A review of the Republican new majority’s first three months in Frankfort proves its priorities belong to a cabal of out-of-state special interests who just got everything they paid for.
Following the edicts of the Koch Brothers and Americans For Prosperity, it sold out Kentucky’s teachers, workers, students, women and families.
It cast a vote of “no confidence” in Kentucky’s teachers and public schools by creating charter schools that will only siphon critical dollars out of our already-underfunded education system and funnel them to for-profit companies. And it said it was “disgusting” if you disagreed with this corporate payoff.
The Republican new majority implemented a right-to-work law, repealed scaled wages, removed workplace-safety protections and created policy that does nothing for workers but does plenty to enrich the outside corporations that funded its campaigns.
It wrongly says this is what grows our economy. It’s not. Higher skills and higher wages are the way to a better economy. Indeed, as my friend state Rep. Angie Hatton says, the Republican new majority is for the people in suits instead of the people in boots.
It took away the ability of Kentucky women to make choices about their health care, all the while preaching about personal liberty. It’s hypocritical. Somehow its lofty rhetoric never translates to the way the GOP actually governs.
The Republican new majority continued the tradition of failing to come to the aid of the voiceless, refusing to act on legislation to automatically restore felon-voting rights. More than 200,000 Kentuckians who have paid their debts to society remain sentenced to a lifetime of silence because of a mistake in their past.
This is just the surface, and it’s just the beginning.
I came to Frankfort to help people, not to hurt them — that’s what public service is all about. As secretary of state, I work to be a catalyst for growth in our economy so that we’re creating jobs with livable wages, to ensure we are breaking down barriers to the ballot box and running free and fair elections, and most of all, to help improve the lives of all Kentuckians.
In this legislative session, we were successful in allowing Kentuckians to cast their votes early in person because of age, disability or illness.
We also secured a new law to help more than 700,000 Kentuckians who are deaf or hard of hearing in their interactions with law enforcement. And we continued to streamline and update important business laws and pushed for recognition of and help for our veterans.
This is the kind of work we should be doing. These are my priorities. But they will never be the priorities of out-of-state millionaires and billionaires.
To combat this bought-and-paid-for agenda in Frankfort and in Washington, to push back against efforts that repress workers, suppress the rights of women and stifle education — we must get up, get out and get loud.
If you care about a government that works for you, now is the time to get engaged. If you care about your children’s education, now is the time to speak up. If you care about what the future in Kentucky and America looks like for you, your children and your grandchildren, now is the time to take a stand.
Tell the Republican new majority that Kentucky is not for sale.
Alison Lundergan Grimes is Kentucky secretary of state.