SOKY members work hard to build power for Tuesday's primary election

Posted by: the Southern Kentucky Chapter on May 17, 2018

The Southern Kentucky chapter has been hard at work preparing for the May 22 primary elections and building the grassroots power we will need for November.

We kicked off the season with a training on March 31, which covered how to register voters, table at events, and canvass. Participants practiced their new canvassing skills by walking the neighborhood that same afternoon to register voters and listen to the community’s concerns. We’ve canvassed eight more times since that first training, reaching approximately 435 households. We left KFTC Voter Guides with interested households to help inform voters about candidates’ stances on issues we care about and left postcards with those who weren’t home.

Watching our canvassers shift people’s opinions on voting through just a few minutes of conversation was a highlight of the bi-weekly canvasses. Member Lisa Cummings knocked on doors one chilly Sunday and said, “Seeing people that don’t vote frequently change their perspective after our conversation made the whole day worthwhile.”

We also planned 3 phone banks to get out the vote right up to the eve of election day, for a total of over 300 phone calls. We’ve tabled at a wide range of events to register countless voters. Energy is high and will sustain our work as we look towards the General Election this November.

Member Joyce Adkins describes our advantage in saying;  “What we have on our side is passion, and being on the right side of history. I know we can bring in the Blue Wave this year. And I want to help do it!”

Our chapter’s positivity and willingness to give our whole hearts to building grassroots power together is our greatest advantage in any election. When speaking about our work, member Summer Bolton said, “It’s important because the people we have in office currently, both locally and at the state level, have been so out of touch with our community’s needs and wants. Through our Action For Democracy work, we’re identifying key demographics and empowering people to make a change.”

Member Tara Sorrels hopes to help young people engage in the democratic process and educate themselves about important issues through our Action For Democracy work. Tara said, “If we can reach out to people who are young, people who are just coming of age to vote, to talk about those things – that would be special to me because I feel like I didn’t have that. I feel like I would have participated a lot more, or felt more motivated to learn about the process.”

Our Congressional Candidate Forum helped voters learn about the candidates and engage in the process by offering a question and answer period. “When KFTC had the Congressional Candidate Forum to meet and question the three (!!!) candidates who would run as the democratic contender, I was thrilled,“ said member Robin Gilbert, who asked a question about the opioid crisis during the forum. “Seeing and hearing them in person was wonderful.”

SOKY members shared stories about their experience with KFTC and their passion for a healthy democracy through social media, like this photo from Lisa Cummings including three generations of voters in her family. “We always would  sit down and figure out our schedules so we could vote together. I just wanted to instill that in them from an early age. You lead by example.”

Democracy Team members Pete and Denise Zielinski set the tone for the election season with their Balancing the Scales article about why they’re ready to take action leading up to the primaries and beyond. Member Stephanie Morris wrote a letter to the editor in support of our endorsed candidate, earning media coverage for the campaign. To underpin all of the wonderful work voter work we’ve done this year, Teresa Christmas and chapter leaders worked with local artists and musicians to host BAM: An Evening of Beer, Art, and Music, to raise funds to support our voter work. Teresa said, “As voters we have a responsibility and power to ensure that our elected officials listen to us.”

The Southern Kentucky Chapter is proud of our work, knowing that we’ve contributed to a healthy democracy that will serve us in long-term and lasting ways as well as in the upcoming elections. We’re ready for election day, and we’re ready to hold our elected officials accountable all year round.

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Electing Empathy Through Informed Choices: Robin Gilbert reflects on SOKY chapter's Congressional candidate forum

Posted by: Robin Gilbert on May 16, 2018

Kentuckians For The Commonwealth has been an important part of my political journey. The most recent opportunity I’ve had through KFTC was to ask a question directly to the congressional candidates for House District 2 at the Southern Kentucky Chapter’s Candidate Forum on April 24. I took the opportunity to address opioid addiction, a topic that touches so many other issues, including health care and mental health, the economy, incarceration, and much more.

I never considered myself a really political person in the past. Growing up in New York City, I was aware of headlines and a general sense of local and world events. One family tradition was reading the New York Times every Sunday. I skimmed the front page and devoured the styles and book review sections. After major events like the beginning of the Iraq war and 9/11, I paid a little closer attention. I always voted.
It was when Donald Trump was the Republican nominee that I began what is now an obsession with politics. I have been a Kentuckian for 6 years. I love Bowling Green for its diversity and the kindness of the people I have met. I have never been on Facebook much, and have a general distrust of social media, but in February 2017 I signed on to Twitter. How much trouble could 140 characters bring?

