June 10, 2013
NON-PROFIT U.S. POSTAGE PAID LEXINGTON, KY. PERMIT NO. 513
Week in Washington: Members urge water protection and just transition
Change Service Requested
Volume 32 Number 4
Kentuckians For The Commonwealth P.O. Box 1450 London, Ky. 40743
balancing the scales
Letcher County â€“ building a bright future on Pine Mountain pg. 4 House parties raise $7,000, new members and awareness pg. 6 Big Sandy coal burning plant to close; AEP requests rate hike pg. 7 Ray Tucker: Working together to build a stronger democracy pg. 8 KFTC, allies file suit to protect water from coal pollution pg. 9 56th District special election pg. 12
Residents present EPA officials with toxic water
Linda Stettenbenz: Telling her pg. 9 story as a way to help build new economic power pg. 14 Believing in ourselves and Appalachiaâ€™s Bright Future pg. 15 Growth of annual membership meeting leads to new location pg. 16
balancing the scales, June 10, 2013
Table of Contents Executive Committee Corner page 3 Local Updates Letcher County – building a bright future on Pine Mountain Southern Kentucky chapter supports local farmers’ market Working toward a bright future in Harlan County Rowan County members: tuned in to the needs of festival goers House parties raise $7,000, new members and awareness
page 4 page 4 page 5 page 5 page 6
New Energy and Transition Update Big Sandy coal burning plant to close; AEP requests rate hike page 7 Holding AEP accountable page 7 Ray Tucker: Working together to build a stronger democracy page 8 Canary Project Update Week in Washington: Members urge water protection and just transition Residents present EPA officials with toxic water KFTC, allies file suit to protect water from coal pollution Years later, permit given for mining in Sloans Valley Anti-EPA, anti-clean water effort fails in U.S. Senate
page 9 page 9 page 9 page 10 page 10
Voting Rights Update Democracy voices: Sean O’Donley, Hardin County page 11 Voting rights gets national attention on PBS’ Constitution USA page 12 Secretary of state gathers input on Kentucky election process page 12 56th District special election page 12 Economic Justice Updates Linda Stettenbenz: Telling her story as a way to help build new economic power across Kentucky page 14 Two alternatives to the federal sequester program cuts: Cancel the Sequester and The Balancing Act page 14 Believing in ourselves and Appalachia’s Bright Future page 15 Steering Committee practices New Power conversations page 16 Growth of annual membership meeting leads to new location page 16 Annual Meeting Registration and Schedule page 17 Officer nominations, platform review start annual process page 18 Nominations for officers and committees page 19 Calendar of Events page 20 Cover photo of Nick Mullins and family provided by Megan Kelley Name: Address: City, State Zip: Phone: Email: I want to make my donation to the following organization (check one): ____ KFTC (not tax-deductible) ____ Kentucky Coalition (tax-deductible) B a n k W i t h d r a w a l / C re d i t C a rd P a y m e n t Authorization: I authorize KFTC/KY Coalition to debit my account or charge my credit card in accordance with the information provided. I understand that this authority will remain in effect until cancelled or changed by reasonable notification to KFTC/KY Coalition.
Who asked you to join KFTC?
Suggested membership dues are $15-$50 annually. ____ One-time Gift: Amount $_____________ ____ Sustaining Giver: I will contribute $___ (check one): __ Monthly __ Quarterly __ Annually Authorized Signature: ________________________ Date: _____________ Circle one: Mastercard Visa American Express Discover Card #: __ __ __ __ - __ __ __ __ - __ __ __ __ - __ __ __ __ Expiration date: ___ ___ / ___ ___ Cardholder’s name (as it appears on the card): _____________________________ Date: ____________ For bank drafts, return this form with a voided check from the account you wish to have the withdrawal made. Make checks payable to KFTC or the Kentucky Coalition and mail to: KFTC • P.O. Box 1450 • London, Ky. 40743-1450.
