Kelly Craft visits Jackson's Diner as part of Kitchen Table campaign tour

Sep. 23—Blake Vickers

Kelly Craft, a former U.S. Ambassador to Canada and Republican candidate for governor, stopped by Jackson's Diner on Thursday evening to share her campaign platform.

Craft is campaigning on a tour of mom and pop restaurants across the state. A native of Glasgow, KY, Craft said that kitchen table issues are why she is running for office.

"Growing up in a small community was so important to me. Because you think you have freedom, but you really don't, because all your neighbors are looking out for you," Craft said. "It was the most incredible upbringing... We're missing family table issues and kitchen table issues. Those issues today are very different."

Craft was appointed to her ambassador positions by former President Donald Trump and was a major donor for former Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin's campaigns.

In her remarks on Thursday, Craft was critical of President Joe Biden and Governor Andy Beshear and touched on topics such as combating critical race theory, stopping fentanyl, and supporting law-enforcement.

"If anyone, any community, says they are planning on defunding the police, I can tell you that they (the community) will be defunded immediately. We owe it to our law enforcement. We owe it to those who protect us," Craft said.

Craft also spoke about encouraging young people to get into the work force, especially technical jobs.

"College isn't for everyone. Technical programs not only provide jobs, but enhances their creativity. Some of the smartest and brightest electricians that I know started out in technology, started out in vocational school," Craft said.

Craft, who is married to coal producer Alliance Resource Partners CEO Joe Craft, said she wanted to protect and expand the coal industry.

The Republican candidate also reflected on her time as an ambassador — calling the United Nations a snake den.

{span}Trump first appointed Craft as U.S. ambassador to Canada, where she played a role in facilitating the U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement, Trump's long-sought revamp of the North American Free Trade Agreement. The updated trade deal has benefited workers, farmers and businesses in Kentucky and across the country, a release from Craft's campaign said.{/span}

On Thursday, Craft said she was proud of her record on dealing with China.

Craft took questions from the crowd before a meet and greet.

When asked what separated her from the other candidates running to unseat Governor Beshear, Craft said she was not a career politician.

"I am non-career politician. I have served Donald Trump, not once, but twice, as the first female ambassador to Canada and then as the ambassador to the United Nations. I am a result driven leader... We need someone who doesn't need a job, but needs to have a job done," Craft said.