Volume 37 Number 3
April 18, 2018
GENERAL ASSEMBLY NEWS
Anti-solar bill stopped ................ 7
Action for Democracy and a $100,000 challenge ............. 14-15
Youth incarceration bill passes, but awareness is growing ................. 8
Power House workshops .......... 20
Regressive tax bills pushed through during wild finish ........................ 9
Itâ€™s time for annual chapter meetings and nominations ...................22-26
Poor Peopleâ€™s Campaign in Kentucky Harlan County community conversation ...... Page 4
A National Call for a Moral Revival
Change Service Requested
Kentuckians For The Commonwealth P.O. Box 1450 London, Ky. 40743
2 | Balancing the Scales
is a statewide grassroots social justice organi zation working for a new balance of power and a just society. KFTC uses direct-action organizing to accomplish the following goals: • foster democratic values • change unjust institutions • empower individuals • overcome racism and other discrimination • communicate a message of what’s possible • build the organization • help people participate • win issues that affect the common welfare • have fun KFTC membership dues are $15 to $50 per year, based on ability to pay. No one is denied membership because of inability to pay. Membership is open to anyone who is committed to equality, democracy and nonviolent change.
KFTC Steering Committee Meta Mendel-Reyes, chairperson Randy Wilson, vice chairperson Christian Torp, secretary-treasurer Cassia Herron, at-large member Mary Love, at-large member Chapter Representatives open, Big Sandy Sarah Bowling, Central Kentucky David Miller, Cumberland Chase Gladson, Harlan County Robby Olivam, Jefferson County Wendy Warren, Madison County Amy Copelin, Northern Kentucky Chanda Campbell, Perry County Chris Merritt, Rowan County Leslie Bebensee, Scott County Joy Fitzgerald, Shelby County Summer Bolton, Southern Kentucky Amanda Groves, Western Kentucky Barbara Farley, Wilderness Trace Alternates: open, Big Sandy; Candice Ryder, Central Kentucky; Dino Melgoza, Cumberland; Cheyanna Gladson, Harlan County; Chandra Cruz-Thompson, Jefferson County; Rebecca Tucker, Madison County; Lauren Gabbard, Northern Kentucky; Russell Oliver, Perry County; Allie Secor, Rowan County; Clare White, Scott County; Cynthia Dare, Shelby County; Teresa Christmas, Southern Kentucky; Shaina Goodman, Western Kentucky; Margaret Gardiner, Wilderness Trace
www.kftc.org | April 18, 2018
Table of Contents
Executive Committee Corner: Challenge is an opportunity ........................................................ 3 Economic Justice Poor People’s Campaign comes to eastern Kentucky .............................................................. 4-5 Wendy Warren: The Poor People’s Campaign: a legacy and a promise ..................................... 6
Kentucky General Assembly Coordinated grassroots effort stops anti-rooftop solar bill............................................................... 7 Lobbying changes minds on youth incarceration bill........................................................................... 8 Tumultuous finish results in regressive taxes, bad budget . ............................................................. 9 More about the tax law changes .............................................................................................................. 10 Legislators again fail to take up voting rights ..................................................................................... 10 State legislators make it harder for coal miners to qualify for black lung benefits ............... 12
Action for Democracy Get involved in local voter empowerment work with KFTC ........................................................ 11 Meta Mendel-Reyes: An opportunity and a challenge ................................................................ 14-15 Peter and Denise Zielinski: Active participation is the best antidote to despair......................16 Many KFTC members active with regional democracy teams.........................................................16
New Energy and Transition Larry Miller: Worker advocacy spurs Congress to look at pension crisis ...................................12 RECLAIM gains momentum though left out of spending bill...........................................................13 KFTC launches Power House energy efficiency workshops........................................................... 20
Local Updates – Building Grassroots Power A student perspective on guns in schools...............................................................................................17 Pike residents plan Unity Celebration for peace and inclusion........................................................18 Iroquois high school students question legislators on education, other issues........................18 Hundreds support higher ed at NKU rally................................................................................................18 NKY members welcome nuns, support immigrants’ rights...............................................................19 Scott County residents celebrate another favorable vote on landfill expansion......................19
Racial Justice Virginia Meagher: SIFI works to protect immigrants from deportation..................................... 21 KFTC News Angel Hill working with the youth shaping the movement.............................................................. 17 KFTC Annual Membership Meeting, August 3-5 at Berea College............................................... 22 Annual chapter meetings in May and June .......................................................................................... 22 Nominations for statewide officers and leadership committees .......................................... 23-26 Steering Committee focuses on Just Transition work in EKy......................................................... 27 KFTC is hiring in eastern Kentucky........................................................................................................... 27
KFTC on social media Facebook www.KFTC.org/facebook For chapter Facebook pages, visit: www.kftc.org/links
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@kentuckiansforthecommonwealth To find our photos on Flickr:
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www.kftc.org | April 18, 2018
Balancing the Scales | 3
executive committee corner
Challenge is a time of opportunity for us, not of fear By Christian Torp KFTC Secretary-Treasurer Some KFTC members may have an affinity for one political party or another, or none. But we’re not focused on candidates, we’re focused on creating the world of which we dream though is not yet. KFTC is a 36-year-old statewide grassroots organization working for a new balance of power and a just society. As we work together we build our strength, individually and as a group, and we find solutions to real life problems. We use direct action to challenge – and change – unfair political, economic
and social systems. These are challenging times, but we are not challenged. We challenge, we create change. Difficult times are opportunities of great potential and we cannot let ourselves lose sight of the goal. As Frederick Douglass said, “This struggle may be a moral one, or it may be a physical one, and it may be both moral and physical, but it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.” Douglass was born into slavery, escaped and was
Help us stretch … KFTC’s Action for Democracy Spring Campaign is underway! Much is at stake for our communities this year. And we have an opportunity in this important election year to influence the political landscape with powerful voter engagement work. There is a role for all of us. Action for Democracy is 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. We’re registering voters, talking to folks at their front doors, meeting with legislators, hosting town halls, surveying candidates and more. As funds allow, we’ll also hire voter empowerment organizers during the election season. Our spring fundraising campaign is focused on this powerful democracy work, and your gifts to the campaign will assure its success. A generous donor has offered a $100,000 matching gift – to get the gift we must first raise $100,000 by June 1. This is about three times what we normally raise in April and May, so we all need to stretch to meet this important challenge. Get started at www.kftc.org/support or with the form on page 11. Even if your membership is current or you normally give in the fall, please make a donation to support this work. Elections determine leaders and leaders set policy and policies shape the quality of our schools, our communities and our families.
a wanted man, the “property” of Hugh Auld – only to become known worldwide as an orator and suffrage advocate. A time of challenge is a time for change, a time for change is an opportunity not to be wasted. This opportunity may never be before us again. Now is not a time for those of us with privilege to slink into our communities, into our holes for protection. It is our time to rise and shine. The civil rights movement and ensuing Black Power struggle that began when Rosa Parks placed her body at risk and disobeyed the law didn’t begin with her, it began long before with others who refused to subject themselves to injustice. We don’t hear about Claudette Colvin. We don’t hear about Irene Morgan, the feisty 28-year-old African American mother of two who on July 16, 1944 boarded a Greyhound bus in Gloucester County, Virginia. Having recently suffered a miscarriage, she refused to stand for a white passenger. Virginia law prohibited Blacks and Whites from sharing a seat, and the bus went to the police station. When Morgan was served with an arrest warrant she “took it and tore it up and just threw it out the window.” On June 3, 1946 the U.S. Supreme Court voted 6-1 that segregationist state laws like Virginia’s were unconstitutional. Wait, Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on December 1, 1955, more than 9 years after the Supreme Court ruled segregation illegal? Challenge is a time of opportunity, not of fear and it’s not enough to try once. We must fight unceasingly. We might not be victorious today … or tomorrow, but we’re only defeated when we do not rise to fight again. Cover: KFTC member Chase Gladson shared a story as Rev. Liz Theoharis and Rev. William Barber II listen during the Harlan County stop of the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for a Moral Revival. About 150 people took part in the gathering. Photo by Steve Pavey. Balancing the Scales is published by Kentuckians For The Commonwealth and mailed third class from Louisville. Reader contributions and letters to the editor should be sent to P.O. Box 864, Prestonsburg, Ky. 41653 or jhardt@kftc. org. Subscriptions are $20/yr.
www.kftc.org | April 18, 2018
4 | Balancing the Scales
Poor People’s Campaign comes to eastern Kentucky Nearly 150 people from across Kentucky and central Appalachia gathered in Harlan County on March 29 for a community conversation with each other and with Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II and Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis, as part of the national listening tour of the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival. Rev. Barber and Rev. Theoharis are the co-chairs for the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival, which is a multiyear campaign to build power among the poorest and most powerless communities. For the last several months they have been on a listening tour, visiting with communities around the country where people are organizing to address issues related to poverty, racism, ecological devastation, and the war economy. The day began with a visit to the East Kentucky Social Club in Lynch, where local residents shared some of the history of Lynch and neighboring Benham, where, at its peak, ten thousand people lived and dozens of languages were spoken by immigrants who had come to work in the coal mines. But as the coal industry declined, so did the number of folks living in this community, especially young folks. “When you have to leave your whole culture, your home – this is not right. We are going to make a better world for all of us, so it doesn’t have to be that young people can’t be here anymore,” said Rev. Theoharis. Lynch residents also talked of the decline of unions, which helped miners win better pay and ben-
efits for themselves and their families. “In 1998 they shut the mine down. It stayed closed for one year, opened back up as nonunion,” said Rutland Melton. They noted the anti-coal miner actions of President Trump and other elected officials, despite their rhetoric of being for miners. That included health, safety and environmental laws that have been rolled back by Republican state and federal administrations. “We need those regulations to stay alive,” said Bennie Massey Sr., a retired union coal miner. “When the president tells us that he loves coal miners but he doesn’t believe in unions, it’s actually a cover up,” noted Rev. Barber. Community conversations continued down the road at the Benham Schoolhouse Inn, where folks shared at their lunch table stories of struggle and of organizing, and also how folks are taking action to advance justice and protect what matters. Some highlights included the role of arts and culture, plays produced by Higher Ground in Harlan County, stories and leaderless conversations to respond to racism, and the connections being made and conversations happening that day. Reports from the table conversations highlighted how many of the issues people face in their communi-
ties are interconnected. Tanya Turner, one of the emcees for the afternoon, shared how issues of poverty and economic injustice cut across many lines of difference. “We’ve heard about what the impacts are when we don’t see the investment we need in our communities, how that impacts us becoming our full creative selves, how it impacts how we’re able to show up in our communities, what we’re able to do, how we’re able to move and hold legislators accountable, and what kind of access we have to jobs and health care,” Turner said. After the table conversations and report backs, Rev. Barber talked of the interconnected injustices that the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival is focused on throughout the listening tour: systemic racism, systemic poverty, ecological devastation and the war economy. These issues, according to Rev. Barber, are doing the greatest harm to the foundation of democracy. Threats to our democracy also come in the form of voter suppression laws. The Poor People’s Campaign estimates that since 2010, 23 states, including Kentucky, passed voter suppression laws. Those same states have the highest poverty rates, highest rates of poverty (continued on the next page)
The ballroom at the Schoolhouse Inn in Benham was near capacity for the community conversation and lunch. Photo by Steve Pavey.
www.kftc.org | April 18, 2018
Balancing the Scales | 5
Poor People’s Campaign … Photo by Steve Pavey
(continued from previous page) among women and children, don’t support living wages and are anti-union. “Being poor isn’t a sin. Systems that keep people in poverty are a sin,” said Rev. Barber. To address these systemic issues, 39 states, including Kentucky, have state coordinating committees to launch a multiyear movement that begins on May 13 with 40 days of organizing and nonviolent moral direct action. Folks will engage in voter education, civic engagement, movement building and building power from the ground up. On June 23 there will be a major mobilization in Washington, D.C. where people from around the country will stand up for a just and moral political agenda, including a living wage, health care, housing, the right to organize, and more. After the mobilization in Washington D.C., Rev. Theoharis says folks will go …“back to our communities to dig even deeper roots for a movement that can seriously take on these interlocking evils. And we can really unite people and see the connections and see the power of people to confront systemic racism, poverty, ecological devastation and the war economy.”
Chase Gladson, an eighth-grader in Harlan County, shared his excitement about being a part of this movement. “It’s time that we empower our voices and to work on these issues and show people that this is real, this is happening in your community, that it’s happening all over the world and we have to do something about it,” said Gladson, who has spoken at several campaign events around the state. “I’m so fired up and so excited to do this work. I will be there in Washington D.C., holding my sign up proudly and show that I know what’s going on and that I am taking action.” To get involved with the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival, sign up at www.poorpeoplescampaign.org. Actions in Kentucky will take place on six successive Mondays, beginning May 13. A series of nonviolent direct action trainings are being offered in April and early May to prepare for the actions.