Kentuckians For The Commonwealth 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 Sue Tallichet, chair Dana Beasley Brown, vice chair Rick Handshoe, secretary-treasurer Megan Naseman, at-large member Steve Boyce, immediate past chair
Chapter Representatives Homer White, Scott County Christian Torp, Central Kentucky Ted Withrow, Rowan County Ben Baker, Northern Kentucky Shekinah Lavalle, Jefferson County Travis Lane, Southern Kentucky Jack Ball, Harlan County Cleveland Smith, Perry County Meta Mendel-Reyes, Madison County Elizabeth Sanders, Letcher County Whitney Blackburn, Floyd County Daniel Morgan, Wilderness Trace Leslie McBride, Shelby County Alternates: Rosanne Fitts Klarer, Scott County; Greg Capillo, Central Kentucky; Lisa Bryant, Rowan County; Rick Traud, Northern Kentucky; Nan Goheen, Jefferson County; Alan Smith, Southern Kentucky; Carl Shoupe, Harlan County; Katie Pirotina, Perry County; Steve Wilkins, Madison County; Ada Smith, Letcher County; Leah Bayens, Wilderness Trace; Patrick King, Shelby County. balancing the scales is published by Kentuckians For The Commonwealth and mailed third class from Lexington, Kentucky. Reader contributions and letters to the editor should be sent to 250 Southland Drive Suite #4, Lexington, KY. 40503 or email@example.com. Subscriptions are $20 per year.
balancing the scales, June 10, 2013
Executive Committee Corner by Megan Naseman At-large Executive Committee member Hi, folks. This is my first Executive Committee Corner, so I’ll introduce myself. I’m Megan Naseman, and I grew up in rural Ohio. As a kid, I spent most of my time climbing trees. Before I was engaged in KFTC, I was under the impression that the best way to make change was through my personal actions. I was really caught up in trying to make amends for and minimize my own ecological footprint. After meeting KFTC member Bev May of Floyd County and learning about her work on a Lands Unsuitable for Mining Petition, my perspective shifted. Suddenly, I recognized the privilege I had, particularly access to clean water. Through this organization I found my political voice, recognizing that ordinary folks deserve a seat at the table. After I’d been on the Steering Committee a few years, some folks in my local chapter asked if I’d be interested in being nominated to join the Executive Committee. Heads up – this could very well happen to you! I said yes, because I find that time spent with my KFTC family never fails to yield practical lessons, renewed hope for our future, and a hearty dose of laughter.
One of the highlights of being on the Steering Committee is that we have two overnight retreats a year. These are chances for new and seasoned Steering Committee members to get to know each other and dig deeper than is possible in a day-long meeting. Usually, we spend the Friday night of our retreats in a business meeting and gather for training or long-term planning on the following Saturday. Last month, instead of the typical schedule we spent our Friday night meeting time at Louisville Loves Mountains. What a hoot! Though rain was in the forecast and the event moved into the Green Building, the crowd was great. In the entry room, a fiddler busked beside an info table. Posters showed winning youth speeches on the topic of mountaintop removal. A van-turned-photo-booth churned out goofy snapshots with “Louisville Loves Mountains” scrolled across the bottom. A DJ spun oldschool tunes that had folks really going for it. Let’s not forget that having fun is a legitimate goal of organizing, folks! There’s something about joy that binds people and renews our spirits. This, too, is a part of our work. On Saturday, we heard from a panel of organizations working on social justice issues around Louisville. They talked about their vision for Louisville and what was standing in the way of that vision. We heard from Kate Miller, of the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) of Kentucky, about comprehensive immigration reform and ways they are reaching out to immigrants who work behind Churchill Downs. Cathy Hinko and Dana Duncan, from Metropolitan Housing Coalition, shared the startling statistic that 13 percent of Jefferson County public school students experienced homelessness during the last school year. Chris Hartman, of the Fairness Campaign, talked about the anti-oppression lens of their work and how the organization known for fighting for LGBTQ rights also sees a commitment to anti-racism as essential. Eboni Cochran, from REACT (Rubbertown Emergency Action), talked about air quality and organizing for environmental justice in the west end of Louisville. Though we may think abstractly about how all injustices are connected, hearing from this panel of Louisville organizations illustrated ways we might come together to work for change. “We’re all connected,” Cochran said. “We’ve got to get together and connect the dots.” Dana Duncan agreed that “our greatest asset is to collaborate.”
