KFTC Blog

KFTC members respond to Promise Zone designation

Posted by: KFTC staff on January 9, 2014

KFTC members welcomed today’s announcement by President Barack Obama designating eight counties in eastern Kentucky as a "Promise Zone."

The designation will give the counties priority in applying for federal funding for programs that increase job training, access to affordable housing, educational opportunities, and more.



“The idea of the Promise Zone is encouraging,” said Elizabeth Sanders, a KFTC member from Letcher County, one of the Promise Zone counties. “We have a vision for a future for eastern Kentucky and know we have a lot of promise here in the mountains. If the resources from the federal government through the Promise Zone will coordinate with things like the SOAR Initiative and other existing and future programs, we may begin to see some steps toward the change the people of eastern Kentucky have been ready for and working toward.”


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Fall Fundraising Campaign Wrap-up

Southern Kentucky chapter members Jeanie Smith and Dana Beasley Brown at their Democracy Party Fundraiser
Posted by: Jessica George on January 6, 2014

2013 was a remarkable year for KFTC on many fronts. One of our biggest achievements was surpassing 8,000 members. More than any other year, we as an entire membership built the kind of organization that it takes to make the change we want to see. 

KFTC members held 25 house parties and events across the state and hosted almost 100 Powerbuilder personal fundraising pages. What happens when members participate in fundraising like this (apart from a total Facebook takeover)? We recruit more than 1,347 new members — including 738 during the last quarter of the year — and raise over $500,000. 

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Affordable housing tops central Kentucky KFTC's holiday wish List

Posted by: Beth Howard on December 23, 2013

This year, affordable housing was at the top of the Central Kentucky KFTC chapter’s holiday wish list. Central Kentucky KFTC members asked Santa Claus to deliver an important message to Lexington Mayor Jim Gray: It is time to prioritize an affordable housing trust fund for Lexington.
On Friday morning, Dec. 20th, Santa delivered a stack of Christmas cards to the mayor’s office urging the mayor to take action on the trust fund in 2014.

The cards were created by Central Kentucky KFTC members, as well as members from the BUILD (Building a United Interfaith Lexington through Direct Action) organization who has been working toward the trust fund for the past five years.Upon delivering the cards, Santa said,  “I believe people shouldn’t have to pay money just to have a good place to live, and they certainly shouldn’t pay more than they can afford. Mayor Gray should take urgent action on making affordable housing a reality for all the residents of Lexington.”

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Jefferson County co-hosts Citizen Lobbying 101

Posted by: Elijah McKenzie on December 17, 2013

How does a bill become a law in Kentucky? What’s the best way for people to arrange a meeting with their legislators? How can ordinary citizens hold lawmakers accountable?

These questions, and more, were brought to the forefront during Jefferson County's citizen lobbying training on Wednesday, December 11, which took place at the First Unitarian Church in Louisville.

Images that are often associated with the word “lobbyist” are those of corporate lackeys treating policymakers to expensive drinks over a round of golf. It’s a misconception that was quickly broken as community organizers from throughout the state shared their lobbying experiences on both local and state levels.

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Groups challenge EPA decision allowing Kentucky officials to gut clean water protection

Posted by: KFTC staff on December 13, 2013

Spinal deformities in fish resulting from selenium exposure. Photo: Wake Forest University.

On Friday, community and environmental groups took legal action against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for a recent decision allowing Kentucky to weaken its water quality standards for selenium, a pollutant common to mountaintop removal coal mines.

"KFTC and our allies have worked for years to make EPA fully aware of the systemic failures of Kentucky’s Energy and Environment Cabinet to protect our commonwealth’s people, waters and environment,” said Doug Doerrfeld, a member of KFTC’s litigation team. “In light of this history it is disgraceful that EPA would approve a weakened selenium standard that will not only leave aquatic life at risk but will make citizen enforcement all but impossible."

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Warm and welcoming Morehead adopts fairness ordinance

Posted by: Annie Adams on December 12, 2013

On December 9, Morehead became the sixth city in the Commonwealth to pass legislation to protect the rights of LGBTQ people in their community.

Over the summer, members of the Rowan County KFTC Chapter, in concert with representatives from the American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky, the Kentucky Fairness Coalition and Morehead State University students, began working on strategies to promote fairness legislation. Racehelle Bombe, a Morehead resident, diligently gathered more than 300 signatures in favor of fairness in the past year, while members of the Rowan chapter met individually with city council members to share information regarding statewide movements toward fairness.

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KFTC members speak up for just transition at SOAR Summit

Posted by: KFTC Staff on December 10, 2013

The conversation about economic transition in eastern Kentucky and Appalachia got a big boost on Monday as more than 1,500 people gathered in Pikeville for the SOAR Summit. Dozens of KFTC members participated, sounding the drumbeat for a just transition in the mountains and distributing ideas and literature with specific suggestions on the principles, process and policies that should guide that transition.

SOAR stands for Shaping Our Appalachian Region, a regional planning process announced in October by Governor Steve Beshear and U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers. The summit on December 9 in Pikeville was the first step in that process.

But KFTC members have been talking about a just transition for years.

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Eastern Kentucky women lead reproductive health project

Posted by: Mimi Pickering on December 6, 2013

In the summer of 2009 a group of young women in Letcher County sat down with Gabriela Alcalde, then director of the Kentucky Health Justice Network, to talk about reproductive health experiences they had growing up and living in east Kentucky. Conversation ranged from the limited sex education offered in school to lack of information and access to reproductive health options to concerns about confidentiality and privacy when visiting local health care providers.  

From that discussion came the East Kentucky Reproductive Health Project, originally a collaboration between Appalshop’s Community Media Initiative and Appalachian Media Institute and the Kentucky Health Justice Network. EKRHP uses peer-produced media and community outreach to give voice and visibility to the reproductive health experiences, concerns and needs of women, especially young women, in Appalachian Kentucky. Short videos on a wide range of reproductive health topics created by AMI Correspondents (young woman trained through EKRHP) are posted on www.ekrhp.org along with discussion guides, detailed information on our bodies, and an extensive listing of resources regionally and nationally. EKRHP also has an active Facebook page. Like us!

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A day many have been waiting for comes January 1st!

Posted by: Greg Sturgill on December 6, 2013
Greg Sturgill lives in Lynch, Ky and is active with the Harlan County KFTC Chapter. He has served as a registered nurse for 23 years and wrote this after reading Cara Stewart's article on Kynect and the Affordable Care Act in a recent edition of Balacing the Scales.

With January first rapidly approaching, I look forward to a battle that has been very near and dear to my heart coming to a satisfactory resolution.  Effective January 1st, under the Affordable Healthcare Act, not only can practically every American receive much-needed healthcare, no longer can they be discriminated against with minimal or non-coverage due to pre-existing health conditions, regardless of whether or not they had previous coverage.  It’s a day many hard working Americans, rich, poor or middle-class have been waiting, in some cases, their whole working lives for!

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Eminent domain use for hazardous liquids pipeline challenged

Posted by: KFTC on December 5, 2013

The claim by developers of a proposed hazardous liquids pipeline that they have the power of eminent domain was challenged today in Franklin Circuit Court.

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