Has $2,000,000 been “secured” to attract a grain elevator?

Updated: Aug 19, 2020

Editorial by Seth Dukes

Secure: fix or attach (something) firmly so that it cannot be moved or lost.

 Back in July, Rep. Nancy Tate made a statement on Facebook that I felt warranted investigation.

 “I’m sure you also heard that last year I had secured $2 million to attract and develop a grainery to replace CGB,” Rep. Tate said in a comment on one of her posts. “Yet due to the lawsuit filed by the Lincoln Trail Grain Growers Association (LTGGA) our local leadership have not been able to start negotiations with two graineries interested in developing in our region.”

 I think that $2,000,000 is a lot of money. Where was this money coming from? Why hadn’t this information been shared publicly? To me, securing that amount of funding would be excellent news for the farmers and community alike.

 In another comment, Rep. Tate said that this information had been communicated to parties multiple times. She claimed that it was communicated after a Fiscal Court meeting and again during a meeting between Judge/Executive Gerry Lynn, some of the magistrates, farmers, herself, and members of Commissioner Quarles’ office.

 I happened to be present at the Fiscal Court meeting that Rep. Tate was referencing, and I happened to have recorded the entire thing. I listened to the approximately two-hour recording to try to find anything about securing $2,000,000. Nothing. I brought this to Rep. Tate’s attention on Facebook. She replied saying that she “stood corrected” about mentioning the information at the Fiscal Court meeting, but she maintained that the information had been communicated to many.

 I still wanted to share this good news with the community. I told Rep. Tate that I would love to talk to her about this funding.

 She initially didn’t respond to my request for comment, but another commenter told her she should. Rep. Tate said she thought “that was a great idea” and said she’d “take advantage of [the idea] as soon as possible.”

 So, I waited. And waited. And waited. Nothing. So, left with no other option, I started asking other people who would be privy to such information.

 I spoke with someone affiliated with the Kentucky Agricultural Development Board who requested I not use their name. They said that they had spoken with Rep. Tate last year about obtaining another loan, similar to the one used to help fund Consolidated Grain and Barge’s project in Brandenburg. They told Rep. Tate that they were pretty confident that the loan could be acquired again if another grain company was interested in locating here.

 “We had floated the idea that, if in fact you could find another elevator that wanted to locate there, that our board would sure entertain the notion that we could do the same thing, or close to the same thing, again,” the individual told me. “What we would need would be an application from someone up there that could get the ball rolling. The process is the applications come into us, then they go to committee for a recommendation, which is a third of the board, and then that recommendation would go to the committee the next month and be voted on. That’s how it works. A year ago, we were really comfortable [with the idea] because we just lost an elevator, and farmers got hung out to dry there a little bit. I don’t see it a lot different now. We’ve got a lot of things going on with this processing and some other things we’re spending money on, but our money was meant to do projects to help multiple counties and multiple farmers.”

 Though the individual said they had told Rep. Tate that the prospect was likely, it was in no way finalized or secured.

 “I know Rep. Tate used the word secure. It’s not secure until the vote is taken,” the individual said.

 I also spoke with Dennis Parrett, a Democratic member of the Kentucky Senate representing District 10. He told me he contacted Rep. Tate when her statement was brought to his attention.

 “I went to her and I said, ‘Nancy, you can’t make that statement. I appreciate you working on this and trying to do something, but you can’t make that statement. We have to vote on that. That’s a huge commitment, and where is the money going to come from?’” Parrett says he told Rep. Tate.

 Parrett says that, unless the funds are coming from somewhere else, he’s unaware of any secured state funding for a new grain elevator in the county.

 “If [the funds are coming from elsewhere], that’s wonderful, but that’s not what I gathered from her,” he said.

 In the interest of fairness, and despite the fact that Rep. Tate had never gotten back with me initially, I sent an email to her explaining what I had learned and asking for her input.

 She never responded. She cannot say that she did not have the opportunity to have her side of the story told. That would be a blatant lie.

 I would still love to get the truth out to her constituents. Perhaps Rep. Tate’s definition of the word “secure” differs from mine. I think her constituents would respect a statement like, “Yes, I said secured, but what I meant was that I was told it was very likely it could happen again.” What her constituents shouldn’t respect is a mischaracterization with no clarification offered to any. It may seem silly to quibble over semantics, but when we’re talking about $2,000,000 in funding, I think that details are paramount.

 Rep. Tate won’t speak with me on the subject. Maybe she will speak with you. Her number is 502-564-8100 ext. 698, and her email is Nancy.Tate@lrc.ky.gov. This information comes from the Kentucky Legislature’s website. Reach out to her on her Facebook page; that’s the only place that I’ve gotten any interaction from her. If she gives you an answer, please relay this to myself and the readership in the form of a letter to the editor. All I want to do is uncover the facts. If Rep. Tate has in fact secured $2 million, that’s excellent news. If she hasn’t, it’s concerning that she’s, in my opinion, misleading the public this close to an election.

 I believe that Rep. Tate’s refusal to work with me is because of things that people other than myself have written, things I have absolutely no control over. She came into the office last year and proclaimed that she was “cutting ties” with the newspaper. Since then, I haven’t received any information from her, not even her weekly legislative updates. I don’t think this is professional at all, and most of all, I don’t think it’s fair to her constituents. It’s one thing to take issue with what’s printed, but it’s another to deprive your constituents of information just because you don’t approve of an editorial writer.

 I’ve always been extremely polite and objective when dealing with Rep. Tate in hopes of salvaging and maintaining a relationship with her for the good of her constituents and the county. It’s been made clear to me that she has no interest in doing this. Now that I’ve written this editorial, she will at least be able to pinpoint a reason as to why she won’t communicate with me.

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