KFTC member Sam Avery has written a book titled The Pipeline and the Paradigm: Keystone XL, Tar Sands, and the Battle to Defuse the Carbon Bomb. He investigates the economic, ecological, political and psychological issues behind the Keystone Pipeline. “In this thoroughly researched, wholly engaging book, Avery takes readers from enormous tar sands mines in Alberta to a tree-top blockade in Texas to meet the people and explore the competing interests that power the environmental issue of our time,” according to publisher Ruka Press. Pick up your copy at your local independent bookstore.
We, as a Steering Committee, were inspired by the breadth of work we heard about, the multitude of paths to a better tomorrow. We brainstormed ways that we might invest in our connections with ally organizations as well as among our chapters around the state. For instance, we saw a connection between the air quality standard enforcement challenges Cochran talked about and what folks in eastern Kentucky face around water quality standard enforcement. We’re interested in chapters working on similar issues hosting cross-chapter exchanges to learn about each other’s work. Perhaps we could profile chapters working on analogous issues in different corners of the state side by side in balancing the scales. I encourage you, as your chapters nominate statewide committee members (which is happening this month, folks), to consider engaging at this level if you haven’t already. You might be surprised at just how much we can learn from one another.
KFTC Offices and Staff MAIN OFFICE Morgan Brown, Robin Daugherty & Burt Lauderdale P.O. Box 1450 London, Kentucky 40743 606-878-2161 Fax: 606-878-5714 firstname.lastname@example.org
FIELD OFFICES Louisville Jessica George, Jerry Hardt, Alicia Hurle Carissa Lenfert, and Colette Henderson 901 Franklin Street Louisville, Ky 40206 502-589-3188 Whitesburg Tanya Turner P.O. Box 463 Whitesburg, Ky 41858 606-632-0051 Central Kentucky Tim Buckingham, Jessica Hays Lucas, Beth Howard, Erik Hungerbuhler, Heather Roe Mahoney, and Dave Newton 250 Plaza Drive Suite 4 Lexington, Ky 40503 859-276-0563
Northern Kentucky Joe Gallenstein 859-380-6103 Floyd County Kristi Kendall and Jessie Skaggs 154 North Lake Drive Prestonsburg, KY 41653 606-226-4159 Bowling Green Denney Breeding 270-779-6483 Berea Lisa Abbott, Beth Biss meyer, Amy Hogg, Sara Pennington and Kevin Pentz 140 Mini Mall Drive Berea, KY 40403 859-986-1277 Teri Blanton 118 Baugh Street Berea, Ky. 40403 859-986-1648
e-mail any staff member at email@example.com except for Jessica Hays Lucas -- use firstname.lastname@example.org, Beth Howard -- use BethHoward@kftc.org, and Beth Bissmeyer -- use BethBissmeyer@kftc.org
balancing the scales, June 10, 2013
Letcher County – building a bright future on Pine Mountain
The Letcher County chapter has worked hard over the past year to raise local visibility of their work, build collaboration with neighboring chapters, and increasingly plan and participate in local trainings and events. With radio talk shows, newspaper ads and editorials, an increased Facebook presence and more, the chapter is reaching and involving more and more people, from Blackey to Oven Fork. The last calendar year included potlucks, water testing and citizen lobbying trainings, art raffles, voter empowerment drives, and countless appearances at fiscal court meetings to speak out for clean water and safe mining in our communities. Through the Appalachia’s Bright Future conference silent auction in April, the Letcher chapter has already raised more than three-fourths of its annual fundraising goal. Just in the last month, Letcher County KFTC members spoke out at a Public Service Commission hearing about a Kentucky Power proposal to raise local electric rates. They shared a message of vision, possibility and responsibility the
company has to provide local ratepayers with the “least cost options” for longterm, sustainable solutions. Also in May, more than 30 Letcher County members and friends spent a whole Saturday cleaning and celebrating on top of Pine Mountain at Wiley’s Last Resort (WLR). Letcher County’s favorite campground, WLR is owned and operated by long-time KFTC member, author, poet, rabble-rouser and radio extraordinaire Jim Webb. After slipping quietly into retirement from Appalshop’s WMMT, Webb was celebrated in March at the second annual Potluck on Pine Mountain with the Harlan chapter for his decades of lively action and advocacy for a better world. There, KFTC members from both sides of the mountain agreed to spend a Saturday in May honoring and supporting Webb’s work. Chapter members helped to get his beautiful and funky campground in great shape for the upcoming season of “the preservation and perpetuation of wildlife, music, poetry, fun and communing with nature,” as described on www.wileyslastresort.com.