1. We are rooted in a moral analysis based on our deepest religious and constitutional values that demand justice for all. Moral revival is necessary to save the heart and soul of our democracy. 2. We are committed to lifting up and deepening the leadership of those most affected by systemic racism, poverty, the war economy, and ecological devastation and to building unity across lines of division. 3. We believe in the dismantling of unjust criminalization systems that exploit poor communities and communities of color and the transformation of the “War Economy” into a “Peace Economy” that values all humanity. 4. We believe that equal protection under the law is non-negotiable. 5. We believe that people should not live in or die from poverty in the richest nation ever to exist. Blaming the poor and claiming that the United States does not have an abundance of resources to overcome poverty are false narratives used to perpetuate economic exploitation, exclusion, and deep inequality. 6. We recognize the centrality of systemic racism in maintaining economic oppression must be named, detailed and exposed empirically, morally and spiritually. Poverty and economic inequality cannot be understood apart from a society built on white supremacy. 7. We aim to shift the distorted moral narrative often promoted by religious extremists in the nation from issues like prayer in school, abortion, and gun rights to one that is concerned with how our society treats the poor, those on the margins, the least of these, LGBTQIA folks, workers, immigrants, the disabled and the sick; equality and representation under the law; and the desire for peace, love and harmony within and among nations. 8. We will build up the power of people and state-based movements to serve as a vehicle for a powerful moral movement in the country and to transform the political, economic and moral structures of our society. 9. We recognize the need to organize at the state and local level — many of the most regressive policies are being passed at the state level, and these policies will have long and lasting effect, past even executive orders. The movement is not from above but below. 10. We will do our work in a non-partisan way — no elected officials or candidates get the stage or serve on the State Organizing Committee of the Campaign. This is not about left and right, Democrat or Republican, but about right and wrong.
Photo by Steve Pavey The first stop on the tour was a visit by Rev. Liz Theoharis and Rev. William Barber with residents of Lynch at the East Kentucky Social Club.
11. We uphold the need to do a season of sustained moral direct action as a way to break through the tweets and shift the moral narrative. We are demonstrating the power of people coming together across issues and geography and putting our bodies on the line to the issues that are affecting us all. 12. The Campaign and all its Participants and Endorsers embrace nonviolence. Violent tactics or actions will not be tolerated.
www.kftc.org | April 18, 2018
6 | Balancing the Scales
The Poor People’s Campaign: a legacy and a promise By Wendy Zagray Warren It takes both hands to pull my skinny leg from the mire to take my next step. As soon as I put my foot down again, I feel it being drawn into the earth. When my foot touches solid ground, the mud is cool. It squishes between my toes. I squeal with delight. This is my six-year old idea of heaven. I have never seen my parents walking in mud before. I glance up at my mother and see her face is set as she concentrates on each step. Dad looks at her and grins. Because their legs are so much longer, my parents have a much easier time walking than we do. My younger brother, Jim, and I sink to our knees with every step. If I don’t keep moving, I’m afraid I might sink to the center of the earth. The Washington Monument looms over us. Tents surround us in every direction. Boards stand propped above some of them, attempting to keep out the rain that has been falling for days. Some are not tents at all, but shelters constructed of pieces of metal, wood, anything that could be pounded together. The tents and shelters sit in tight rows along narrow streets of mud. The earthy smell of warming mud mixes with the slightly sweet odor of human perspiration. This city hums with activity: people laughing together inside tents, kids running zigzags in and out of tent poles, people cooking and eating together. In 1968, my family traveled to Washington, D.C. from our home in northeast Ohio to attend the march on Washington that Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. planned as part of the nationwide, multi-racial movement known as the Poor People’s Campaign. Dr. King had been murdered on April 4. I remember tears in my dad’s eyes as he told me the news. My dad was com-
mitted to Dr. King’s expanding work against dehumanization in all its forms, including increased militarization and U.S. policies and practices that held people in poverty. In support of a Poor People’s Campaign that called for a radical redistribution of power, ordinary families like mine traveled in caravans across the nation. In June of 1968, more than three thousand people set up camp on the Washington Mall in what became known as Resurrection City. It rained for days. As my parents led us through this makeshift community, Dad explained that he wanted to show our support for the work Dr. King had begun in the hope that it would continue. He wanted his young children to bear witness to the powerful events of 1968. I wish I had pictures to share from that time. Dad took many photos of Resurrection City, but unlike any of the thousands of other photos he took in his lifetime, these rolls of film went missing after he’d taken them to be developed. Fifty years later, the struggle continues. On March 29, I joined a group of people in Benham, Kentucky, to hear Rev. Dr. William Barber and Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis breathe new life into The Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival. The new organization has done its research to tell a story that will re-educate the nation. As Dr. Barber shares that 60 percent more people live in poverty today than in 1968, he speaks of those who have been made poor. The statistics are staggering. • • •
700,000 Kentuckians live below the officially designated poverty line, and far more cannot consistently meet their basic needs. Of the world’s 25 wealthiest nations, only the U.S. doesn’t offer universal health care, resulting in 37 million people without coverage. Four million children are exposed to water con-
• • •
taminated with lead. Four hundred families in the U.S. make more than $97,000 an hour, while 62 million make less than $15 an hour. The wealthiest three people in this country hold more wealth than the economically lowest half of the population combined. The majority of people forced into poverty are white women and children.
Rev. Barber said, “Somebody’s hurting my sister, and it’s gone on far too long.” To add insult to injury, 23 states (Kentucky among them) have passed voter suppression laws since 2010. Clearly, this is a moral crisis. The solutions, Rev. Dr. Barber says, must rise from the ground up. “The cries from the hollers need to join the cries of people in Detroit,” and systems must be transformed until they reflect the moral values of the people of the nation. Just as in 1968, achieving a redistribution of wealth and power will require working across lines too often used to divide us, including skin color, ethnic group, gender, sexual identity, religious identity, and a host of others. Attempts at division are purposeful; they allow the wealthy to maintain power. It’s time for the rest of us to reclaim our influence as active members of a democracy. The artificial lines that seem to separate issues must also be rejoined, exposing them as parts of a whole. The Poor People’s Campaign identifies five interlocking injustices: systemic racism, systemic poverty, ecological devastation, militarism and a war economy, and Christian nationalism. Rev. Dr. Barber and Rev. Dr. Theoharis challenged us to imagine what resistance and redistribution will look like here in Kentucky, as well as how we will join with people from the 39 states who have already committed to action. I plan to stay tuned to the website of The Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival and KFTC’s website to watch for upcoming events. Walking in my parents’ footsteps, I have joined the movement. I invite you to do the same.
for being a member or supporter of KFTC. You make the work you read about in Balancing the Scales possible – 36 years of it!
www.kftc.org | April 18, 2018
Balancing the Scales | 7
2018 General Assembly
Coordinated grassroots effort stops anti-rooftop solar bill In one of its final legislative acts before adjourning, the Senate tabled a vote on House Bill 227, the antirooftop solar bill pushed by utilities. At the last possible moment, Senate leaders recommitted the bill to a committee rather than bringing it up for a vote because the bill did not have enough support to pass. When the 2018 session of the General Assembly ended an hour or so later, KFTC members and solar advocates celebrated. “I am very happy,” said E. Gail Chandler of Shelby County. “I’m 75 years old and this is the first time I’ve ever actively been involved in fighting a bill. It’s very gratifying to win. It makes me hopeful for the future, not only for Kentucky but for this country.” “While we can all breathe a huge sigh of relief, we will not rest. We know that the utilities are not going to just let this go,” noted KFTC member Steve Wilkins of Berea. “I was glad that solar businesses, environmental groups, and other allies coordinated so well together during this session. “We demonstrated the power of independent voices bringing a common message and aligned strategy. We will need to build on that, because there’s still so much more work for us to do.” HB 227 was one of the most heavily and expensively lobbied bills during the 2018 session. Numerous utility lobbyists worked for passage of HB 227, which would have ended solar net-metering as we know it and wrecked the future of rooftop solar in Kentucky. According to their financial disclosure forms, major utilities (LG&E/KU, Kentucky Association of Electric Cooperatives, Big Rivers Electric Corporation and Duke Energy) spent more than $200,000 lobbying on HB 227 in January and February alone. That figure does not include additional spending by the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, the Kentucky Association of Manufacturers, several statebased groups funded by the Koch Brothers, and a national industry front group called the Consumer Energy Alliance. “The utilities used and burned a lot of political capital on this bill,” said Wilkins. “They have existential fears, and it’s important to acknowledge that. But their attacks on net-metering are short-sighted and do not resolve their existential concerns. “Rather than doing the heavy lift to create new, long-term business models in a transforming energy market, they are pursuing the short-term goal of destroying net-metered rooftop solar.” Wilkins said.
“That will only accelerate the defection of customers from the grid, leaving them in a worse position than they are in now.” HB 227 also was one of the bills KFTC members worked hardest against, along with numerous other allies and solar business groups. It was actively opposed by environmental and conservation groups, solar businesses, free enterprise advocates, rural development organizations, affordable housing organizations, faith based groups, several Tea Party aligned groups, and many others. Widespread public opposition made it hard for utilities to get the bill moving, and slowed its progress during the three-month session. Utility lobbyists and their legislative allies amended the bill multiple times, each time calling the new version a “compromise.” But there were never sincere negotiations. And none of the versions of the bill proposed in the House or Senate addressed the concerns of solar advocates. Among other tactics, HB 227 proponents set up robocalls to Kentuckians, connecting voters through-
out the state to the Legislative Message Line. Some lawmakers reported that the calls and emails they received at times ran heavily in favor of HB 227. But Rep. David Hale, noted in his floor speech that when he called people back, they said they had not contacted him. He explained his no vote was based on those types of fraudulent and bullying actions by some of the bill’s supporters. Proponents of HB 227 also promoted an urbanrural divide, presenting solar energy as something supported by liberal urban elites and of no benefit to rural areas. Some lawmakers bought and repeated that argument, while others did not. "We absolutely don't have a problem with what's going on with solar," said Rep. Tim Couch of Hyden, who also is a strong backer of coal. . “The bill has nothing to do with fairness, and is all about corporate profits," added Rep. Chris Harris. “How we vote on this bill shows where our sympathies lie,” stated Rep. Angie Hatton of Letcher County. “My sympathy lies with the people in my district who are struggling to pay their electric bills. It does not lie with the monopoly utilities.”
House Bill 227 timeline in the 2018 Kentucky General Assembly January 31 – Rep. Jim Gooch called a special meeting of the Natural Resources & Energy Committee, but abruptly adjourned when it was clear, after strong testimony from solar industry advocates, that HB 227 did not have the support to pass. February 2 – House leaders appointed three additional members to the NR&E Committee, saying their action had nothing to do with stacking the committee so that HB 227 could advance. February 8 – In another special-called meeting, HB 227 won committee approval by a 14-4 vote (with 3 passes and one abstention). February 27 – After being slowed by 29 House floor amendments and growing opposition, HB 227 was recommitted to the House Natural Resources & Energy Committee. March 5 – At another special meeting, Gooch presented a “compromise” bill; during discussion, Gooch had to ask an industry lobbyist to explain it. The answer surprised committee members, as it differed from the summary Gooch had offered. Gooch abruptly adjourned the meeting.
March 13 – During the fourth special committee meeting, a new version of HB 227 passed 13-2-1. March 14 – After a two-hour debate, the full House approved HB 227 by a 49-45 vote. March 15-29 – The intense lobbying efforts then focused on the Senate, particularly the Natural Resources & Energy Committee. While committee members and utilities were negotiating behind the scenes, Senate leaders made some parliamentary maneuvers to help fast-track passage of the bill. March 29 – The Senate NR&E committee approved another version of HB 227, by a 6-3 vote, with some additional and still unacceptable changes. March 29-April 14 - HB 227 was on the Senate’s agenda during the final days of the session. But Senate leaders repeatedly skipped over the bill, while working to secure enough votes for its passage. April 14 – HB 227 was sent back to the Senate committee, rather than being called up for a final vote in the Senate. The 2018 General Assembly came to a close about an hour later.
8 | Balancing the Scales
www.kftc.org | April 18, 2018
2018 General Assembly
Lobbying changes minds on youth incarceration bill KFTC’s vision statement reads: We are working for a day when Kentuckians – and all people – enjoy a better quality of life … When all people have health care, shelter, food, education, and other basic needs …When children are listened to and valued …When discrimination is wiped out of our laws, habits, and hearts. Kentucky legislators made many decisions that stand in the way of our vision during the 2018 General Assembly. Among them was the passage of House Bill 169, the “Youth Incarceration Bill.” HB 169 received final approval by the House and Senate on April 13. At the time this newsletter went to print, there was still an opportunity for Governor Bevin to veto the bill. The bill expands the definition of gang membership and mandates harsh sentences, even for misdemeanors, if one is part of a gang under a new, broad definition. The details of the bill are at http://bit.ly/ lrchb169. KFTC’s Platform states that: We oppose the inappropriate use of police powers, the expansion and privatization of the prison system, and the use of excessive force by police, including the targeting and killing of African Americans and other people of color… We call for an immediate end to the mass incarceration of African Americans and other people of color, and the practices by which mass incarceration is currently implemented. HB 169 would be a practice by which mass incarceration is implemented. The bill would destroy the futures of young Kentuckians and perpetuate racial profiling and mass incarceration. Similar laws in other states proved ineffective at making communities safer. And they continued the disproportionate incarceration of Black and Brown folks, separating people from their families and destabilizing communities. In Mississippi, the Jackson Free Press reported that only Black suspects had been prosecuted under a similar law from 2010 through 2017, despite the prevalence of white gangs in the state. Yet the Kentucky Senate rejected an amendment to add a racial impact study to the bill.
