I Love Mountains Day 2014: Marchers vote for a bright future

Posted by: KFTC Staff on February 12, 2014

Hundreds of KFTC members and friends braved the cold and warnings of winter storms to march and rally in Frankfort on our ninth annual I Love Mountains Day February 12.

Folks gathered at the Kentucky River and marched up Capitol Avenue to the familiar chants of “Show me what democracy looks like! This is what democracy looks like!” and “Whose mountains? Our mountains!”

Speakers drew parallels among communities in eastern Kentucky and other communities in Central Kentucky, Louisville, West Virginia and North Carolina that are dealing with the impacts of fossil fuels.

“We may live in different hollers, but we share the same story of environmental injustice,” said keynote speaker Teri Blanton, a Harlan County native and longtime KFTC leader who is a member of the National Environmental Justice Advisory Council to the EPA.

“It’s time for us to write a new story,” Blanton said. “Let’s create a new energy revolution in this state, a New Power revolution.”

"It's time for us to write a new story. Let's create a new energy revolution in this state, a New Power revolution."  -Teri Blanton

Blanton called on elected leaders to:

  • Invest in a new economy and a just transition in eastern Kentucky.
  • Protect the health of people in eastern Kentucky and stop the destruction, beginning with passing the Stream Saver Bill.
  • Pass the Clean Energy Opportunity Act, which would establish benchmarks for renewable energy and energy efficiency and create 28,000 new jobs in Kentucky over the next ten years.
  • Support the EPA and other regulatory agencies charged with protecting the land and people.
  • Pass Senate Bill 14, which would limit the use of eminent domain in cases such as the proposed Bluegrass Hazardous Liquids Pipeline.

“We have to create the democracy that we all deserve,” Blanton said.

Eleven-year-old Chase Gladson of Harlan County described how lucky he is to live in the mountains. “My dream is to grow up and raise a family right there in Harlan County, just like my grandparents did, and their grandparents before them.”

But things are falling apart in eastern Kentucky, Chase said. “I know that for me to stay close to home, things will have to change.”

Clean water and good jobs will have to be a part of those changes, he said. “I’m only 11 years old, but I believe all this is possible. … It will take all of us, I mean all of us, working together.”

Sister Claire McGowan described the proposed Bluegrass Hazardous Liquids Pipeline, which she and others along its route have been working to prevent.

“We don’t need to develop more fossil fuels at all. In fact, we can’t afford to develop more fossil fuels. … The transition to renewable energy sources must begin now.”

KFTC chairperson Sue Tallichet welcomed the crowd and invited everyone to take part in the day’s “voting.”  “As part of building a healthy democracy, we invite everyone here today to vote for a bright future.”

Rather than vote for candidates, participants were asked to submit ballots expressing WHAT they’d like to vote for in Kentucky. Answers ranged from ending mountaintop removal to clean energy, affordable education for all, clean water, sustainable food systems, good jobs, economic development that empowers small businesses, and more.

Music was provided by Randy Wilson, David and Phoebe Waggoner, and singers from the Loretto, Dominican and Charity women religious communities in Kentucky's Holy Land.

Here's some news coverage of the day:


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Members weigh in on Governor's tax proposal

Posted by: Kentuckians For The Commonwealth on February 11, 2014

KFTC members and allies met today after the House Appropriations and Revenue Committee meeting. The committee heard the Governor’s proposed tax plan, which harkened back to the Blue Ribbon Commission's work in 2012 and 2013, and that he offered last week in the name of tax reform.

The Governor's proposal includes some good policies that are needed in Kentucky.  He’s proposed an Earned Income Tax Credit at 7.5% of the federal credit. That’s just half of the EITC included in both the Kentucky Forward Plan (HB 220) and the Blue Ribbon Recommendations, which both call for a 15% EITC.  A 7.5% credit would mean that families that qualify for the highest credit (earning just over the minimum wage, and with three or more children), would receive a credit of about $350. The average credit would be $171.6—not necessarily enough to qualify the measure as an anti-poverty tool, but a small step in the right direction.

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I Love Mountains Day logistics and information

Posted by: Erik Hungerbuhler on February 10, 2014

Here is some information you can use if you plan on attending I Love Mountains Day on Wednesday.