As a local farmers’ market in Bowling Green completes the process of adding EBT/SNAP benefits, Southern Kentucky chapter members are looking for ways to support its success. Members are busy networking, researching and building community interest around the new project at the local Community Farmers’ Market. Like many communities, Bowling Green has seen a recent push in educating household shoppers about the many benefits of purchasing food in ways that are both healthier for their families and more friendly to the local economy. By adding EBT/SNAP benefits, the farmers’ market is extending its reach to more than 9,000 Warren County families who rely on the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to help buy the food they need each month.
• Volunteering time to help staff the information booth on market days • Organizing transportation from more distant areas of town via bus routes or shuttles to the market • Providing information about the farmers’ market at the Cabinet for Health and Family Services as participants register for benefits • Spreading the word throughout the community • Offering workshops with healthy food preparation demonstrations • Researching funding to add monetary incentives for purchasing local foods from the market
Growing from the Appalachia’s Bright Future theme, Building a Bright Future on Pine Mountain, as the event became known, featured several projects that involved cleaning up camp sites, fire pits, trails, outdoor furniture, music stages and much more. After a long day of campground work, people gathered together at the ‘Sandbar and Gorilla’ and ‘Walled-In Pond’ for a big potluck and late night rock ’n roll show, with poetry and stories. This event helped to launch not just several more months of campground community this year, including the annual Rotary picnic, MARS fest and the Soirée, but also an annual clean up/ kick off event each year, sponsored by KFTC friends near and far. As Wiley (Webb) put it, “It’s a wonderful thing!” Webb would like to extend an
invitation to KFTC members throughout the state to next year’s big summer kickoff at Wiley’s Last Resort on Saturday, May 18, 2014. Letcher County member Jeff Chapman Crane, who generously ran a chainsaw at this year’s event, said, “This is a great way to honor Jim and bring everyone together.”Chapman Crane is the artist behind the flamingo and cattail mosaic on Wiley’s dock that captured lots of attention throughout the evening. This summer and fall the Letcher chapter already has plans for an evening in July at the brand new Fleming-Neon Public Library, including a tour and Q & A with architect Bill Richardson, as well as an advanced water testing training in September. This month, the chapter is hosting its annual chapter meeting as a potluck picnic at the Valley of the Winds Art Gallery in Eolia on Pine Mountain.
Southern Kentucky chapter supports local farmers’ market
Members are considering several ways they can add support:
If you’re in the Southern Kentucky chapter area (Warren and surrounding counties) and interested in joining these efforts or would like to share information on how to help, please contact KFTC Organizer Denney Breeding at 270-779-6483 or email@example.com.
In May, more than 30 Letcher County members and friends volunteered to clean the top of Pine Mountain at Wiley’s Last Resort (WLR). Letcher County’s favorite campground, WLR is owned and operated by long-time KFTC member Jim Webb.