“HB 169 is not only dangerous for Black and Brown young people as a pro-incarceration bill, it’s dangerous because the very essence is reversing decades of work that many Black and Brown people fought against,” Chanelle Helm of Louisville Black Lives Matter said. “Systemic racism is real and at the seat of a large regression of laws aimed at mass incarceration of Black folks and the deportation of indigenous Brown folks. Solidarity and fighting for social justice is fighting for justice for us all.” In the Senate floor debate, Sen. Reggie Thomas said he hasn’t seen once where the KKK or neo-Nazis have been charged under any gang legislation, “and this bill won’t change Members with messages during one of the KFTC lobby days during that either.” the general assembly. The Kentucky Center for Economic Policy reported that “research shows such an ap- Louisville, were called on by Black leaders and people proach does not reduce violent crime, could intensify of color-led organizations to stand in solidarity against gang activity and would likely disproportionately lead the racist bill. Chapters and members used texts, to the incarceration of persons of color for long periods emails, phone calls, and social media to grow opposiof time.” KCEP’s fact sheet on the bill is at http://bit. tion to HB 169. Members had lobby meetings, attended and testified at committee meetings, and worked ly/kcephb169. To make communities safer, those dollars are bet- with allies to organize transportation to Frankfort. ter spent on education, affordable housing, mental During the public workers’ rally on April 13, Jefhealth care, job training, and other services that pre- ferson County chapter members handed out stickers vent violence and help people thrive, numerous people that read, “Fund education, not incarceration.” They had conversations with teachers and public workers in pointed out. line for shuttles about the intersection and connection State Representative Attica Scott said: of legislators voting to fund HB 169 while they were cutting funding for important services. “We are neither preventing gang violence nor Rep. Scott pointed out on Twitter that grassroots addressing the root causes of gang affiliation opposition to the measure held legislators accountable with this measure. Young people who will be and pressured many into changing their position since targeted by this bill have experienced almost all a similar bill was filed in the House during the 2017 of the adverse childhood experiences that call us General Assembly: to support trauma-informed measures. Instead of taxpayers funding this $19,514,900 bill, “Y'all. In 2017, only 3 no votes. In 2018 on the we could fully fund public education, we could first vote, 17 no votes. Today, 30 no votes. People reinstate the $2 million that were cut from pubpower across Kentucky did this despite the bill lic libraries, we could fund teenage parenting passing. Thank you to Kentuckians for standing programs, we could raise the minimum wage in solidarity. #kyga18” for families that are living paycheck-to-paycheck where kids feel like they have to go out and be The final House vote was 59-30. The vote in the breadwinners.” Senate was even closer, 21-17, with six Republicans KFTC members, especially in Lexington and joining all Democrats in opposing the bill.
www.kftc.org | April 18, 2018
Balancing the Scales | 9
2018 General Assembly
Tumultuous finish results in regressive taxes, bad budget KFTC is working to create a Kentucky where companies and the wealthy pay their share of taxes, where all our people have health care, shelter, food, education, and other basic needs, and where the voices of ordinary people are heard and respected in our democracy. Republican legislators gave away hundreds of millions of dollars to the state’s wealthiest residents and corporations in the final days of the 2018 General Assembly. To fund that giveaway, they raised taxes on everyone else and kept many of the draconian cuts that Gov. Matt Bevin had included in his original budget proposal. In the process of doing so, they made a mockery of the democratic process. The first 57 days of the legislative session saw some drama – as much outside the legislative chambers as in as thousands of public workers and teachers rallied against proposals to dismantle the public pension system and in support of funding for public education. That drama heightened on March 29. Up to that point Republican leaders had been unable to get enough support to pass a pension bill. So without notice, a bill about sewer systems was changed into a 291-page bill about pensions. Rep. Jerry Miller allowed the bill to be pushed through his State and Local Government Committee while most members of the committee were still trying to figure out what was in the bill. It passed the full House and the Senate that same day. The votes were taken without any public input or testimony, with Democrats having been given no say on the provisions in the bill, and before most legislators had a chance even to read the bill. No Democrats voted for the pension bill, and a handful of Republicans also did not support it. That set the stage for April 2, the next day the legislature was in session. In a like manner, Republicans produced a 350page bill (House Bill 366) that significantly shifts taxes from the wealthy and corporations to everyone else. An analysis by the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy and the Institute for Taxation and Economic Policy shows that HB 366 “is a huge tax cut for the wealthiest Kentuckians and a shift in reliance onto everyone else. As a share of their income the richest 1 percent of Kentuckians – who make on average $1,042,000 a year – will receive an average tax cut of $7,086 while the poorest 95 percent of Ken-
tuckians will receive a tax increase. The biggest tax increase as a share of income will go to Kentuckians making less than $21,000 a year.” But most legislators did not know this because they didn’t have a chance to read the bill. No analysis of the bill had been given to them. HB 366 passed by “I was proud to join other Kentuckians in Frankfort last Friday with my KFTC slim margins, 51-44 in sweatshirt on. The huge crowd was what democracy looks like – even if the the House and 20-18 legislature was unworthy of it,” said KFTC Chairperson Meta Mendel-Reyes. in the Senate. Again, no Democrats voted KFTC works for an open, healthy democracy and a high quality of life for all for the bill. people. In recent days we witnessed some of the best examples of demo Also on April 2, cratic participation and the worst examples of political manipulation. As Republicans passed a legislators passed bills that undermine our democratic values and sense of two-year state budbasic fairness, Kentuckians stood up on the steps of the capitol and across get. While the small the state to demonstrate the grassroots power at the heart of democracy. amount of additional revenue projected in As we move forward in this fight, it’s important that we stand together. We HB 366 allowed some are working for a Kentucky that we haven’t yet achieved, where politicians proposed cuts to be don’t have the power to divide us. By being part of a movement that is restored, the budget inclusive and builds off the strength that we have when we work together, still made significant we can create such a Kentucky. cuts to education, im– KFTC Executive Committee posed a 6.25% cut to most state agencies and eliminated funding for textbooks, the Commission Then Gov. Matt Bevin vetoed the revenue bill and the budget bill. on Women and other important programs. That brought another round of drama and un No Democrat voted for the budget. “While the perpetrators of these actions congrat- certainty in the legislature’s final two days, April 13ulate each other, we recognize their actions as a failure 14. of leadership,” the KFTC Executive Committee said “Both the budget and the tax bill are bad pieces in a statement to the membership. “When unpopular of legislation, designed to dismantle Kentucky’s and harmful legislation passes in secrecy and by the most important public institutions and to shift tax power of political manipulation, then our democracy responsibilities from the wealthiest Kentuckians to is damaged and the aspirations and participation of the rest of us,” KFTC Chairperson Meta MendelKentuckians are ignored. This is not the leadership Reyes wrote in a letter to Democratic lawmakers. Kentuckians want or that will move our state for(continued on page 10) ward.”
www.kftc.org | April 18, 2018
10 | Balancing the Scales
2018 General Assembly
Tumultuous finish results in regressive taxes, bad budget
continued from previous page “They were forced through the General Assembly by the new Republican leadership in a dramatic, 11th hour display of anti-democratic process. They were bad bills last week, they’re still bad bills, and their fate should be left to the hands of those who forged them.” Legislators voted to override Bevin’s veto of both bills – again with only Republican votes. Not done, on the final day Republicans offered some “tweaks” to the revenue and budget bills. House Bill 487 was turned into a 417-page revenue bill that essentially replaces HB 366. Only it raises $80 million less by giving more corporate tax breaks. Again the bill was passed before most legislators had a chance to read it, and with no Democratic support. “Transparency was one of the casualties of this general assembly,” pointed out Rosanne Klarer, a Scott County member and retired special education teacher. “They didn't even stick with their own procedure. This type of governing is very destructive. It feeds people's cynicism.” “The pension changes and budget cuts are just the latest step in their campaign [against working people and the public good],” the KFTC Executive Committee continued in its statement. “We can expect more of the same until we vote them out and elect leaders who share our values. That is why KFTC has elevated our Action for Democracy work (registering, educating and mobilizing voters) in 2018 and beyond. “KFTC members know what a healthy democracy looks like, and we know that a tax system best serves our commonwealth when it is fair to all, adequate and sustainable. Standing together, we will create this Kentucky.”
More about the tax law changes Legislators approved a tax overhaul bill that flattens Kentucky's corporate and personal income tax rates, setting both at 5 percent. Previously, Kentucky's corporate tax rate ran between 4 and 6 percent, while its income tax rate ranged from 2 to 6 percent. The result is that legislators chose to increase taxes on small businesses and the poorest Kentuckians while cutting taxes for the largest corporations and wealthiest Kentuckians. Their choice will cost Kentucky $500 million in lost tax revenue. The tax bill attempts to make up this loss by increasing the cigarette tax by 50 cents per pack and adding the sales taxes on 17 additional services, including automotive repairs, landscaping, janitorial work and pet grooming. Overall, the plan gives an average $7,000 tax cut to the richest 1 percent of Kentuckians, who average more than $1 million in annual income, according to the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy (KCEP). The legislature also approved a budget that raised the state's per-pupil funding to $4,000, from $3,700 (though still below 2008 levels when adjusted for inflation). The budget cuts preschool and after-school funding, and includes significant cuts for higher education. “It's not improving education. We're still 16 percent below where we were a decade ago on education funding,” said Jason Bailey of KCEP. This is now the 20th round of budget cuts since 2008. Republicans defended the tax measure, in part as necessary to avoid deeper cuts to education and to fund teachers' pensions, with the Legislative Research Commission saying that the tax package would generate an additional $239 million in state revenue in 2019 and an extra $248 million in 2020 (this was before legislators enacted another $80 million in corporate tax breaks on the last day of the session). But if they hadn’t given $500 million in tax breaks for millionaires, then almost all other budget cuts could have been prevented.
Legislators again fail to take up voting rights For the second straight session, legislative leaders failed to consider a bill for the automatic restoration of voting rights for former felons. House Bill 376 was introduced by Reps. George Brown and Darryl Owens and was not given a hearing or vote in the House Elections, Constitutional Amendments & Intergovernmental Affairs Committee. That’s the same outcome as House Bill 170, introduced last year by Owens. Variations of that legislation (SB 173 and SB 266 in 2018 and SB 69 in 2017) introduced in the Senate by Sen. Gerald Neal also received no hearings or votes. Prior to the Republicans taking control of the House, voting rights legislation had passed the House for 10 consecutive years, each time by a large bipartisan margin. The most recent vote tally, in 2016, was
82 to 9. The bill was always stopped by Republican leaders Robert Stivers and Damon Thayer in the Senate. KFTC members did mobilize in March in opposition to House Bill 215, a voter identification bill meant to make it harder for some people to acquire a form of identification that would be accepted at the polls. Studies and experience have found that, in states where there are such laws, there is a disproportionate impact on the elderly, low-income, low-education and people of color. The House Elections, Constitutional Amendments & Intergovernmental Affairs Committee held a hearing on the bill. After testimony was presented, HB 215 fell short of the minimum number of votes needed to pass the committee.
www.kftc.org | April 18, 2018
Balancing the Scales | 11
ACTION FOR DEMOCRACY
Get involved in local voter empowerment work with KFTC KFTC regional democracy teams are leading voter outreach work across the state. The focus has been on registering voter up through the voter registration deadline (April 23). After April 23, efforts will be focused on voter education and in support of local candidates endorsed by KFTC. In mid-May efforts will turn to Get-OutThe-Vote (GOTV) efforts. Southern Kentucky A series of canvasses and phone banks are scheduled for Bowling Green. They are: Canvasses: Sunday, April 29 at 12-2 p.m. Sunday, May 13 at 2 p.m. - 6 p.m. Monday, May 21 at 4 p.m. - 7 p.m.
Sunday, May 6 at 2 p.m. - 6 p.m. Sunday, May 20 at 2 p.m. - 6 p.m.
Phone Banks: Monday, May 21 at 5 p.m. - 7 p.m. Thursday, May 10 at 5 p.m. - 7 p.m.
Thursday, May 17 at 5 p.m. - 7 p.m.
