Sunday, April 08, 2001

Lawmakers speak at militia meeting

The Associated Press

        CLARKSON, Ky. — Two Kentucky state legislators urged grass-roots action and attacked big government in front of hundreds of militia members at a group's multistate meeting in eastern Grayson County on Saturday.

        Rep. Perry Clark, D-Louisville, and state Sen. Virgil Moore, R-Leitchfield, who garnered criticism for agreeing to appear Saturday at the four-day event, spoke to about 200 militia members from several states, many of them dressed in full camouflage and toting semiautomatic weapons. The two lawmakers answered questions ranging from home schooling to the repeal of Kentucky's seat-belt law.

        “You are important; you have valid concerns; you make a difference,” Mr. Clark said inside a large tent with a Confederate flag next to it. “You'll disagree (with legislators) on some things, but they need to know your opinion.”

        Saturday's event also featured Charlie Smith, a black lecturer from Pittsburgh who said later that he didn't notice the Confederate flags, but added that he once spoke at a Ku Klux Klan meeting.

        Saturday's daylong meeting was held on Norman Davis' wooded property, which provided the campground for militia members from several states. Mr. Davis, a former fruit farmer, publishes a monthly newsletter and is the moderator of Take Back Kentucky, a lobbying group that he says stands for “constitutional values.”

        Both men were criticized by House Speaker Jody Richards on Friday. Mr. Richards said in a statement that he didn't condone their appearance. He was quoted by the Courier-Journal in Louisville on Thursday saying he didn't mind the two lawmakers appearing there.


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