balancing the scales, June 10, 2013
Working toward a bright future in Harlan County
Harlan County KFTC members from Lynch to Loyall have been busy building toward better days in Harlan and beyond. This has already been a huge year for one of KFTC’s first chapters, located in eastern Kentucky. Besides hosting the three-day Appalachia’s Bright Future conference in April for more than 200 people from near and far, the chapter has seen local projects gain momentum and the chapter grow and grow. In January, after months of appealing denials and pleading to state officials, the Phillips family of Black Joe saw a $1 million state funded project begin behind their home and community to stabilize a dangerous land slide that had already significantly damaged their home and others. During the legislative session, Harlan members welcomed their state senator and new majority whip, Brandon Smith, back to his district to discuss the economy, opportunities, voting rights and more. In March, the Harlan chapter hosted the second annual Potluck on Pine Moun-
tain with the neighboring Letcher County chapter. There in Cumberland, more than 30 people gathered in the rain and snow to eat barbecue, hear local fiddle tunes, visit with one another, and plan for bigger and better days to come. Now, a four-year collaboration with the City of Lynch has finally gained momentum and is resulting in energy upgrades and retrofits on multiple Lynch city buildings. Currently, work is happening to upgrade doors, windows, and framing, as well as re-roof the Lynch sewer plant. Bennie Massey of the Lynch City Council said of the project, “We were losing money all over the place. These energy projects really work. The taxpayers were paying those big bills. All the departments are looking to save money now.” For the Appalachia’s Bright Future conference, Harlan members planned and promoted for months, gathered and donated silent auction items, built excitement locally and participated as emcees, panelists, workshop presenters, artists, musicians, tour guides, hosts, chefs, decorators, billboard stars, experts of their
The Rowan County KFTC Chapter is planning its biggest fundraising event of the year. For the third year in a row, the chapter will be the sole food provider for The Old Time Music Festival, which is held the last weekend of July at the Jaycee Farm near Morehead. As The Old Time Music’s website (http://organicconceptions.com/ motmf/) notes, the festival offers “a unique display of the diverse cultures in the region of the Appalachian Mountains.” KFTC members who enjoy great music, fun workshops, beautiful natural
scenery, and delicious homemade food should plan on attending this familyfriendly event. In addition to fundraising efforts, the chapter is also pursuing a plan to develop a fairness ordinance for the city of Morehead. At the KFTC Rowan County meeting in May, Michael Aldridge, executive director of the Kentucky chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, gave a presentation regarding the fairness campaign. After the presentation and a question-and-answer session, Aldridge worked with the chapter to formulate strategies for success.
Rowan County members: tuned in to the needs of festival goers
Save The Date: 2013 Annual Meeting August 16-18 General Butler State Park
Josh May, Lauren Adams, and Heather Gross participated in a Youth workshop at the Appalachia’s Bright Future Conference. own experience, and so much more. Lauren Adams, a mom, artist, and work-study student at Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College in Cumberland who presented and joined KFTC at the conference, said of the event, “I’m pretty sure it has changed the course of my life.” The chapter has enjoyed all this success while still holding off destructive mining with an ongoing Lands Unsuitable for Mining petition, attending fiscal court meetings, planning a water testing training for July, launching a chapter Facebook page, helping to investigate a sudden fish kill in Catrons Creek, and exploring more countywide collaboration with allies like the Pine Mountain Settlement School and
Benham Power Board. During the May chapter potluck at the Harlan Library, members shared that their biggest challenge right now may be communicating out what they are able to accomplish when they work together. Clair Stines, a retired nurse of Loyall, shared that, “We just can’t get the word out like we need to that Harlan has all this potential and we can change things. We’ve got to communicate, especially to all the 20- to 40-year-olds that we can do it!” The 2013 Harlan County chapter annual meeting was held on June 3 at Linda’s Bear Lodge in Putney. Members celebrated the year behind them and began to plan for the year ahead.
Rowan members took a break from cooking at the 2012 Old Time Music Festival.
balancing the scales, June 10, 2013
House parties raise $7,000, new members and awareness
Members in Oregon and central Kentucky held recent fundraisers for KFTC, resulting in more than $7,000 to support KFTC’s work. In late April, five KFTC members in Oregon – some native Kentuckians, some who have volunteered for KFTC in the past – organized an event to share what’s happening in Kentucky and how KFTC is working hard to defend our mountains and create a just economy for mountain communities. They “figured that Oregonians would care and open their pocketbooks,” wrote Rebecca O’Neil, one of the organizers. “The event was a resounding success! Oregonians were shocked to learn how people had to fight for the environmental and public interest protections that they take for granted,” she added.