RSVP for any of these by calling the Southern Kentucky chapter office at 270-282 -4553 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Barren County Integrated Voter Engagement 101 Training Friday April 27 from 5:30 - 7 p.m. Barren County, Location TBD; contact Alex at email@example.com or 270-282-4553 Jefferson County KFTC Democracy Team weekly canvassing happens every Sunday, 2 p.m.-6 p.m., until the primary election. Meet at the KFTC Louisville office (735 Lampton Street). Democracy Team members will lead a short training before each canvass. Call the Louisville office (502-589-3188) or contact Becky at Becky@kftc.org. Northern Kentucky and Scott County: get involved in voter empowerment activities by contacting Joe at 859-380-6103 or Joe@kftc.org Eastern Kentucky: get involved in voter empowerment activities by contacting Lisa at 859-200-5159 or Lisa@kftc.org Central Kentucky: get involved in voter empowerment activities by contacting DeBraun or Meredith at 859-276-0563 or DeBraun@kftc.org; Meredith@kftc.org
There were numerous other bills that KFTC supported, opposed or watched than those mentioned on the previous pages. View them on KFTC’s Bill Tracker: www.kftc.org/bill-tracker
Madison County May 5, 12 and 19, 2-5 p.m., canvasses will focus on GOTV for the primary. Start with a 30-minute training at the KFTC office, 210 N. Broadway St. #3 in Berea. After the primary there will be a voter conversation canvasses over the summer. Contact the Berea office at 859-756-4027 or Sasha@kftc.org.
Support KFTC’s Action for Democracy year-round in Kentucky! Name(s): ________________________________________________ Address: ________________________________________________ City, state & Zip: __________________________________________
Give online at kftc.org/support
I would rather make a one-time gift of: □$100 □$50 □$25 □$15 □$5 Other: $__________ Suggested dues are $15-$50 annually, based on ability to pay. Any amount is welcome.
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Select which organization you would like to donate to: □ KFTC: Donations to KFTC are not tax-deductible. We encourage you to give to KFTC this spring to support our democracy work.
□ Kentucky Coalition: Donations to Kentucky Coalition are tax-deductible.
Become A Sustaining Giver: Sustaining Givers provide steady income to support KFTC’s
work throughout the year. And being a Sustaining Giver allows you to make a bigger impact.
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Card Number: __ __ __ __ -__ __ __ __ -__ __ __ __ -__ __ __ __ Expiration Date ___ ___ / ___ ___ Authorized Signature: ____________________________ Date: _________________ Mail this form with your check to: KFTC • P.O. Box 1450 • London, Ky. 40743
www.kftc.org | April 18, 2018
12 | Balancing the Scales
Worker advocacy spurs Congress to look at pension crisis by Larry Miller I am a retired UMWA coal miner from western Kentucky and a KFTC member. I worked underground for many years and am very proud of that work. When I put on my bank clothes to go underground I did so secure in the knowledge that the benefits I was earning would be there for my wife and myself to survive during our retirement years. But now, thousands of retirees like me all across the coalfields will lose their pensions due to the 2008 financial crisis and coal company bankruptcies. My wife Hattie and I went to Washington, DC to meet with Kentucky's House and Senate members concerning passage of the RECLAIM Act. KFTC also encouraged us to carry a message about our pensions. Here is an update on that effort. The UMWA 1974 Pension Plan is expected to become insolvent by 2022, according to its own actuaries. A market downturn will hasten that insolvency. Other multi-employer pension plans are approaching insolvency as well; some could run out of money by 2022. Pension funding has taken on an urgent impor-
tance. As plans collapse, their beneficiaries and dependents will be dropped into the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC), a multi-employer, private sector funded insurance program for defunct plans, destroying that program. Multi-employer plans are definedbenefit plans created by collective Larry bargaining agreements between a labor union and two or more employers and typically exist in industries with many small employers, employers that would not ordinarily establish a defined-benefit plan on their own. There are about 1,400 multi-employer defined benefit pension plans, covering about 10 million working people. Many of these participants are employed by small companies in the building and construction industries. Other industries with significant numbers of workers covered by multi-employer plans are: • retail trade and service industries • manufacturing • mining • trucking and transportation industries, and
State legislators make it harder for coal miners to qualify for black lung benefits Kentucky legislators made it harder for miners to get the black lung benefits they deserve as part of an overhaul of the state’s workers’ compensation law. House Bill 2 is designed to limit the period of time workers can receive medical expenses for certain permanent partial disabilities. A section of the bill targets black lung claims and prevents federally-certified radiologists from judging X-rays in state black lung compensation claims. That leaves diagnosis of the disease mostly to pulmonologists, and they are required to operate in Kentucky. An analysis by the Ohio Valley ReSource found that there are only six in the state who qualify. Four of them typically work for coal companies, and a fifth is semi-retired with his federal certification expiring June 1. Radiologists, who are trained in reading and interpreting x-rays, were involved in helping to expose a recent spike in black lung cases in Appalachia, including a type of black lung more severe than what is typically
found. HB 2 was sponsored by Rep. Adam Koenig of northern Kentucky and had the backing of Republican legislative leaders and the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce. It passed the House 59-39 on February 21, the Senate 23-14 on March 22 and was signed into law by Gov. Bevin on March 30. The votes were mostly along party lines, though some eastern Kentucky Republicans voted against the measure. In an interview with National Public Radio, Koenig said he “relied on the expertise of those who understand the issue – the industry, coal companies and attorneys.” In the same NPR story, Evan Smith, an attorney at the Appalachian Citizens’ Law Center in Whitesburg, said the new state law “keeps Kentucky coal miners from using highly qualified and reliable experts to prove their state black lung claims [and] looks like just another step in the race to the bottom to gut worker protections.”
• entertainment (film, television and theater) The Joint Select Committee on the Solvency of Multi-employer Pension Plans was created in the bipartisan budget agreement reached Feb. 7, 2018 by Congress to address the problem. It calls for eight members from the House and eight from the Senate, split evenly Miller between Republicans and Democrats. The committee, which has already started meeting, is tasked with: •
reporting its findings to Congress by the last week of November 2018. If there is an agreement to take action, the committee will draft and submit legislative language as part of that report. crafting an agreement to move forward with at least five Democrats and five Republicans. Any bill they propose cannot be amended and will get expedited votes in both chambers. There will be no amendments allowed. holding at least five meetings, of which at least three must be public hearings. The committee is encouraged to hold at least one field hearing away from Washington, DC.
Pensions and health care, like wages, are earned compensation for work performed. They are important to retirees by allowing them to make ends meet and retire with dignity. They are of great value, injecting money into a local economy, opening up job opportunities for younger workers and ensuring parents do not become a burden on their children, many of whom struggle in an already distressed economy. Consequently, earned pensions should not be hampered by plant closures or legacy divesting bankruptcies. This legislation will hopefully maintain the viability of pensions that retirees worked their entire adult life to receive. This is a moral issue. It is about ensuring that the benefits union members earned and need to survive are there for their lifetimes. I am encouraged that the Joint Select Committee on the Solvency of Multi-employer Pension Plans was created by Congress, in part because of the efforts of advocacy groups like KFTC and the UMWA. I am guardedly optimistic that this is a genuine effort to enact real pension reform. The committee's proceedings will be monitored very closely, and should this be anything other than a favorable pension fix I will once again be crusading for that cause.
www.kftc.org | April 18, 2018
Balancing the Scales | 13
RECLAIM gains momentum though left out of spending bill On March 23, Congress passed and President Trump signed the Omnibus Spending Bill, funding the U.S. government through September. A national coalition of several organizations, with the support of U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers, was pushing to have the RECLAIM Act included in the bill. That did not happen. A lot did happen, though, around the RECLAIM Act in the days leading up to the passing of the spending bill as community support grew for Congressional action. • 15 county judge-executives who represent coalproducing counties in Kentucky sent a letter to U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell in support of the RECLAIM Act, an effort coordinated by the Appalachian Citizens Law Center; • several small business owners involved in the reclamation business published an op-ed in the Lexington Herald-Leader asking McConnell to support RECLAIM; • KFTC, the Kentucky Student Environmental Coalition and the Alliance for Appalachia held an action outside Sen. Mitch McConnell’s Lexington office on March 14.
CLAIM Act attached to the omnibus spending bill when it was approved by the House and sent to the Senate. House leaders had shown a willingness to work with Rogers on this but want to know that the legislation would be welcome in the Senate. In order for RECLAIM to pass, an “offset” is needed. “The money that would be released by the RECLAIM Act is sitting unspent in an Abandoned Mine Land Fund,” explained Hattie Miller, who traveled to Washington, DC in the fall to talk to members of Congress about RECLAIM. “The RECLAIM Act simply requires that the money be spent sooner rather than later. Federal budget rules require that when spending increases in one area of the budget it has to be made up in another area of the budget – called offset.” Rogers proposed, as an offset, recovering revenue that supports miners with black lung and their families that is scheduled to be phased out at the end of the year. The revenue goes into the Black Lung Disability Trust Fund, and comes from a per-ton fee on coal when it is mined. The fee is scheduled to be reduced from $1.05 to 50 cents beginning in 2019. Rogers proposed to keep The RECLAIM Act would accelerate the release the fee at its current level, which is needed given the of $1 billion from the Abandoned Mine Lands rec- recent spike in black lung cases. lamation fund and direct that the money be spent to However, opposition from the National Mining support local economic and community development Association caused House leaders to back away from projects tied to mine reclamation. More than $100 their agreement to include the RECLAIM Act in the million of that would come spending bill. to Kentucky over a five-year The Black Lung Disability Trust Fund provides Efforts now will medical treatment and monthly disability period. focus on getting the REpayments to coal miners totally disabled from The attention focused CLAIM Act passed on its black lung resulting from their work in or on McConnell, asking him own, or including it in the around the nation's coal mines. It is administo tell House leaders that next spending bill that Contered by the U.S. Department of Labor. he would welcome the REgress will have to pass in the
fall. The money also is needed for the black lung benefits program. Even though there are significantly fewer miners in the country, the number of black lung cases has risen. The RECLAIM Act plus sustained funding for the Black Lung Trust Fund would have been a win-win for coal communities. “It is the right thing to do,” said Larry Miller, a retired UMWA miner from Ohio County and KFTC member. “The house version of the RECLAIM Act would build upon a successful pilot program that brought $30 million to Kentucky to fund serious environmental cleanup and enhance economic growth. By using this money strategically, not only will we reclaim the land but also create jobs. This money would help put our people back to work.”
Everyday ways to support KFTC! Kroger Community Rewards We are organization #10888 (Kentucky Coalition) Krogercommunityrewards.com Kroger donates a percentage of your purchases
Amazon Smile: Kentucky Coalition Inc. www.smile.amazon.com/
The group gathered outside of U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell’s office on March 14 unrolled a 20-foot scroll with documents showing support from more than 10,000 petition signers, 28 local governments that passed resolutions urging support for RECLAIM, op-eds written by county judge-executives and reclamation contractors, numerous letters to the editor from grassroots supporters, and the names of more than 40 bipartisan bill cosponsors in Congress.
www.kftc.org | April 18, 2018
14 | Balancing the Scales
Let’s vote for a better vision: support action for Democracy By Meta Mendel-Reyes KFTC Chairperson I believe people are meant to be members of a community, and each of us plays a necessary role in ensuring that our communities grow and thrive. I also believe we all should be at the table and involved in decisions that affect us and our families and our neighbors. If you went to Frankfort during this year’s General Assembly, you know that we’ve got work to do to make sure Frankfort represents the interests of all Kentuckians. Every one of us needs to be pushing back hard – but also pushing forward toward our vision for Kentucky. That’s why I’m excited about KFTC’s new initiative, Action for Democracy. Action for Democracy is action by and for Kentuckians. It’s about building grassroots power by bringing together our issue work and electoral politics. It’s about regular people getting excited about democracy and getting others involved. It’s about voting in better leaders. And it’s about working year-round – not just during an election – to build long-term grassroots power. I think it’s super exciting. But it will take each one of us pitching in. Right now, during KFTC’s spring fundraising campaign, we’re asking everyone to step up and support Action for Democracy. We have an exciting opportunity to double the money we raise. A generous member who believes in Action for Democracy will give us $100,000 – if we can first raise $100,000 among our members and friends.
