Rand Paul Doesn’t Know Which Industries Actually Dominate His State

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/gageskidmore/5584422343/sizes/m/in/photostream/">Gage Skidmore</a>/Flickr

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The chatter that actress Ashley Judd might make a run for Senate in her home state of Kentucky has prompted preemptive vituperation from the state’s Republican delegation. “She’s way damn too liberal for our country, for our state,” Rand Paul told radio station WMAL on Wednesday. “She hates our biggest industry, which is coal, so I say, good luck bringing the ‘I hate coal message’ to Kentucky.”

Paul also threw in some digs about Judd, an eighth-generation Kentuckian, spending part of her time in her husband’s home country, Scotland. And yes, Judd has been a vocal critic of mountain-top removal coal mining. But the comments indicate that Rand Paul doesn’t know much about his state’s top industries. Mining isn’t the state’s biggest industry. It’s not even in the top ten, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis (via James E. Carter IV). It’s way down at number 13:

James E. Carter IV/Bureau of Economic AnalysisJames E. Carter IV/Bureau of Economic Analysis

It’s all the way down there after “information,” oddly enough. Mining is also not the largest industry in the ranking based on the number of people it employs; on that list, it comes in 15th.

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In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily bluster—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

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