Guests responded by buying plants, bidding on silent auction items like Appalachian music and a handmade quilt, and donating directly to KFTC. Rep. Alissa Keny-Guyer, an Oregon state representative with connections to civil justice, added her thoughts on why KFTC’s work is important and how people standing together can make a difference. In mid-May, Kentucky writer Mary Ann Taylor-Hall hosted an “extraordinary literary event” at her home for the benefit of KFTC. The evening event with more than 50 in attendance included music, refreshment and readings by Kentucky writers Susan Starr Richards, Maurice Manning and Richard Taylor. “We think there needs to be a strong and vibrant voice for advocacy,” said
Guests enjoyed readings, music and food at Mary Ann Taylor-Hall’s party. Richards, who read an essay recounting an experience on her neighboring farm, where she and husband Dick have raised horses. “KFTC advocates across a range of issues. It is essential to have their voice.” Richard Taylor and Maurice Manning also read from their own and others’ writings. Manning described the importance of having a relationship with the land, which moves him to support efforts to protect the land, especially stopping abuses like mountaintop removal. Taylor focused on
stories John J. Audubon wrote while in Kentucky. “That we can waste one place forever to get one thing out of it … is an unsustainable practice,” Manning reminded folks. “If it weren’t for Kentuckians For The Commonwealth bringing attention to the issue, a lot of Kentuckians wouldn’t be aware of what’s going on in our state.” Music was provided well into the night by David Wagoner, Tona Barkley, John Harrod and Warren Byrom.
In April 2012, the Southern Kentucky chapter members worked with allies to submit a community development grant proposal to Western Kentucky University’s ALIVE Center, requesting $3,000 to fund their tenant handbook project. Members and allies were excited to recently learn they received funding in the amount of $2,945 for the project. This is a huge accomplishment for the Bowling Green Housing Coalition. Members will now get busy developing resources to help renters know their rights. The above drawing will be featured in the handbook.
balancing the scales, June 10, 2013
New Energy and Transition Update
Big Sandy coal burning plant to close; AEP requests rate hike
In order to comply with new clean air standards by 2015, American Electric Power/ Kentucky Power has submitted a request to the Kentucky Public Service Commission to shut down its coal-burning Big Sandy power plant near Louisa. Originally, AEP had requested to retrofit the Big Sandy plant with pollution controls at a cost of nearly $1 billion in order to keep burning coal at that location. The utility withdrew that request in May. Now, the proposal on which the Public Service Commission is taking comments is to shut down the Big Sandy plant and spend $536 million to buy a 50 percent share in a coal-burning power plant in West Virginia. This is estimated to raise utility bills by 8 percent. In May, the PSC held public meetings in Louisa, Hazard and Whitesburg to gather comments on Kentucky Power’s proposal. KFTC members in these communities used the hearings to ask questions, share concerns and project a vision for better long-term investment. Elizabeth Sanders of Letcher County spoke at the Whitesburg meeting: “AEP/ Kentucky Power should be forward looking. The choices you and Kentucky Power make will affect our southeast Kentucky not just today, not just tomorrow, but years and years down the road. That’s why I choose to be here today.” Ada Smith of Mayking and Mimi Pickering of Whitesburg asked important questions of the PSC to clarify the proposal and what it could mean for their electric bills and future rate increases. Through these questions, it became clear that AEP has not yet made a proposal for clean up and shut down of the Big Sandy plant, which will be an additional cost to ratepayers. The PSC also confirmed that since AEP already owns the Mitchell plant
in West Virginia, it is essentially asking ratepayers to pay for AEP to sell the plant to itself, since Kentucky Power is an AEP subsidiary. After the PSC shared a presentation about AEP’s proposal and the process to approve such proposals, Ada Smith reacted to a component of the process called a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN), a set of PSC requirements including demand-reduction measures. “As a Kentucky Power and AEP customer, I’ve seen no efforts by the company to reduce demand. If they have claimed to do this, I don’t know how they are letting customers know about it,” Smith said. “An 8 percent increase is still outrageous when there are better options out there,” Sanders added. “This is not a reasonable price for customers. These rates are neither fair nor just given that this is not the least-cost option.” The coordinator of a local home repair ministry, Fern Nafziger of Hindman, shared concerns based on her work “to provide warm, safe and dry housing for low-income, elderly and others with needs in the surrounding communities.” Her message of possibility, opportunity and commitment to community resonated in many of the public comments to the PSC. “We all deserve the right to be able to afford basic needs like paying our power bills. I am speaking today for my work and community, because I believe we can make the right choices to provide a brighter future for all people living in substandard housing. “Instead of suffering as American Electric Power continues to increase our rates and move jobs to another state, the Public Service Commission should demand that we make changes here in our communities to transition
Why invest in Kentuckians For The Commonwealth? Your donation to KFTC supports the important work we do to build a stronger democracy, including supporting constituents in talking to their legislators, monitoring activity in Frankfort while legislators are in session, and giving members opportunities to take action on important bills.