To be honest, I never used to believe in electoral politics because I couldn’t see how regular people could make a difference. Now I understand that the way to take back our power is by building our own electoral power – people power – to win on the issues we care about and create the new Kentucky we want to see. I’m really excited about all the new folks who are running for office – including 27 KFTC members! It’s up to us. This moment is different from any other time in my memory. So much is at stake in this election year. Folks are hungry for a progressive vision and ready to work for it. We have an opportunity right now to build grassroots power and turn the political tide in Kentucky. Here’s how you can help: • Make a gift of any size to support Action for Democracy. If we meet the match, your gift will be doubled. Send your check to KFTC, P.O. Box 1450, London KY 40743. • Or become a Sustaining Giver. Sign up to give monthly, and we can count the full annual value of your pledge toward this match. If you give $5 a month, that’s $60 toward the match. If we meet the match, it becomes $120. Use the form in this issue or go to kftc.org/sustaining-giver to sign up online. If you gave during our fall campaign, thank you! Even if you gave in the fall, even if you’ve already given this year, will you give now to help fund Action for Democracy in this important election year? I really believe that Action for Democracy will make a difference for our Kentucky communities. Will you help build grassroots power by making a donation or becoming a Sustaining Giver today?
www.kftc.org | April 18, 2018
Balancing the Scales | 15
What We’ll do this year, With your help: We are working for a day when the voices of ordinary people are heard and respected in our democracy. With your help we’ll do even more to build grassroots power for 2018 and beyond. • • • • • • •
Hire Voter Empowerment Organizers Develop grassroots leaders through voter empowerment trainings Host candidate forums Register thousands of voters Talk with voters at their front door, on the phone, and more Get out the vote and offer rides to the polls Through KFTC’s New Power PAC, spotlight candidates we’re excited about and impact elections
help us meet our match
We have a great opportunity to double the money we raise this spring to support Action for Democracy. A generous member will give us $100,000 – if we can first raise $100,000 among our members and friends. Will you pitch in and help us meet this match? If we meet it, your gift will double and you’ll help build grassroots power.
www.kftc.org | April 18, 2018
16 | Balancing the Scales
Building Grassroots Power
Active participation is the best antidote to despair by Peter and Denise Zielinski The great American experiment is once again approaching a pivotal moment that will forever shape our way of life. Political chaos and tensions have spilled into our daily lives like never before. It is easy in such times to be frustrated by the polarized state of our country, the regression of hard won civil rights, the rise of wealthy selfish influence with legislators and the ongoing assaults upon civility, reason and our children's futures. Yet there is good reason to have hope and be optimistic going forward. The alarm for action has finally sounded. In a few months the midterm elections will be upon us and we the people will have an opportunity to return to progress and hopefully be stronger because of our struggle to save that which we hold most dear – our unalienable rights. We cannot win this struggle as isolated individuals and cannot lose if we remain focused and united. We are off to a great start. We are blessed with some outstanding candidates that share our values and are willing to fight for social justice, economic fairness and the common good. They are running for office at every level and are determined to defend the people’s rights against attacks by
those whose only real goal is to are committed to taking an acpad their own bottom line. tive role in our government and Our job is to help our canrefuse to sit by helplessly. didates succeed in the midterm Although this active role elections – and beyond – by takes focus, hard work and long spreading the news to others that hours, there are some huge, share our concerns and seek the though unforeseen, personal changes that we endorse. So the benefits. One is the pleasure of question becomes “What can being with some great people, WE do?” people who genuinely care about This is what is so exciting making the world a better place. about being a part of KFTC – we To work with people who are actually DOING things. simply want to do the right thing Denise and Peter Zielinski We’ve had training sessions leads to a great sense of option canvassing and on registering people to vote. Just mism. They reinforce our hope because they believe last week a group of us went out into the community their hard work will succeed. Dedication to carrying and knocked on doors. We worked in pairs, and in out our cause and optimism are therefore bound toninety minutes the ten of us registered seven new vot- gether. We cannot have one without the other or the ers. circle will be broken. We also listened to people’s concerns so that we So to those who felt despair at the 2016 election can be informed advocates for the community. We've results and now believe their fears have been borne evaluated the surveys sent out to candidates and inter- out, take heart. Active participation in our government viewed candidates. We’ve worked the phones. coupled with the belief in ourselves and one another is KFTC, as a statewide organization, endorsed the best antidote to the malady of despair. We ARE off several candidates for the mid-term general election, to a great start. YES WE WILL effect change for the and it is very exciting to be a part of that process. We common good.
Many KFTC members active with regional democracy teams
Scott County Jefferson County
KFTC has regional democracy teams throughout the state, working to engage voters in the 2018 elections and beyond. To get involved, contact your local KFTC organizer (see list on page 28) or Alicia Hurle at Alicia@kftc.org or 502-589-3188.
www.kftc.org | April 18, 2018
Notes from the field
Balancing the Scales | 17
KFTC Organizer Apprentices reflect on their unique experiences and learning opportunities.
Angel Hill working with the youth shaping the movement By Angel Hill KFTC Organizer Apprentice
KFTC Organizer Apprentice Angel Hill with (left to right) Kevin Short (Corbin), Sheyanna Gladson, Chase Gladson (both from Harlan County), and Calle Maynard (London).
As a young person who grew up in Corbin with strong roots in Harlan County, it’s deeply important to me that young people from eastern Kentucky and Appalachia are leaders in the future that we’re building in Kentucky. I can remember – both through Appalachian Media Institute and through the Kentucky Student Environmental Coalition – recognizing and shedding the layers of internalized Appalachian stereotypes and becoming empowered to use my voice as a young person. Flash forward to now, I’m constantly in awe of the work that young people are leading in the chapter areas that I have the opportunity to staff as an organizer apprentice with KFTC. The Harlan County Chapter and Cumberland Chapter both include some of the strongest young leaders I have ever met. From organizing
and facilitating seamless chapter meetings, to giving fiery speeches at the Capitol, they are bringing their full selves into this work. It’s life giving to watch the way they not only grow within the movement, but shape the movement. I’m continuously learning so much from them. All that’s to say that young people across eastern Kentucky are showing up in a really big and important way. I know things are hard right now, but I’m shown every single day that the future is in really great hands, so it’s hard to not be hopeful. Beautiful things happen when we trust the folks who will be inheriting this world to lead the way. If there’s anything I’ve learned from being a part of youth-led circles in the past, it’s that you ought not mess with the futures of young Kentuckians. They are fierce and they are a force to be reckoned with. I couldn’t be more proud of them or more happy that they’re my comrades in the movement to build a better Kentucky.
A student perspective on guns in schools By Grace S., Graves County High School sophomore As a student, it is my belief that students should feel safe, protected and free at school. However, arming teachers may not make students feel safe. It could in fact do the opposite. The proposal to arm teachers with lethal weapons may be intended to do well, but based on recent events, including the teacher who barricaded himself in his room and fired his gun, I feel that many variables are being ignored. We have to look at the psychological aspect of these situations. Would these teachers be able to follow through and shoot a student they’re supposed to be preparing for life? If a teacher comes face to face with a weapon that has the potential to rapidly kill multiple people, could they do it? In a recent article that compares how other countries deal with violence in schools, they describe teachers using non-lethal and de-escalation training to disarm or disable students carrying knives. This weapon has a very limited range, meaning it takes longer to cause harm to other students and staff. A second of hesitation from a teacher facing a gun could be the dif-
ference of life and death on a massive scale. Adrenaline may carry you far, but individuals will react in different ways. Those ways we do not know until we are faced with them. In 2010, 20 children and 6 adults were killed at an elementary school with a weapon only meant for the military. A cartoon drawn by Pia Guerra depicts young children and adults, killed due to school shootings. Senators and government officials forget that they’re not just dealing with young adults and teenagers, but they’re also dealing with kindergartners, 1st and 2nd graders, middle school kids as well as high school students. We’re dealing with little brothers and sisters, parents, grandparents, families. How effective will arming teachers be with young children? At what cost will this have on future generations? The people who keep arguing over the solution aren’t looking at all aspects of the problem. There are many aspects and variables of these awful killing situations – precautions that schools can't afford, input that isn’t being listened to. Many officials look at this like another problem they have to fix the cheapest way possible; they feel a sense of detachment from these tragedies. There’s one difference between us
Students in western Kentucky organized a local March for Our Lives on March 24.
and them: we all strive in it, students in Florida protest for it, while kids in Marshall are praying for it, parents are pleading for it and it’s up to us to fight for it. Safety. The officials who look to arm our teachers with deadly weapons already have security. In every courthouse, airport and state house, no one gets inside with a weapon, especially a weapon of mass destruction. Many of their children have never been to a public school. It is up to our government to protect its citizens, not hand out more guns. Seven states already have guns in their schools. Eighteen more are allowing them with approval. Students deserve the right to learn in safety. The future for America deserves that right. According to multiple polls, some feel somewhat safer in the presence of guns in these situations. How safe can one feel if you’re standing on the wrong end?
www.kftc.org | April 18, 2018
18 | Balancing the Scales
Building Grassroots Power
Pike residents plan Unity Celebration for peace and inclusion Members in Pike County and the group Progress Pike are hosting a Pikeville Unity Celebration on April 28 in Pikeville City Park. The rally will serve as a reminder and a contrast to the targeting of Pikeville as a white supremacist stronghold by neo-Nazi groups last year. The presence of neo-Nazis in eastern Kentucky attracted significant attention in the national media. Folks in Pike County would like to tell a different story of their community region. We want to inspire people to remain aware and active in supporting equity and justice in eastern Kentucky, be a visible presence against hate and fear, and share stories about what is happening in our region. One year ago, local community members strongly objected to the hateful rhetoric espoused by the white supremacist groups. A peaceful counter rally was planned at the University of Pikeville. Ultimately
the counter rally was canceled due to safety concerns, although counter demonstrators still gathered in the streets to oppose the neo-Nazi groups. “We know the people of eastern Kentucky still care about raising their voices for peace and inclusion, and Progress Pike wants to ensure these voices are heard,” the group says on its Facebook page. “Our goal is to show that we are a diverse community that is committed to celebrating our differences, one in which everyone feels safe and welcome, and we will not allow white supremacist groups to divide us.” The event will feature speakers, musicians and poetry, prizes for a youth poetry contest, and awarding of community mini-grants by Progress Pike for projects that promote diversity, inclusion and acceptance in the community. The celebration will take place in Pikeville City Park (101 Cumberland Court) on Saturday, April 28
Iroquois high school students question legislators on education, other issues On March 19, history students at Iroquois High School (Louisville) gathered in the school auditorium for a town hall with their elected officials. A panel of four students spoke about issues that matter to them: immigration, funding for higher education, gun safety and equitable distribution of resources among public schools. “This town hall was a platform for a conversation,
Iroquois student Afi H. Tagnedji is interviewed by local media about the town hall students held for state legislators from the Louisville area.
and the fact that it was student-led shows how pressing said issues are,” said Afi H. Tagnedji, who emceed the event. In attendance were Louisville state representatives Mary Lou Marzian, Attica Scott, Tom Burch and McKenzie Cantrell. One issue on students’ minds was the increasing cost of higher education. “I don't know why education is on the top of the list whenever there's need for a budget cut,” Tagnedji said. “I want college or technical or vocational education to be another step forward in schooling, not an obstacle to overcome.” KFTC organizers visited the school earlier in the year to register students to vote, and worked with a group of students who wanted to make their voices heard to plan a town hall. Students reached out to local media, emceed the event, and asked questions ranging from curiosity about sexism in school dress codes to why state lawmakers weren’t doing more to protect immigrant communities. “I am a student of Iroquois High School; I wanted to see change. So when the KFTC offered the opportunity, I did not hesitate to speak out to all who can hear and be a part of that change,” Tagnedji said.
beginning at 11 a.m. Additional details and a schedule will be posted on the event’s Facebook page: www. facebook.com/events/205034723381545/. Look for the KFTC table to group up with folks you know! For more information or to offer support for the event, contact ProgressPikeKY@gmail.com or KFTC Organizer Apprentice Jacob Mack-Boll at Jacob@ kftc.org or 606-878-2161.