Housing conference inspires and motivates SOKY member

Posted by: Samantha Johnson on May 15, 2018

Would you like to know how to get motivated and have a fire set in your soul? Spend a weekend with the people that make up the Homes for All South group.

I was fortunate to have the opportunity to represent KFTC at the Homes For All South conference in Nashville, TN May 4-6. The weekend was full of activities, workshops and sessions that were energetic, inspiring and motivating.

Housing is a human right many people struggle with and fight for every day and sadly, many people have a fight they cannot win alone. Homes for All is made up of individuals from many organizations all across the south. They help people in their fight, as a collective group. Throughout the weekend, we were able to share our own work, pick the brains of those doing amazing projects across the region and take away ideas, resources and a sense of satisfaction for the work we do.

Pie-in-the-Sky fundraising in Madison County

Posted by: Matthew Frederick on May 14, 2018

Madison County KFTC Chapter rallies around democracy, new power and pie.

Show support for Kentucky's immigrants this week.

Posted by: KFTC staff on April 27, 2018

Kentucky's immigrant communities help make our Commonwealth more just and democratic, and help build an economy that works for all of us. When our immigrant neighbors are taken from their homes, and families are torn apart, they deserve our protection and support. 

Youth Incarceration bill bad for Kentucky

Posted by: Ebeth Adami on April 20, 2018

KFTC’s vision statement reads:

We are working for a day when Kentuckians – and all people – enjoy a better quality of life…When all people have health care, shelter, food, education, and other basic needs…When children are listened to and valued…When discrimination is wiped out of our laws, habits, and hearts.

Kentucky legislators made many decisions that stand in the way of our vision during the 2018 General Assembly. Among them was the passage of House Bill 169, the "Youth Incarceration Bill." 

 HB 169 received final approval by the House and Senate on April 13. At the time this newsletter went to print, there was still an opportunity for Governor Bevin to veto the bill.

The bill expands the definition of gang membership, and mandates harsh sentences, even for misdemeanors, if one is part of a gang under a new, broad definition. The details of the bill are here. 

Let's shift the political landscape: support Action for Democracy

Posted by: By Meta Mendel-Reyes, KFTC Chairperson on April 19, 2018

I was proud to join other Kentuckians in Frankfort on April 13 with my KFTC sweatshirt on. The huge crowd was what democracy looks like – even if the legislature was unworthy of it.

We all went to Frankfort to let our governor and legislators know that Kentuckians deserve better from our General Assembly.

This was one of the most damaging legislative sessions we’ve seen in years. Our elected leaders:

  • raised taxes on 95 percent of Kentuckians – not to raise new revenue for state investments, but to fund a tax cut for the wealthy and corporations.
  • passed a budget with significant cuts to education (including zero funding for textbooks and other school programs) and most other services across the board.
  • passed House Bill 169, which will increase incarceration of young people of color, and cost an additional $19 million a year that we could invest in community supports for preventing gang violence.

Anti-rooftop solar bill defeated in final hour of 2018 Kentucky General Assembly

Posted by: Lisa Abbott on April 17, 2018

In one of its final legislatives moves before adjourning on April 14, the Kentucky Senate tabled a vote on House Bill 227, the anti-rooftop solar bill pushed by utilities.

NKU rally for higher education

Posted by: Joe Gallenstein on April 12, 2018

Thursday afternoon hundreds gathered at Northern Kentucky University to speak out for more revenue, and to ask legislators to honor the commitments we have made to students across Kentucky.

The crowd began to gather before noon. Members of the broader community included KFTC, the International Brotherhood of Electric Workers, and the Northern Kentucky Justice and Peace Committe. However, the majority in attendance were students and faculty who were most likely to be impacted by the new state budget. Many came with signs illustrating issues impacting the NKU community. From rising costs of tuition, a tax structure that hurts lower and middle income Kentuckians, and what the impact of further cuts could mean to universities across the state.

Power House Workshops are here!

Posted by: Lisa Abbott on April 11, 2018

In April KFTC members launched the Power House Project, an exciting effort to build New Power in every sense of the word: new economic power, new clean energy power, and new politi


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