Action for Democracy to help empower voters

On November 7, dozens of KFTC members and Kentuckians gathered by video conference for a discussion and launch of Action for Democracy, KFTC’s year-round approach to building grassroots power to win on election day, increase civic engagement, build a healthy democracy, and pass progressive local, state and federal legislation that improves the quality of life for all Kentuckians.

More than 100 folks registered for the call and received the recording and action steps, and many others followed along via Facebook Live.

Serena Owen brought her enthusiasm as the host, and opened by reminding people that, “usually on the first Tuesday in November you might be huddled close to your television or Twitter feed watching election results.” She thanked everyone for spending their non-election night on the call.

Participants heard from KFTC grassroots leaders across the state who shared stories from local and statewide organizing work this year and plans for carrying that momentum into 2018. Here’s what some had to say:

"Realizing that there is an entire, huge network of other progressive-minded people in Kentucky – and not just in Louisville – was really helpful, and it’s kept me motivated to stay.” — Alex Haynes, Jefferson County

“We’re all part of the commonwealth. And the commonwealth is a political community founded for the common good. But I think it’s more than that. I think it’s our common land, our common water, the common air we breath, our common institutions that make Kentucky what it is. And we have had to fight for it this year.” — Rosanne Klarer, Scott County

“We are showing, every day, what a people-powered grassroots movement can do in southern Kentucky. One day we’re going to pass a fairness ordinance in this city. It’s going to be a beautiful day, and it will be because of the people-powered movement we have built.” — Patti Minter, Warren County

Participants were then given the opportunity to have small group discussions and considered these questions: What have we learned about voter engagement in our community since the 2016 election? What seems possible in 2018? What do we want to build together next year?

During the report back, it was clear that KFTC members are ready to take action. People talked about the need to connect the issues people experience every day with the decisions made by elected officials. Lots of folks were interested in increasing KFTC’s deep canvassing work, engaging young people and other new groups of voters, and working to get better candidates on the ballot.

Renee Wilson from Kenton County shared, “Last year we went canvassing, knocking on doors and speaking with our neighbors and people in the community. And I’m also a poll worker, so I witnessed that a lot of people that had not voted previously came out to vote after the canvassing. Once they were made aware how important their vote was, they came out. I hope the possibility for 2018 is that even more people come out to vote.”

The video conference concluded after participants were encouraged to spread the word and apply for KFTC’s Candidate Exploration Workshop held on December 9. They also were urged to take these action steps:

  1. Go to www.kftc.org/support to join KFTC or renew their membership. The money KFTC raises through grassroots fundraising goes directly to supporting voter engagement and grassroots lobbying work.
  2. Join their chapter’s Democracy Team. These teams are meeting throughout December to begin creating their local voter engagement strategies for 2018. Contact your local organizer. People who live in a county that does not have a KFTC chapter may contact Alicia Hurle, KFTC’s deputy organizing director for democracy, at alicia@kftc.org or 502-589-3188 to get connected.
  3. Visit the Voting & Democracy page at www.KFTC.org/voting-democracy to learn about ways to help empower voters. There will be plenty of volunteer opportunities in 2018, including participating in voter registration drives, community canvassing, phone banks, rides to the polls, and more. Reach out to KFTC local organizers or Alicia to be contacted about these future opportunities.


KFTC believes in the power of people working together to take action on issues that affect everyone. These steps today will help build a healthy democracy in Kentucky.

A recording of the Action for Democracy launch is available at https://vimeo.com/242946161.