Hundreds support higher ed at NKU rally Hundreds gathered at Northern Kentucky University in early April to speak out for more revenue and ask legislators to honor the commitments made to students across Kentucky. The crowd began to gather before noon. Members of the broader community included KFTC, the International Brotherhood of Electric Workers, and the Northern Kentucky Justice and Peace Committee. However, the majority in attendance were students and faculty who were most likely to be impacted by the new state budget. Many came with signs illustrating issues impacting the NKU community. These ranged from rising costs of tuition, a tax structure that hurts lower and middle income Kentuckians, and what the impact of further cuts could mean to universities across the state. After hearing from several professors, the crowd marched through NKU chanting about the need for more funding. Chants included “Fund Our Future,” “When Education is Under Attack, What Do We Do? Stand up, fight back,” “Show Me What Democracy Looks Like,” and more. Many people who attended planned to be in Frankfort on April 13 and 14, the final two days of the Kentucky General Assembly.
www.kftc.org | April 18, 2018
Balancing the Scales | 19
Building Grassroots Power
NKY members welcome nuns, support immigrants’ rights Northern Kentucky KFTC members welcomed the Nuns on the Bus Ohio to Northern Kentucky University to deliver a presentation on immigration and issues surrounding immigration detention centers. It’s one of many ways chapter members have been showing up to support work around immigrant rights in northern Kentucky. They work closely with the Intercommunity Justice and Peace Center, the
Northern Kentucky Justice and Peace Committee, the Immigrant Dignity Coalition, and the NKU Office of Latino Programs and Services. During the conversation there were two facts that stood out to many of the folks. The first was that ICE (U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement) is the only law enforcement
Scott County residents celebrate another favorable vote on landfill expansion Scott County resithe county regarding the Follow the Scott County chapter’s work on dents are celebrating what application. social media – Twitter: @ScottCoKFTC, they hope will be the last The company chalFacebook.com/scottcounty.kftc/ vote needed to prevent lenged the ruling that a proposed expansion of they needed the zoning the landfill in the north end of the county. change to the Scott County Board of Adjustment. On March 22 the Scott County Fiscal Court That hearing saw hundreds come out to fill the Scott voted unanimously before a packed meeting room to County High School auditorium to speak out against uphold a ruling of the Planning and Zoning Com- the landfill. Several months later the company requested a mission to deny the expansion. That capped a months-long effort to stop the zoning change at the Scott County Planning and Zoning Commission. Again, more than 300 people expansion. The landfill has been a source of local concern came out to oppose the change, and the expansion regarding violations of state environmental standards was again denied. Finally, the company appealed to and increased traffic on a narrow stretch of US 25, the Scott County Fiscal Court, which voted unanimously with the Planning and Zoning Commission. where there already have been several accidents. The company that owns the landfill was seeking While residents celebrate, and continue to work a zoning change to add up to 500 acres to the cur- on the issue through the Scott County Neighbors for rent site, and originally had hoped to do so without Health and Safety Facebook group, the landfill comseeking a zoning change. When the Planning and pany has filed suit claiming it did not need a zoning Zoning Commissioner said they needed the zoning change for the expansion. The case is pending. change several public meetings were held throughout Many involved in the work are hopeful that the victory against the landfill expansion will result in movement from the Georgetown City Council toward promoting curbside recycling, as well as a broader conversation around waste management in Scott County. Scott County residents filled the fiscal court chambers for the final landfill vote.
agency that has a quota for how many beds it must fill – 34,000 a night. This puts tremendous pressure on ICE to hold people for long periods of time, and means that a backlog in immigration courts helps the agency meet its quota. The demand also creates partnerships between ICE and local detention centers, private detention centers, and agreements with some local communities to have local law enforcement also enforce federal immigration laws. Attendees also were surprised to learn that the only immigration detention center in Kentucky is the Boone County Jail. That means that people arrested in ICE raids last year, whether in Nicholasville, Newport, Florence or elsewhere, were held in Boone County. Meanwhile, defendants’ hearings are held inperson in Louisville. The entire process makes it hard for families to be there for their relatives. For this reason, after the presentation at NKU, 50 people rallied in front of the Boone County Jail to bring attention to this issue. Speakers included local DACA students, Catholic nuns and school administrators who have worked closely with DACA and undocumented students in the community. One woman, who lives in Cincinnati, shared that she was able to visit her brother at the detention center only once before he was deported. Her brother, who had been working in Lexington, left behind his wife and 8-month-old daughter – a daughter he last saw when she was two months old. Another speaker, Jose Cabrera, shared how his mother raised him and his siblings as a single parent after his father chose to move back to Mexico. She struggled to bring, and keep, their family here to give them the best possible life. He asked that we fight not only for Dreamers, but for their whole families. The Northern Kentucky chapter is committed to continuing to support immigrant rights, and will remain a part of the Immigrant Dignity Coalition. Members see this work as a key part of the chapter’s commitment to racial justice, and hope to work in municipal and state legislative elections with immigrant communities to help raise the issues that most impact them. Follow the Northern Kentucky chapter on Instagram at northernky_KFTC, Twitter: @ NKY_KFTC, Facebook.com/nky.kftc.
www.kftc.org | April 18, 2018
20 | Balancing the Scales
New Energy and Transition
KFTC launches Power House energy efficiency workshops In April KFTC members launched the Power House Project, an exciting effort to build New Power in every sense of the word: new economic power, new clean energy power and new political power. A centerpiece of this project is a free, two-hour workshop that provides do-it-yourself strategies and resources for weatherizing homes, trailers and apartments to save energy and money. The Power House Workshop also offers an overview of how rural electric cooperatives and other utilities in Kentucky operate. And it explores ways people can work together to build grassroots political power to push for – and win – better energy policies and programs from utilities, the Kentucky Public Service Commission and elected officials. The first workshop took place in Pulaski County on April 7 at the Green Living Fair. The next day, KFTC members Carmen and Don Rogers hosted the second workshop at their home in Bath County. In addition to a packet of tips and resources, participants went home with new relationships, understanding and an energy-saving kit worth about $25. At the Bath County Power House workshop, they also had the opportunity to view the Rogers’ solar panels, discuss options for accessing solar energy in Kentucky, and learn about proposed legislation that would threaten these opportunities to access home-grown solar in the state. Attendees at both events gave positive feedback for the workshops, and nearly all expressed interest
AS a kftc member … •
You’re part of a community of people who share a vision for Kentucky.
You impact issues that are important to you. You’ll receive information, training and opportunities to speak directly with decision makers.
You amplify your voice and build New Power. Working together, we do so much more than any of us can do alone.
You get fellowship and fun with others who share your values.
in taking some form of action with KFTC in order to build power and move toward the energy democracy that Kentuckians deserve. “It was very informative. I live in an old, drafty house,” said a workshop participant in Somerset. “It’s good to learn steps I can take and programs offered by utilities. People really need to help each other out more. We should have gatherings at people’s homes so we can learn to do this work together.” At the start of the workshop, each group reviewed several maps of their county showing where different utilities operate and how local rates and bills compare to state averages. One of those maps, shown below, highlights the energy burden experienced by people in different regions of Kentucky. “Energy burden” is a term that describes how big a bite average electricity bills take out of the median household income of an area (and will vary for each household depending on their actual electric bill and income). Many low-income households in Kentucky experience significantly higher energy burdens than the averages shown on this map. An interactive version of this map will soon be
Bath County workshop participants learned about the solar panels installed at the home of Carmen and Don Rogers.
available on KFTC's website (www.kftc.org), along with all data sources. To schedule a Power House workshop, contact Nikita Perumal at firstname.lastname@example.org or 859-276-0563.
www.kftc.org | April 18, 2018
Balancing the Scales | 21
SIFI works to protect immigrants from deportation By Virginia Meagher Although I had retired from the practice of law 10 years ago and had no desire to return, I could not pass up the opportunity to volunteer for a week as an attorney for the Southeast Immigrant Freedom Initiative. The brainchild of the Southern Poverty Law Center, SIFI provides free legal representation to detained immigrants headed for deportation. It has established four small legal offices, each close to a large detention center. Three of these are in southern Georgia and one is in southern Louisiana. I volunteered in the SIFI office in Lumpkin, Georgia, a very small town south of Columbus and near the Georgia-Alabama state line. The office is located in the cozy home of a local immigration attorney who has graciously allowed SIFI to share his space. The office has one directing attorney and one staff attorney besides the project coordinator. SIFI recruits private attorneys from around the United States to volunteer in Lumpkin for one week. The two staff attorneys have full caseloads but also supervise the volunteer attorneys. During the week I was there, the other three volunteer attorneys were associates for a prestigious national law firm, one from San Francisco, one from Chicago and a third one from the District of Columbia. They were young, smart and idealistic and ran circles around me. I was happy to make coffee, wash the dishes and be a “runner.” The role of the runners is to visit the detainees in the nearby Stewart Detention Center. The runners may be seeing established clients in order to get a document signed by them or to pick up a document that we could use as evidence. We also interviewed the immigrants who had been referred to us from various sources to screen their eligibility for the program. The runners make a huge difference because it may take two to three hours to pass through the two gates outside the detention center and be screened by a metal detector to get into the visitation area. Despite the fact that families also are there to visit detainees, there is no water, food, drinks nor restroom available in the waiting room. All purses, briefcases, books and electronic devices must be left in the parking lot. Plexiglas separated us from our clients in the visitation rooms, with only a small slit for passing documents. SIFI’s chief mission is to represent people who
have been detained in a bond hearing so they can return to their families and jobs until their hearing on the merits of their immigration case. Occasionally, after attorneys volunteer for a week in the office in southern Georgia, they will agree to continue representing one of the immigrants they met in Stewart Detention Center and work remotely from their office elsewhere on the merits case. I was not so brave but may in the future. My greatest learning experience was from watching the court proceedings for two mornings, held in small courtrooms in the detention center. It reminded me of juvenile court. There is no jury of their peers. There are no rules of evidence to guarantee fairness. Their attorney has no right to pretrial discovery. And there is no right to remain silent. Since many of the people who have been detained are hundreds of miles away from their homes and families in the U.S., most have no family members present. In most cases bond is denied. Even if granted, many detainees and their families cannot make bond, as the minimum is $1,500 and is often set at $10,000 or more. According to the testimony of the immigrants, most arrived in the U.S. with a legal visa. Sometimes they renewed them or were later granted lawful permanent residence status, which lasts for 10 years and can be renewed. About a third had no idea why they were picked up by Immigrant and Customs Enforcement police; they had been cooperating with ICE and thought they were in compliance with immigration laws. The Immigration and Naturalization Service attorney claimed that one detained man’s visa had lapsed for a short time in 2011, but the man testified that he had flown home to his country of origin, Ghana, many times since then for Christmas and summers and had never had trouble getting back into the country legally. One man had been in the U.S. since 1987. One had a totally clean record except for a charge that had been dismissed by the prosecutor in North Carolina. About a third of them said they had private attorneys, which sometimes the judge confirmed from looking at the file, but when asked where they were, they answered they did not know. Some said their attorneys would not return their phone calls. One man said the papers the judge was asking for
were outside in the car, which his wife in the courtroom confirmed, but rather than waiting for her to bring them in, the judge postponed the case for another month. Another month of incarceration. I left the courtroom and compound the first day after one particular hearing when the immigrant’s wife was weeping in the back row. Their small children were there. I had to get away and walked around the small town for awhile to try to process the scale of inhumanity going on in that courtroom. One of the SIFI people confessed to me later that after that hearing he went into the men’s room and broke down sobbing. He works at a school for immigrants from around the world. He knew that ICE and the Immigration and Naturalization Service break up families, but he was shocked at how swiftly and casually it could happen. The Stewart Detention Center holds 1,900 male immigrants and is owned and operated by Corps Civic, a for-profit corporation. Some of the men are incarcerated there for more than a year. Some agree to go back to their country of origin and yet are still kept there for weeks or months. If the corporation can keep the center full, they make more money off of the federal government and can pay bigger dividends to their shareholders. What’s wrong with this picture? Despite the grim realities of detention, I felt gratified to be involved in this work seeking the best possible outcome for each client. I enjoyed learning about immigration law and working with the big-hearted people who work for SIFI, most of whom are bilingual in Spanish and English. I listened to a person who had been released a day before, speaking about the joys of being free to look up at the sky and hear the birds chirping and to breathe fresh air. I talked with a clerk at my hotel, a short woman who had worked as a security guard in the detention center for two years; she was responsible for a pod of 60 men but had not been equipped with a gun. She had no problems getting along with them. I thoroughly enjoyed the warm and sunny weather that persisted for the week there. This week in February was capped off by a stop at Jimmy Carter’s boyhood home and school in Plains, Georgia, just a couple towns away from Lumpkin, on my drive back home. I am thankful to the Southern Poverty Law Center for allowing me be part of the SIFI project. I learned so much and am happy that I could support this just cause.
www.kftc.org | April 18, 2018
22 | Balancing the Scales
KFTC Annual Membership Meeting Claiming our Commonwealth: Creating Kentucky’s Beloved Community
August 3-5 at Berea College We are at a pivotal moment in Kentucky’s political history. Political powers are showing their worst, but we work to build the best. It’s important that we stand together. We are working for a Kentucky that we haven’t yet achieved, where politicians don’t have the power to divide us. By being part of a movement that is inclusive and builds off the strength that we have when we work together, we can create such a Kentucky. We are called to work deeply in our communities. Join us at KFTC’s 2018 statewide Annual Membership Meeting to continue to be a part of this great political transition we are in. We will build together a space that is warm, welcoming, inclusive and accessible. We will develop new skills around creating community and learn new ways of applying the skills we have to work together for transformative change in this challenging moment. “I’m eager to see what new friendships and brilliant ideas come out of this year’s meeting,” said Jefferson County member Beth Bissmeyer, who has been to several of the gatherings. “Having the annual meeting at Berea College is so fitting. Both KFTC and Berea College are rooted in social justice values, and they both continue to evolve and challenge themselves through the efforts of their students and members, respectively. “Learning and growing together in a space where people have fought together for social justice,
channeling hope into action, for more than 150 years, is a great fit for KFTC as we explore how to strengthen and grow our community for the important work ahead.” At this gathering we will build relationships that will sustain us as we meet the challenges of this work. Small group workshops and breakouts will include: • Creating and using art in our movement • Creating spaces of belonging • Skills and methods for building community • Using social media and digital tools • Electoral plans for the 2018 elections • A space for young people • Advancing gender justice • Appalachian Transition • Lessons from People of Color-led movements • Working for our tax and budget vision • Organizing through faith • Writing in and for the movement • How to plan and lead direct action The full agenda will be posted at www.kftc. org/annual-meeting soon, and we’ll include it in the May and July issues of Balancing the Scales. The meeting will begin Friday evening, August 3 and conclude at noon on Sunday, August 5. Online registration will be available after May 1 at www. kftc.org/annual-meeting. Make plans to join in!
