Steering Committee members discuss 2018 election work

Posted by: KFTC Staff on December 5, 2018

KFTC Steering Committee members found a lot of positives to lift up as they evaluated KFTC’s electoral work in 2018, even as they recognized the need for bigger and better efforts in the coming years.

Committee members for an overnight retreat, November 30 - December 1 at the Nazareth Retreat Center. They focused on building grassroots power in Kentucky and reviewed lessons learned during the 2018 elections.

Among several items discussed on Friday night, they received a report from Steering Committee leaders who attended the recent Facing Race Conference in Detroit, where racial justice was the focus.

Chandra Cruz-Thomson from Jefferson County shared her reflections on the conference. She lifted up several quotes from conference speakers. Activist Bree Newsome reminded conference attendees of the power of art in organizing by stressing that it is important to “use art to show people something they can’t imagine.”

Summer Bolton, the Southern Kentucky chapter representative, also participated in the conference. “It took me long time to process everything I experienced, the people I talked to, what I heard," Bolton said. "I felt like I was going through a 12-step process of deprogramming white supremacy from my brain. I walked out a better person, more educated despite my comfort level."

Throughout the weekend, Steering Committee members were encouraged to imagine the future that KFTC is working towards as they discussed KFTC’s history of involvement in elections and the 2018 election results in Kentucky and nationwide. These visioning exercises informed the committee’s planning for the 2019 and 2020 elections and beyond.

Mary Love of Oldham County recalled KFTC’s work to successfully pass a state constitutional amendment to prohibit abuses by coal mining companies. “My first involvement with KFTC was in 1988. I voted in the election where we had the constitutional amendment to do away with the broad form deed.”

As members discussed the work that KFTC did during the 2018 election season, several lifted up 26 races where candidates endorsed by KFTC’s New Power PAC won. “We had more people win [this election season] than we had ever endorsed before,” Rebecca Tucker of Madison County noted.

Cassia Herron of Jefferson County lifted up that robust staff support for KFTC members was important to KFTC’s electoral work. “Our staffing has been good and really important for helping members have the capacity to do this work. The staff supported member leaders making in making important endorsements.”

Bolton noted the importance of face-to-face conversations with voters about local issues for motivating turnout on election day and support for specific candidates.  “I see value in having meaningful conversations with voters.”

Leslie Bebensee of Scott County echoed Bolton’s perspective, saying, “I had great conversations talking to voters at their doors in Georgetown”

Members of the new KFTC Cumberland chapter (Knox, Laurel, Pulaski and Whitley counties) were involved in voter empowerment work for the first time. “We registered voters. These folks had never voted before. And we got contact information from new folks who are interested in KFTC,” reported David Miller, the chapter representatives from Knox County.

Amy Copelin of Boone County noted the Northern Kentucky chapter’s work to register voters. “We registered over 100 voters in our chapter.”

Although there are challenges facing folks working to build new power, Copelin emphasized, “I feel like it is encouraging when we look over the candidates that the New Power PAC endorsed. They outperformed expectations. If we can keep building that momentum, that leads to change in the long run.”

“We closed a lot of gaps and got really close in many places,” Shannon Scott of Boyle County and the Wilderness Trace chapter added. “We also gained a lot of experience, learning as we go. Every time we do something together we are getting better.”

Committee members were provided a detailed report about KFTC electoral work, including election turnout and statewide results.

“I find these numbers to be really optimistic. I know there was a lot of heartbreak in this election, but I find a lot of hope in it,” Chandra Cruz-Thomson said. “All the data beneath the wins and the energy that was mobilized, and the energy we are putting in so we can learn from this in the future. Especially in a climate that was not built for us, to have the wins that we did in this climate is really hopeful.”

Tucker noted, “Having good candidates brings energy. Having friends to get involved and volunteer with brings energy. Having the tools to be successful is empowering.”

Members also discussed KFTC’s endorsement process. During 2018 KFTC members formed over a dozen locally-based Democracy Teams. These teams met throughout the year to discuss the political landscape in their regions, the issues in the election and the candidates running for public offices.

“Having Democracy Teams was really important. It is important to have local leaders’ and local experts’ points of view in this process,” Cassia Herron said.

KFTC Secretary-Treasurer Christian Torp of Fayette County added, “The Democracy Teams were extremely helpful. It was nice to have a chapter-centered analysis to give the Executive Committee with endorsement recommendations.”

KFTC Steering Committee members reflected on their experiences during the 2018 elections and shared their insights from across the state to develop a fuller picture of the election results in Kentucky. These insights informed the Steering Committee’s ongoing strategic approach toward making an impact in future elections across the state.

Other items the Steering Committee discussed include KFTC’s work around Racial Justice organizing, the upcoming 2019 General Assembly session and KFTC’s 2019 hiring decisions and staffing.

Committee members were happy to meet at the Nazareth Retreat Center, a place where social justice and environmental awareness is practiced. They were welcomed by Sister Carol McKean, who briefly discussed the work at Nazareth to promote environmental justice.