Webinar: We will be hosting a webinar this evening at 7 p.m. EST to get people prepared for the rally. We'll examine a range of issues, including the Stream Saver Bill and Clean Energy Opportunity Act, and ways you can be most effective when talking with lawmakers. We'll discuss where these issues currently stand in the Kentucky General Assembly, and explore ways to build support for protecting Kentucky's land, air and water. You'll also learn detailed information about the march and rally.

You can join the discussion by phone, and you can also follow-along with a slide presentation if you like.

  • To view the slide show, go to www.readytalk.com. Then enter access code: 8931147.
  • To join the phone call, dial 866-740-1260 and then enter access Code: 8931147#.
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Cheers for Kentucky and for Fairness in Wilderness Trace

Posted by: KFTC staff on February 8, 2014

It’s been a busy couple of months for members in the Wilderness Trace chapter.

In December, the chapter held its second annual holiday event, Cheers for Kentucky, at V the Market in Danville. Members took the opportunity to not only celebrate the great work the chapter had accomplished over the year, but to also educate people about the shifting political landscape in the chapter area. Because of redistricting, Boyle County is now represented by a new senator. Members posted large printouts of the new district maps and had conversations with people about the shift in legislators.

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Lifting our voices from Home during the General Assembly

Posted by: Tanya Turner on February 3, 2014

It’s a long drive from eastern Kentucky to Frankfort; a full day’s work, to say the least. That’s why members of the Letcher County Chapter of KFTC are getting creative to lift their voices around important issues this Legislative Session. 

The chapter is wrapping up a solid week of terrific work around Kentucky’s General Assembly, right here at home. Last Wednesday, several members hosted a Mountain Talk program on local community radio station WMMT 88.7 FM. The program’s theme of Voting Rights in Kentucky followed up on a recent radio news piece covering a lobby day and rally at the State Capitol in Frankfort organized by the Kentucky Voting Rights Coalition. The Mountain Talk featured clips from that rally as well as commentary from former felon Kristi Kendall in Floyd County,WMMT Mtn Talk on HB 70 retired judge Jim Bowling in Bell County, and the father of a former felon/ coal miner, Carl Shoupe in Harlan County.  

Besides the too often told story of firsthand disenfranchisement of themselves or family members, Judge Bowling gave powerful testimony of his experience sitting on the bench, forced to hand down harsh felony convictions for offenses that once were misdemeanors.

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Footprints for Peace begins annual walk to I Love Mountains Day

Posted by: Jessie Skaggs on January 31, 2014

Perry County member Russell OliverOn Friday, more than a dozen people met in Prestonsburg and began a two-week walk to Frankfort, where they will join more than a thousand other people at I Love Mountains Day.

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Long-overdue rules to limit coal ash exposure coming after court settlement

Posted by: KFTC staff on January 29, 2014

In response to legal action by a broad coalition of national and local groups, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency must finalize first-ever federal standards for the disposal of coal ash by December 19, 2014.

The settlement does not dictate the content of the final regulation, but gives the agency a deadline to finalize standards after years of delay.

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What's happening with Appalachian Transition

Posted by: KFTC Staff on January 23, 2014

The public conversation about the urgent need to shape a just economic transition in eastern Kentucky is evolving fast.

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A day in the life of a first-time citizen lobbyist

Posted by: Doug Peach on January 21, 2014

Last week, I began my internship with the Madison County chapter of KFTC. I am currently a student at Eastern Kentucky University, where I will complete my B.A. in their Criminal Justice next semester. As I am one of a seemingly small minority in that program that does not intend to seek employment in a law enforcement career, but would rather find a more social justice focused vocation, I find that KFTC and I share a great many ideas and opinions on our current criminal justice system.

In this blog entry I hope to show exactly what the average lobbyist experiences, and what anyone can help to accomplish by joining an organization like KFTC.

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Voting Rights – grassroots persistence leads many to believe this is the year!

Posted by: KFTC staff on January 16, 2014

Optimism was high as people from all over Kentucky participated in a Voting Rights Lobby Day and Rally at the capitol on Wednesday.

“We met with a couple of senators and representatives. The attitude was totally different today than it was last year,” said Rev. Alonzo Malone of Louisville. “The whole theme today was hope. I was really encouraged. The whole day symbolized hope.”

Malone was one of dozens of people who met with nearly 50 legislators during morning lobbying. They reminded House members of an upcoming floor vote on House Bill 70 (as early as today), which passed out of committee on Tuesday. They pushed senators to see that the bill gets a hearing and vote in the Senate this year.

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