Hundreds of people crowded into Kirchhoff's Bakery on Tuesday night to welcome the person seeking to become Kentucky's first female U.S. senator.
Alison Lundergan Grimes, Kentucky's secretary of state and one of four Democrats running for veteran Sen. Mitch McConnell's seat, spent hours meeting with constituents and shaking hands. Grimes would face McConnell or Republican challenger Matt Bevin if she advances to the November general election against her lower profile opponents.
"This is about putting the people of Kentucky first, and not the Washington partisanship that we have seen for so many years with Mitch McConnell," Grimes said. "Washington is not working for Kentucky. We need a little more of Kentucky in Washington to show them how to get things done."
This was Grimes' first stop in western Kentucky, and she spent time posing for pictures and talking to people in the crowd before giving a short speech on her jobs plan. The plan involves taking action, she said: advocating for veterans and families, cultivating competitiveness, and offering better deals for businesses.
"Tonight the message was simple," Grimes said. "We need someone who is addressing the most important problem facing the commonwealth of Kentucky, and that is the need to create more good quality, paying jobs. In 28 years, (McConnell) has never come out with a jobs plan."
Taking on McConnell is a tall order, but Grimes said the challenge excites her. In a state that votes primarily Republican, Grimes said her voice has its own, individual sound and does not echo high-powered Democrats such as President Barack Obama.
"As the third of five girls, I learned to find this very loud voice very early in life," Grimes said. Those that know me best know that i have no problem standing on my own, and I speak for myself and I will continue to do that on behalf of all Kentucky. It's about putting them first, and having someone advocating on their behalf. I don't need any surrogate to speak for me."
Contact Corianne Egan, a Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8652 or follow @CoriEgan on Twitter.