Rita Smart Visits the Madison County Chapter
Madison County Representative Rita Smart visited the Madison County Chapter at its November chapter meeting this Monday to discuss her work at in Frankfort during the last year. Rep. Smart has proven to be a valuable ally of KFTC in Frankfort during her service in the House over the past year, particulary in her willingness to support KFTC's legislative priorities. Some highlights of her support include cosponsoring the Clean Energy Opportunity Act and her support for both House Bill 70 and progressive tax reform in the House.
Rep. Smart discussed the difficulty of educating constituents about important issues, particularly when constituents are apathetic towards the political process or are suspicious of her motivations. On the common perception that Kentucky legislators work part-time, Smart said "You're doing full time work if you're doing it right." Rep. Smart also offered an insider's perspective on the workings of the state legislature in terms of sustainability and clean energy issues and emphasized the fact that most legislators in Kentucky are fixated on coal. "They don't want to consider anything that they think is going to hurt their coal!" said Rep. Smart, describing an attitude that many KFTC members are all too familiar with.
Throughout the lobby meeting Madison County chapter members updated Smart about KFTC's main issues and asked for her continued support on issues such as clean energy and voting rights. Chapter member Steve Boyce discussed tax reform with the representative, expressing KFTC's concerns with some of the suggestions of the Blue Ribbon Commission, including additional sales taxes and utility taxes, taxes that would disproportionately impact lower income Kentuckians. Steve Wilkins continued the discussion by updating Rep. Smart about clean energy issues and asked Rep. Smart if she would cosponsor the Clean Energy Opportunity Act in the next legislative session. Rep. Smart agreed to cosponsor the Clean Energy Opportunity Act again and pledged to cosponsor HB 70 in the next legislative session.
Members of the Madison County chapter are pleased to have such a strong ally in the Kentucky State Legislature. Rep. Smart's willingness to take a stand on progressive policies that benefit everyday Kentuckians is rare in Kentucky politics, which makes her partnership with KFTC that much more valuable and appreciated.