New Kentuckiana span could bear late President's name - News, Weather & Sports

New Kentuckiana span could bear late President's name

Former U.S. President Ronald Wilson Reagan Former U.S. President Ronald Wilson Reagan
Sen. Dan Seum Sen. Dan Seum
Hite Nally Hite Nally

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - What should Kentucky call downtown Louisville's soon-to-be-built bridge bearing interstate traffic northbound into Indiana? One state lawmaker favors naming one for the Gipper.

America had seven percent unemployment, almost 12 percent inflation and 26 hostages heading home after 444 days of captivity in Iran, when Ronald Wilson Reagan took the oath of office 33 years ago.

Eight years later, he'd claim that our country was "a shining city, more prosperous, more secure and happier," as his farewell address put it.

"He created 16 million new jobs," said Sen. Dan Seum (R-Fairdale.) "The Cold War, if you'll remember, he ended the Cold War."

The Majority Caucus Chairman calls our 40th President his personal hero, citing his "bold agenda of restoring accountability and common sense," in a Joint Resolution calling upon Kentucky's General Assembly to designate downtown Louisville's now-under-construction, northbound gateway into Indiana, as the Ronald W. Reagan Memorial Bridge.

"Ahhh," signed a Louisville woman, who declined to reveal her name to the WAVE 3 News crew she talked to Friday. "I'm a liberal. It's not working for me."

As the Gipper himself might have said: "There you go again."

"I expect some debate," Sen. Seum said. "Let it begin."

Mr. Reagan has not lacked for honorifics since his death June 5, 2004. His name graces at least 19 roadways, including parts of three interstate highways. Thirteen schools bear his name, as do six government buildings, two parks, two airports, a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier; even a mountain in New Hampshire.

But he's much less known for building bridges than for telling (then-Soviet leader) Mikhail Gorbachev to "tear down this (Berlin) wall."

"It ought to be about bipartisanship," said Louisville Attorney Hite Nally, who favors Seum's proposal. "A Democrat next to a Republican." He's referring to the bridge named for President John F. Kennedy, which will be parallel to the new bridge.

"Kennedy was certainly a very popular man," Seum agreed. "Everybody enjoyed JFK, and it makes a nice comparison."

East End resident Michelle Maxim has no problem with President Reagan's politics, or performance as President. "But it'd be if it was somebody who had relationship to Kentucky or Indiana or the bridge itself.

"Maybe you oughta ask Jerry Abramson," Nally said, referring to the three-term Democratic (1986-1999) former Mayor of the old City of Louisville, and two-term (2003-2011) former Metro Mayor (consolidated Louisville-Jefferson County government).

"Why not just name it for him," our self-confessed "Liberal" asked. "Oh, he's not dead yet. I forgot about that."

Now Kentucky's Lieutenant Governor, Abramson, would have no official vote as to Seum's Joint Resolution. Prior to 1992, Lieutenant Governors presided over Kentucky's Senate and cast votes when members were deadlocked. But a Constitutional Amendment that permitted Governors to serve consecutive terms, also stripped the Lieutenant Governor of all legislative powers and responsibilities.

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