky a "premier tourist destination for bourbon—just as Napa Valley is for wine" by creating "tourism-friendly alcohol legislation that allows for responsible and regulated sampling, enhanced culinary experiences, and modernized promotional opportunities."

Louisville businessman Matt Bevin last week chided Conway for not releasing a jobs platform; Bevin, the Republican nominee, released a plan advocating for right-to-work legislation and tax reform earlier this year.

On Tuesday, Conway countered by saying that his campaign deliberately waited until he had an opponent.

“This is something we’ve been working on for quite a while; this is something that’s also been in response to our listening tour and talking to a lot of business owners and coming at this from a collaborative approach,” Conway said.