In preparation for KFTC’s statewide annual meeting (which includes the annual business meeting on Sunday morning), members are asked to participate in a number of ways. •
Participate in a chapter annual meeting (see schedule at right). All KFTC chapters hold their chapter annual meetings prior to the statewide annual meeting, in late May or June. At these meetings, chapter members make any suggested changes to the KFTC platform, set local priorities and goals, decide if they wish to continue as a chapter and, if so, select a Steering Committee representative and alternate and chapter coordinators for membership, fundraising and publicity. Nominate yourself or others to KFTC statewide leadership positions: KFTC Executive Committee (see page 23) Kentucky Coalition board (see page 24)
Please consider accepting a position as a chapter officer for the coming year, starting this fall. Chapter officers are: Steering Committee representative, Steering Committee alternate, fundraising coordinator, membership coordinator and publicity coordinator. All are important roles for which you will receive training and support. The responsibilities can be shared.
ANNUAL CHAPTER MEETINGS Big Sandy: Tuesday, June 5 from 6-8 p.m. at City Perk Coffeehouse, 225 E Graham St, Prestonsburg 41653 Central Kentucky: Thursday, June 21, 7-9 p.m. Large conference room at the Lexington Public Library, Northside branch in 1733 Russell Cave Rd, Lexington 40505 Cumberland: Sunday, June 3, 2-4 p.m. in Barbourville at the Union College Student Center, Heritage Conference Room (2nd floor) Harlan County: June 7 from 5-7 p.m., Rebecca Caudill Public Library in Cumberland Jefferson County: Monday, June 11 from 6:308:30 p.m. at First Unitarian Church, 809 S. 4th St, Louisville 40203 Madison County: Monday, May 21 from 6-8:30 p.m. at the Berea Friends Meeting House, 300 Harrison Rd. Potluck! Northern Kentucky: Tuesday, June 19 from 7-9 p.m. at the Center for Great Neighborhoods, 321 W 12th in Covington. Potluck! Perry County: Monday, June 18 from 6-8 p.m., at Foundation for Appalachian Kentucky, 420 Main St, Hazard 41701 Rowan County: Thursday, June 21 at 6 p.m. at St. Alban’s Episcopal Church in Morehead Scott County: Thursday, June 7 from 6:30 - 8:30 p.m. at the Scott County Public Library (104 S. Bradford Lane in Georgetown). Potluck! Shelby County: Thursday, June 21, 6-8 p.m. Stratton Center, 215 Washington St, Shelbyville Southern Kentucky: Tuesday, May 29 from 6-7:30 p.m. central at The Foundry, 531 W. 11th Ave in Bowling Green Western Kentucky: Sunday, May 20, 3:30-5:30 p.m, Room 208 Faculty Hall, Murray State U Wilderness Trace; June 4 from 6:30-8:30 p.m., Inter-County Energy Community Room, 1009 Hustonville Rd., Danville. Potluck!
www.kftc.org | April 18, 2018
Balancing the Scales | 23
Nominations Check List
KFTC 2018 Annual MEMBERSHIP Meeting Nominations for organization leaders The process for recommending, nominating, and electing members to KFTC’s Executive Committee reflects KFTC’s commitment to being a grassroots, membership-led organization. It is an expression of KFTC’s core values, including our commitment to diversity; an open, deliberate and democratic process; a model of shared leadership; and a practice of developing grassroots leaders as a primary strategy for social change. Anyone may nominate someone to serve in one of the four elected positions on KFTC’s Executive Committee or three seats on the Kentucky Coalition Board. KFTC’s Leadership Development Committee considers those suggestions and recommends a slate of candidates for each board that is balanced, diverse and qualified. In July the KFTC Steering Committee will review those recommendations and formally nominate individuals for election at KFTC’s Annual Membership Meeting in August. Nominations for the 2018/2019 Executive Committee and Kentucky Coalition Board are open until May 31, 2018.
KFTC Executive Committee R description below R nominations form on page 25 Kentucky Coalition board R description on page 24 R nominations form on page 25 Statewide issues and governance committees R description on page 26 R nominations form on page 26 Nominations also can be made at: http://kftc.org/nominations
EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE NOMINATIONS: Due May 31, 2018
KFTC’s Steering Committee is the statewide board that makes decisions about the organization’s strategy, policies, budget and long-term direction. The Steering Committee is made up of one representative from each chapter, plus five statewide officers. These five officers make up the Executive Committee. This group makes necessary decisions between Steering Committee meetings and provides leadership for the organization. Four members of the Executive Committee are elected. The fifth position is the immediate past chairperson. The following is a description of the elected positions: Chairperson The Chairperson is a voting member of the KFTC Steering Committee and Executive Committee, as well as the Chairperson of the KFTC Steering Committee and the Kentucky Coalition Board of Directors. They preside at all Annual Meetings, Steering Committee meetings, Executive Committee meetings, and Kentucky Coalition Board of Directors meetings.
This is KFTC’s current Executive Committee •
Vice Chairperson The Vice Chairperson is a voting member of the KFTC Steering Committee and Executive Committee, as well as the Vice Chairperson of the KFTC Steering Committee and the Kentucky Coalition Board of Directors. They preside in the absence of the chairperson at all Annual Meetings, Steering Committee meetings, Executive Committee meetings, and Kentucky Coalition Board of Directors meetings.
Secretary-Treasurer This officer serves as Secretary-Treasurer for KFTC and the Kentucky Coalition. They also serve as a voting member of the KFTC Steering Committee and Executive Committee, as well as the Kentucky Coalition Board of Directors. The Secretary-Treasurer also serves as the chair of the Finance Committee.
At-Large Representative The At-Large Representative is a member elected from anywhere in the state. They serve as a voting member of the KFTC Steering Committee and Executive Committee, as well as the Kentucky Coalition Board of Directors.
The chair is Meta Mendel-Reyes. She has served one year, and is eligible for another term in that position. The vice-chair is Randy Wilson. He has served one year, and is eligible for another term in that position. The secretary-treasurer is Christian Torp. He has served one year as secretary-treasurer, and is eligible for another term in that position. The at-large representative is Cassia Herron. She has served one year, and is eligible for another term in that position.
The fifth position on the Executive Committee is filled by the Immediate Past Chair. That position was vacant (due to a resignation). The Steering Committee in March appointed Mary Love to fill that position until the annual meeting.
Requirements • A statewide officer must be a member of KFTC. • A statewide officer cannot be a paid employee or the immediate family member of a paid employee of If that position remains vacant after the election of KFTC or Kentucky Coalition. the chairperson, a second at-large representative • A statewide officer cannot serve in the same position for more than two years. will be chosen from the nominees for that position. • The Leadership Development Committee will consider all nominees and recommend a diverse slate of qualified candidates, taking into account a diversity of characteristics including gender, age, race, income, educational background, place of residence, level of involvement in the local chapter and statewide organization, issue interests, and other desired qualities. The Leadership Development Committee values your suggestions. You may nominate as many people as you like. You may nominate a person for a specific statewide office, or “for any position” on the KFTC Executive Committee. Either way, the Leadership Development Committee considers all nominees to be eligible for any and all of the four positions.
www.kftc.org | April 18, 2018
24 | Balancing the Scales
KFTC 2017 Annual MEMBERSHIP Meeting Nominations for organization leaders
Use the form on the next page to send in your nominations. Nominations also can be made at: http://kftc.org/nominations
KENTUCKY COALITION BOARD NOMINATIONS: Due May 31, 2018 Kentucky Coalition is the sister organization of Kentuckians For The Commonwealth. Kentucky Coalition (KC) is a 501(c)(3) organization, meaning that it is allowed to accept tax-deductible donations from members and can access foundation grants that are not available to Kentuckians For The Commonwealth as a 501(c)(4). Kentucky Coalition’s purpose is to support grassroots community organizing, leadership development and public education around important public policy. KC’s reach stretches beyond KFTC and beyond Kentucky. Kentucky Coalition has provided support and acted as fiscal agent for groups working in Appalachia and the South. KC is currently the fiscal agent for the Alliance for Appalachia, a group of 13 organizations from Central Appalachia working to stop mountaintop removal mining and create a sustainable, just Appalachia. The KC board provides general oversight and direction for the organization. It maintains a close working relationship with the KFTC Steering Committee, monitors finances, and conducts planning and evaluation. The board meets at least quarterly, often by conference call. The KC board is composed of the five members of the KFTC Executive Committee plus three additional members who are elected by the KFTC membership at the annual meeting.
KC board members serve one-year terms. The KC board members who are also members of the Executive Committee follow the term limits of KFTC Executive Committee members. The three additional KC board members may serve four consecutive one-year terms.
• It is preferred that nominees to the Kentucky Coalition Board are people with prior experience on the KFTC Steering Committee or Finance Committee who do not currently serve as their chapter’s representative.
Requirements • A Kentucky Coalition board member must be a member of KFTC.
Current Kentucky Coalition Board of Directors
• A Kentucky Coalition board member cannot be a paid employee or the immediate family member of a paid employee of KFTC or Kentucky Coalition.
The following members currently serve on the Kentucky Coalition Board, along with the five members of KFTC’s Executive Committee:
• A Kentucky Coalition board member not on the KFTC Executive Committee cannot serve in the same position for more than four one-year consecutive terms. • The Leadership Development Committee will consider all nominees and recommend a diverse slate of qualified candidates, taking into account a diversity of characteristics including gender, age, race, income, educational background, place of residence, level of involvement in the local chapter and statewide organization, issue interests and other desired qualities.
Leslie McBride is in her first term. She is eligible to serve additional terms.
Alan Smith is in his first term. He is eligible to serve additional terms.
Megan Naseman is in her fourth term. She is not eligible to serve another term.
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Balancing the Scales | 25
Call for Nominations: KFTC Executive Committee and Kentucky Coalition Board. Due May 31, 2018. You may nominate yourself or any other member for KFTC’s Executive Committee and the Kentucky Coalition Board of Directors. All nominations must be received by 5 p.m. EDT on May 31, 2018. You may make your nominations by returning this form to KFTC at P.O. Box 1450, London, KY 40743. You may also email your suggestions to email@example.com, or use an online form at www.kftc.org/nominations.
KFTC EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE: Due May 31, 2018
Your Name: Phone: Email:
KENTUCKY COALITION BOARD: Due May 31, 2018
You may nominate as many people as you like for the KFTC Executive Committee. Use additional paper if needed, and a separate form for each nominee.
You may nominate as many people as you like for the Kentucky Coalition board. Use additional paper if needed, and a separate form for each nominee.
I would like to nominate: _____________________________
I would like to nominate _________________________ for a position on the Kentucky Coalition Board.
For the following position(s) on KFTC’s Executive Committee:
I believe this person is a good choice because: _____________
Any of the positions
I believe this person is a good choice because: _____________ _________________________________________________ _________________________________________________ I have spoken with this person about my nomination, and they are willing to be considered (it’s okay if you haven’t). I have NOT yet spoken with this person about my nomination, and I do not know if they are willing to be considered. I would like to nominate: _____________________________
I have spoken with this person about my nomination, and they are willing to be considered (It’s okay if you haven’t). I have NOT yet spoken with this person about my nomination, and I do not know if they are willing to be considered.
I would like to nominate _________________________ for a position on the Kentucky Coalition Board. I believe this person is a good choice because: _____________ _________________________________________________
For the following position(s) on KFTC’s Executive Committee:
I have spoken with this person about my nomination, and they are willing to be considered (It’s okay if you haven’t).
Any of the positions
I believe this person is a good choice because: _____________
I have NOT yet spoken with this person about my nomination, and I do not know if they are willing to be considered.
_________________________________________________ _________________________________________________ I have spoken with this person about my nomination, and they are willing to be considered (it’s okay if you haven’t). I have NOT yet spoken with this person about my nomination, and I do not know if they are willing to be considered.
Return this form to: KFTC P.O. Box 1450 London, KY 40743
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26 | Balancing the Scales
CALL FOR NOMINATIONS: Due May 31, 2018 KFTC statewide committees KFTC ISSUE AND GOVERNANCE COMMITTEES KFTC is accepting nominations for members to serve on statewide issue and governance committees (descriptions below). Any member may nominate themselves or another member to service on one or more of these committees. All committee nominations will be considered by the Leadership Development Committee. New committee assignments will be finalized in September by the Steering Committee.
