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McConnell to speak at Carson Center

Staff Report

U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell will speak today at noon at the Luther F. Carson Four Rivers Performing Arts Center in Paducah on "Alben Barkley: Kentucky's First Senate Party Leader."

The sold-out event is hosted by the Market House Museum.

Barkley was a well-loved local politician who rose to the national level of the political arena by becoming Senate Majority Leader and Democrat Harry S. Truman's running mate in the presidential election of 1948. Senator McConnell has long been an admirer of Barkley, concerning many aspects of the late vice president's career and personal life.

Sen. McConnell is the Senate Republican Leader. First elected to that position unanimously by his colleagues in 2006, he is the 15th Senate Republican Leader and only the second Kentuckian to lead his party in the Senate. The first was Barkley, who led the Democrats from 1937 to 1949.

Barkley was born a simple country boy near Wheel, Ky., in Graves County, in 1877. He lived in a little frame house, which had originally been a log home built by his grandfather, Alben Graham Barkley. His grandmother was the entity that fired his early political interests. His maternal grandmother had been married to Confederate soldier Captain James Henry Smith, who died of injuries received while serving with Morgan's Raiders. Barkley was instilled with a love of history when still just a child, as a result of hearing the family stories shared.

The Market House Museum, which opened in June 1968, has a large collection of Barkley ephemera, artifacts and personal items that belonged to the "Veep," as Barkley was called. A recent acquisition of the facility was the "surrey with the fringe on top" that Barkley used to court and eventually to propose to his first wife, Dorothy Brower Barkley.

Along with the Barkley collections, the museum has an outstanding collection of one of a kind Paducah related artifacts, including a Civil War room, and a "Hall of Heroes" dedicated to law enforcement, fire protection and military personnel. The museum sports over 3,500 square feet of exhibits concerning Paducah's outstanding history.

The museum is located at 121 South Second St., just across from Kirchhoff's Bakery.

Paducah is one of three stops for McConnell on Monday. Senator McConnell will also visit with constituents in Murray and Benton.

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