UN Ambassador, Federal Officials Speak To West Kentucky Business Leaders At Paducah Chamber Event
The coronavirus pandemic forced the Paducah Area Chamber of Commerce to cancel its annual “DC Fly-In” in favor of a virtual “fly-back” event this week. Federal officials addressed chamber members Wednesday and Thursday.
United States Ambassador to the United Nations Kelly Craft served as the event’s keynote speaker. Craft spoke Wednesday on foreign policy issues and the impact those issues will have on Kentucky. She said Kentuckians should pay attention to what's happening across the world, especially in the Middle East.
“We’re aware of how important peace is in the Middle East because there are going to be so many benefits that will obviously affect Kentucky,” Craft said.
Craft said one positive impact of Middle East peace would be American re-entry into the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The Trump administration withdrew from UNESCO which impacted Paducah’s status as a UNESCO creative city for crafts and folk art.
“The reason that President Trump withdrew from this organization...is because it was not functioning well. It was not providing transparency,” Craft explained.
Craft said the U.S. will re-enter UNESCO if Palestinians are given less authority over some heritage sites and organization leaders make changes to how the group is governed.
Kentucky First District Republican Congressman James Comer provided an update on coronavirus relief and other legislative developments. He said he doesn’t expect a new economic stimulus package before the election.
“I don’t think that’s gonna have an impact on anything. There’s still, from the three trillion dollar CARES Act, there’s still several hundred billion dollars that have not been tapped yet,” Comer said.
Comer said new coronavirus relief shouldn’t include a subsidy for unemployment benefits. Legislation passed earlier in the pandemic provided a $600 weekly benefit increase for unemployment claimants. Comer said the benefit provides an incentive for workers not to return to their job.
“I think it’s bad federal policy to have that unemployment subsidy on there,” Comer added.
Other speakers at the “DC Fly-Back” event included officials with the U.S. Department of Energy, National Endowment for the Arts and the U.S. Travel Association. Sessions with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao were off the record and closed to the media.