ISSUE COMMITTEES Land Reform – Develops the strategy for KFTC’s campaigns on issues connected to natural resources, especially coal and energy issues. Meets 3-6 times as needed. Economic Justice – Develops the strategy and priorities for KFTC’s economic justice campaigns, especially around tax reform, wages, and housing. Meets as needed, in person or by conference call. New Energy and Transition (NET) – Develops strategy and priorities for work promoting clean, sustainable energy and a just transition for Appalachia and beyond. Meets face-to-face at least once a year, and monthly by phone about NET campaigns and opportunities and to develop shared strategies. Voter Rights Strategy – Develops strategy for KFTC’s work on restoring voting rights for formerly incarcerated individuals. If there is no active statewide work, this committee does not meet. Litigation – Helps KFTC engage in strategic litigation that supports organizing goals. The team evaluates requests to join litigation and makes recommendations to the Steering Committee about new litigation. Experienced leaders with long-term investment in KFTC are ideal. The team has conference calls as needed and uses email regularly. If there is no active litigation, this team does not meet. Racial Justice – Helps ensure KFTC is incorporating racial justice and anti-oppression into our work and strategies; includes educating members on racial justice issues, coordinating education and skill-building opportunities and ensuring that racial justice principles are applied to all of KFTC’s program. Meets in-person quarterly with some conference calls. All committee members must attend an anti-oppression training day in September.
GOVERNANCE COMMITTEES Leadership Development – Develops, evaluates and helps implement KFTC’s leadership programs, including workshops and leadership schools. Nominates members to serve on statewide committees and offices. Meets several times a year as needed. Personnel – Participates in staff hiring, staff performance evaluations, and manages the annual evaluation of the executive director. Provides guidance and makes recommendations about personnel policies and issues. Meets as needed (primarily calls). Finance – Recommends budget and quarterly financial reports, financial management policies and major financial decisions; reviews and reports on KFTC’s audit. Meets by conference call every other month.
KFTC issue and governance committees meet by conference call or in person several times a year. The frequency will vary by committee. ****** KFTC members may nominate themselves or another KFTC member to serve on any committee. Nominations will be accepted until May 31. ****** Terms are for one year, and members may serve an unlimited number of terms and serve on more than one committee at a time.
STATEWIDE COMMITTEE NOMINATIONS: Due May 31, 2018 You may nominate yourself or other KFTC members for the committees described on this page. Nominations will be reviewed by the Leadership Development Committee and appointed by the new Steering Committee in September 2018. Submit as many nominations as you like for consideration for KFTC’s committees. Please use additional space or paper as needed. Make your nominations by returning this form to KFTC at P.O. Box 1450, London KY 40743. Or email suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org or use an online form at www.kftc.org/nominations. Members attending chapter meetings in May and June also will have the opportunity to make nominations during those discussions.
Nominee: ____________________________________ Committee nominated for: _______________________ Nominee: ____________________________________ Committee nominated for: _______________________ Nominee: ____________________________________ Committee nominated for: _______________________ Your Name: __________________________________ Phone: ______________________________________
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Balancing the Scales | 27
Steering Committee focuses on Just Transition work in EKy The KFTC Steering Committee met in Berea at the end of March to discuss the 2018 General Assembly session and KFTC’s organizing and Just Transition work in eastern Kentucky. Committee members revisited key questions asked during a leadership summit immediately following the 2016 elections: “what happened, why, and what’s next?” They considered these same questions as applied to the 2018 General Assembly session. At that 2016 leadership summit members highlighted a set of imperatives to guide KFTC’s work moving forward. Underpinning the conversation was shifting the political landscape in Kentucky. In light of recent actions taken by legislators, committee members re-emphasized the importance of this underlying purpose of KFTC’s work, especially the ongoing Action for Democracy (voter empowerment) work. Political events give KFTC the opportunity to “empower people who haven’t been involved in anything before,” said Mary Love of Oldham County. Committee members lifted up several bills before legislators for further discussion, including a youth incarceration bill, an anti-rooftop solar bill, and pension and tax legislation. They discussed ways that KFTC’s Action for Democracy work during the General Assembly strengthens visionary grassroots power and helps build a united front. Wendy Warren of Madison County emphasized that actions taken by legislators around public worker pensions are “part of a wider national move to get rid of public education in this country.” Russell Oliver of Perry County noted that attacks on teachers and all public workers are discouraging. “If it wasn’t so sad, you can almost make a joke out of the whole thing. It’s so ridiculous,” he said. Robby Olivam of Jefferson County stressed, “They [legislators] are a bit backed into a corner. This can be dangerous, but may also bring new allies into the work.” After discussing the General Assembly, committee members talked about KFTC’s organizing and Just Transition work in eastern Kentucky. They spotlighted the recent conversation with the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for a Moral Revival in Benham (see story elsewhere in this issue of BTS). Chanda Campbell of Perry County mentioned that the Poor People’s Campaign zeros in on many important issues in our communities. “Classism and racism are so deeply intertwined,” she noted.
Chase Gladson of Harlan County spoke at the Benham event. “Seeing people ready to get active in the community to work on these issues got me really excited,” he reflected. Cassia Herron of Jefferson County lifted up, “The women of color leaders and diversity of people [involved in the Poor People’s Campaign] stand out to me. Poverty has no one single face.” Committee members discussed other aspects of KFTC’s organizing in eastern Kentucky and Just Transition work as impacts the region. Leaders emphasized that “just transition” is an important perspective concerning the type of change that KFTC is working for, while noting that its meaning evolves over time. One key point lifted up was that working for a Just Transition involves asking what does a community want and how can they move there. In reflecting on her experience working for a Just Transition in agriculture, Herron noted that this work is essential because it “puts power back into local communities and puts forth a vision of what we want and creates ways to do it. There is a lot of power in taking control of that destiny.” Members also noted that keeping justice central to the conversation about transition takes work, recalling that in times of transition, process matters. Committee members continued to highlight ongoing organizing work in eastern Kentucky. David Miller of Knox County noted that the new Cumberland chapter plans to develop its priorities for the coming year.
“We are still figuring out who we are together as a chapter. We’ve engaged in supporting workers around pensions, and organized health care sign-ups. For the coming year, our chapter hopes to work on environmental justice, racial justice, voting rights and fairness,” he said. Chase Gladson mentioned, “We are young people trying to get more young people involved. We are working around mental health in school, harm reduction and local foods.” Alix Burke of Pike County mentioned the Women’s Anniversary March held in January and noted, “We are helping organize a Unity Rally to bring folks in the community together on the anniversary of white supremacists coming to the community. At the event, we are going to have a poetry contest for elementary school kids lifting up unity.” In other business, the Steering Committee elected Mary Love to the Executive Committee to fill the seat vacated by Dana Beasley Brown of Warren County, who resigned to campaign for elected office. Love is a long-time member of KFTC and has been active with the organization in many roles. She currently serves on KFTC’s New Energy and Transition, Leadership Development, and Land Reform committees. She previously served on the Kentucky Coalition Mary Love board.
KFTC is hiring in eastern Kentucky KFTC is hiring for three Community Organizer Apprentice positions in eastern Kentucky. These organizer apprentices will work with KFTC’s grassroots leaders and staff to help strengthen KFTC’s membership and chapters in eastern Kentucky. Apprentices will implement outreach strategies to engage thousands of people in eastern Kentucky around key issues, voting and opportunities to take action. Current issue campaigns in the region include efforts to help people save money by saving energy, strengthen funding for and access to health care and quality public education, win policies for racial justice and LGBTQ equality, advance a Just Transition, and more. These apprentice positions will last through the end of December 2018. The application deadline was April 18. However, applications received after that may be evaluated on a rolling basis as long as the positions are still open. Check at www.kftc.org/jobs for the job description and to see the status of the positions, or contact Lisa Abbott at Lisa@kftc.org.
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28 | Balancing the Scales
calendar of events April 21 and May 18 – fourth and fifth training sessions for KFTC’s initial Organizing Academy Leader Cohort. Topics: Nonviolent direct action, leadership development, meeting facilitation, grassroots fundraising Info: Beth@kftc.org or 859-276-0563
May 6 and June 3 – Chapter meetings Cumberland, 2-4 p.m. May 6: Laurel County Public Library 121 College Park Drive, London June 3: Union College Student Center Heritage Conference Room, Barbourville Info: Angel@kftc.org or 606-261-4955
April 23 (7 p.m.) and May 21 (6 p.m.) Chapter meeting (and potluck in May) Madison County Berea Friends Meeting House 300 Harrison Street, Berea Info: Sasha@kftc.org or 859-358-9713
May 7 (7 p.m.) and June 4 (6:30 p.m.) Chapter meeting (and potluck in June) Wilderness Trace InterCounty Energy Community Room 1009 Hustonville Rd., Danville Info: Sasha@kftc.org or 859-358-9713
April 24 and May 29 Chapter meetings – Southern Kentucky 6 p.m. at Foundry Community Center 531 W 11th Ave. in Bowling Green Info: Molly@kftc.org or 502-599-3989
May 14 and June 11 Chapter meeting – Jefferson County 6:30 p.m. at the First Unitarian Church 809 S. 4th St., Louisville Info: Becky@kftc.org or 502-741-8759
April 28 – Pikeville Unity Celebration with Progress Pike and the Big Sandy chapter 11 a.m.-3 p.m. at the Pikeville City Park 101 Cumberland Court in Pikeville Info: Jacob@kftc.org or 606-497-9262 April 29 – KFTC Night at the Bowling Green Hot Rods baseball game – 2 p.m. at the Hot Rods Stadium (300 8th Ave. in Bowling Green); purchase your ticket for $10 at 502-599-3989 or by email: email@example.com May 1 and June 5 – Chapter meetings (plus potluck in June) – Big Sandy, 6 p.m. May: location St. James Episcopal Church 562 University Drive in Prestonsburg June: location City Perk Coffeehouse 225 E. Graham Street, Prestonsburg Info: Jacob@kftc.org or 606-497-9262 May 3 and June 7 – chapter meetings Harlan County, 5 p.m. 1733 Russell Cave Rd. May: location TBD June: location Rebecca Caudill Library 310 W Main Street in Cumberland Info: Angel@kftc.org or 606-261-4955 May 3 and June 7 – Potluck and chapter meeting, Scott County 6:30 p.m., Scott County Public Library 104 S. Bradford Lane in Georgetown Info: Joe@kftc.org or 859-380-6103
May 15 and June 19 Chapter meeting – Northern Kentucky 7 p.m. at Center for Great Neighborhoods 321 W. 12th Street, Covington Info: Joe@kftc.org or 859-380-6103 May 17 and June 21 Chapter meeting – Rowan County 6 p.m., St. Albans Church 145 E. 5th St., Morehead Info: Nikita@kftc.org or 502-488-3830 May 17 and June 21 – Chapter meetings Central Kentucky, 7 p.m. May location: Episcopal Mission House 203 E. 4th Street, Lexington June location: Northside Branch Lexington Public Library, 1733 Russell Cave Rd. Info: Meredith@kftc.org or 859-276-0563 May 21 and June 18 – Chapter meetings Perry County, 6 p.m. Location TBA Info: Jacob@kftc.org or 606-497-9262 June 1-2 KFTC Steering Committee retreat Friday 7 p.m. - Saturday 4:30 p.m., Location TBA Info: Heather@kftc.org or 859-276-0563 Find an occasionally updated list of events at www.kftc.org/calendar
KFTC OFFICES and STAFF MAIN OFFICE Morgan Brown, Burt Lauderdale, Ashley Frasher, Angel Hill and Jacob Mack-Boll 131 North Mill Street P.O. Box 1450 | London, Kentucky 40743 606-878-2161 | Fax: 606-878-5714
FIELD OFFICES Louisville Elizabeth Adami, Alicia Hurle, Becky Jones and Carissa Lenfert 735 Lampton Street #202 Louisville, Ky. 40203 502-589-3188 Bowling Green Molly Kaviar, Laura Harper, Lesley Garrett, Alex Goldsmith and James Line 958 Collett Ave., Suite 500 Bowling Green, Ky. 42101 270-282-4553 Northern Kentucky Joe Gallenstein and Caitlin Sparks 640 Main Street Covington, Ky. 41005 859-380-6103 Central Kentucky Jessica Hays Lucas, Beth Howard, Heather Mahoney, Erik Hungerbuhler, Meredith Wadlington, Tyler Offerman, Sharon Murphy, Tayna Fogle, DeBraun Thomas and Nikita Perumal 250 Plaza Drive, Suite 4 Lexington, Ky 40503 859-276-0563 Floyd County Jessie Skaggs and Jerry Hardt 152 North Lake Drive • P.O. Box 864 Prestonsburg, Ky 41653 606-263-4982 Berea Lisa Abbott, Amy Hogg, Kevin Pentz, Sasha Zaring and Michael Harrington 210 N. Broadway, Unit #3 Berea, Ky 40403
Email any staff member at firstname.lastname@example.org except for Jessica Hays Lucas, use jessicabreen@ kftc.org; Beth Howard, use email@example.com