0 comments view comments

Kentuckians act to support miners with black lung disease

Posted by: KFTC staff on November 29, 2018

Kentuckians took action today in Washington, DC and London, Kentucky to urge Senator Mitch McConnell and other members of Congress to do right by coal miners with bl

Cultural Appropriation: resources for the holiday season

Posted by: KFTC Racial Justice Committee written by Committee Members: Meta Mendel-Reyes, Wendy Warren and Bobby Starnes on November 28, 2018

As the holiday season progresses from Halloween to Thanksgiving to holidays celebrated by many people during Winter Break, the KFTC Racial Justice Committee had the opportunity to pause and have a

Voting Rights Victory in Florida Energizes Kentuckians

Posted by: KFTC Staff on November 27, 2018

Attica Scott RallyAmong a lot of other state and national election results earlier this month, voters in Florida passed an amendment to automatically restore voting rights to 1.4 million citizens with felonies in their past.  An incredible 64 percent of Florida voters voted in for the change.

The amendment restores the right to vote for people with felonies in their past, except people convicted of a handful of the most serious crimes, once they have served their time (including probation and parole).

Florida was previously one of just 4 states in the US (along with Kentucky, Iowa, and Virginia) whose constitutions permanently take voting rights away from all people with felonies in their past unless they’re able to take extraordinary measures to have their voting rights restored individual through a governor’s pardon. 

With the victory in Florida and the Governor of Virginia’s pledge to use his pardoning power to restore all voting rights to people as they complete their sentences, only Kentucky and Iowa are left with the most extreme felony disenfranchisement practices in the US and in the world. 

This big win has energized Kentuckians around restoration of voting rights and several organizations including KFTC are prioritizing our long-running campaign to restore voting rights to people with felonies in their past after they have served their debt to society. 

Support a PowerBuilder and double your gift

Posted by: KFTC Staff on November 26, 2018

Right now, during KFTC’s fall fundraising campaign, all gifts to PowerBuilders will be matched dollar for dollar up to $25,000.

What’s a PowerBuilder? A PowerBuilder hosts a personal fundraising page to raise funds for KFTC and invite new folks into the work.

You can find our PowerBuilders at: actionfordemocracy.causevox.com

Barbourville Fairness Group forms

Posted by: Cathy Rhoden-Goguen on November 23, 2018

A famous excerpt by poet John Donne, "No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main; any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankin

2018 election by the numbers

Posted by: KFTC Staff on November 14, 2018

Oktoberfest 3KFTC members leaned into this election cycle more heavily than any other, conducting large-scale voter registration, education and mobilization in our communities to lift up important issues, to listen to our neighbors, and help them get involved. KFTC’s New Power PAC formed Democracy Teams that recommended candidate endorsements and led local work to support candidates who most advanced KFTC’s Vision.

We can't stop now. Help build grassroots power for 2019.

Posted by: By Alexa Hatcher on November 12, 2018

Today we kick off KFTC’s fall fundraising campaign. We're inviting everyone to support Action for Democracy.

From June through election day, I talked with voters every week as a KFTC voter empowerment organizer.

I took action for democracy because I wanted everyone to get out and vote for candidates who reflect our values and understand issues that affect us. I helped folks to not just vote, but know who and what they were voting for.

Not everything went our way in this election, but 26 candidates endorsed by KFTC’s New Power PAC won their races. We challenged old guard candidates and made them talk about our issues and our values. We supported more women and people of color candidates. And KFTC members, voters and candidates gained skills to grow our grassroots power.

KFTC members continue to build New Power through the Power House Energy Efficiency workshops

Posted by: KFTC Staff on November 9, 2018

Since April of this year, KFTC members across eastern Kentucky have helped host energy efficiency workshops in their communities, as part of our ongoing Power House Project. The Power House Project builds collective power by educating communities about Eastern Kentucky’s energy landscape, how we can influence it, and ways that we can lower our bills immediately through do-it-yourself weatherization strategies.

Today we say thank you. Tomorrow, we organize.

Posted by: KFTC staff on November 7, 2018

Polls open at 6 a.m. tomorrow. Three Actions

Posted by: KFTC Staff on November 5, 2018

LGBTQ History Month 1Tomorrow is Election Day – Tuesday, November 6.

This is a critical election, unlike any other. Control of the Kentucky House, the US House and local governments hang in the balance, and tomorrow’s results will determine how effectively we can fight for our vision in 2019 and 2020.

In this long election cycle we’ve registered thousands of people to vote and talked with tens of thousands at events, trainings, phone banks and more. But there’s still a few things you can do in the next day and a half that can make the difference.

  1. Learn about the candidates and vote. Polls are open 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. You can see what’s on your ballot, where candidates stand on issues, find your voting location and more at www.KentuckyElection.org. Make a plan now to vote tomorrow.
  2. Spread the word to friends and family. Call everyone in your cell phone tonight to remind them to vote; use social media to talk about candidates you care about; share www.KentuckyElection.org with everyone you run into between now and 6 p.m. tomorrow. It might feel like everyone you know is already voting and knows who they’re voting for – but some of them aren’t ready yet. You can actually make the difference for a lot of your friends. If you and all 12,000 KFTC members do this, we win big on election day.
  3. Volunteer. There’s still time to volunteer with your local KFTC chapter and call voters to mobilize them, pass out our voter guides, go door-to-door, and join in creative election day events like bike parades! Contact your local KFTC organizer or reach out to our Democracy Organizer Dave Newton at 859-420-8919 or Dave@kftc.org to volunteer outside of chapter areas.


Subscribe to KFTC Blog