LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Democrat Jim Gray used Labor Day to unveil his jobs plan as he tries to unseat Republican U.S. Sen. Rand Paul.
Media outlets report Gray released his economic agenda Monday at the United Auto Workers union hall in Louisville.
Gray said he wants to invest in infrastructure, broadband internet and education to bring more jobs and attract businesses to Kentucky. That includes repairing and rebuilding roads and bridges.
“We’re living today on the infrastructure of our parents and our grandparents,” Gray said. “America has always built ourselves out of adversity. All the way back to the Great Depression.”
He also stressed the importance of small businesses and increasing access to small business loans. He said the economies in regions of Kentucky hit by the rapid decline of the coal industry need to be diversified.
“Cities and regions change,” Gray said. “It doesn’t happen overnight, but diversifying your economy is the only real route. The only real way to success over time is a diversified economy. Regrettably, one industry towns, one industry regions often struggle for long cycles and that’s what we’re seeing.”
Gray co-owns a construction company and has been Lexington’s mayor since 2011. Paul was elected to the Senate in 2010.
Gray said he would be open to all options to finance federal investments in infrastructure and education, including borrowing money.
“If our company hadn’t been able to borrow money when we were flat on our backs broke we never would have been able to work our way out of insolvency,” he said. “So debt is not a bad thing. It has to be understood, it has to be measured and the investment needs to make sense, but debt on its face is not a bad thing.”
Paul wants to require a balanced federal budget and has said the national debt that is approaching $20 trillion is “ruining the country.”