You also support our work to educate voters about where candidates stand on the issues we all care about. Contributions to KFTC are not tax-deductible. Make your check payable to Kentucky Coalition if you wish your contribution to be tax-deductible.
to a better way of life and a higher standard of living. We could meet AEP’s energy demands and meet our own needs by building new and renovating existing homes to be more energy efficient.
AEP has the opportunity to provide job training and help their laid-off plant employees transition to new careers in building construction and as building analysts, ensuring that the energy efficient building practices are adopted in our communities. This investment could apply to developing a least-cost reasonable option for the Public Service Commission.” Fern Nafziger, Hindman There have been new developments in this case since these public hearings at which KFTC members spoke. Since then, Kentucky Power, the Kentucky Industrial Utility Customers (KIUC) and the Sierra Club submitted a memorandum of understanding to the Public Service Commission with a proposed settlement in the case.
The Sierra Club and KIUC agreed not to block Kentucky Power’s request to transfer their power-generation from the Big Sandy plant in Louisa to a 50 percent share in the Mitchell power plant. In addition Kentucky Power agreed to increase its spending on energy efficiency programs, to submit a non-binding request for wind power in the next Integrated Resource Plan it puts before the PSC, and to spend $100,000 on economic development in Lawrence and surrounding counties for five years. A third of those funds are to go to job training. The Kentucky Attorney General’s office declined to be a part of this settlement, and it is still awaiting a response from the Public Service Commission. The PSC must approve the agreement for it to take place. The PSC has extended its deadline and is now taking public comments until July 10. KFTC members are encouraged to let the PSC know that eastern Kentuckians deserve a bright future and a just transition.
Holding AEP accountable For decades American Electric Power has made enormous profit from the hard work, the people, the infrastructure and the public health of our communities and region. As AEP is looking to transition to producing electricity in less harmful ways, the corporation has a moral obligation to the region to invest in good jobs that will increase public health and make our communities stronger. The Public Service Commission needs to know that AEP can: • Create good, local jobs as well as meet its energy demands and our energy needs through local and regional energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. Investment in energy efficiency programs for ratepayers would be the lowest cost option for communities. • Develop land remediation programs and jobs in the eastern Kentucky region. AEP can hire local workers to clean up the site at the Big Sandy plant once it is decommissioned. AEP can hire and train workers to improve abandoned mine lands in the area where the coal was mined that supplied the plant for decades. • Provide job training and transition for laid-off plant employees. AEP owes it to the workers at the plant and the community to provide good benefits and job training. • Develop a community fund or foundation that will pay to create jobs in the region. The Public Service Commission needs to look into requiring AEP to use the sulfur dioxide pollution credits it will save with the closure of the power plant to invest in the community, rather than benefit shareholders. Visit kftc.org/renew-big-sandy to learn more about this issue and points you can make to the Public Service Commission. You may send comments to the PSC before July 10 to P.O. Box 615, Frankfort, KY 40602 or email them to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please put the case number 201200578 in the subject line. For questions or more information, contact KFTC organizer Sara Pennington at email@example.com or 606-276-9933.
balancing the scales, June 10, 2013
New Energy and Transition Update
Ray Tucker: Working together to build a stronger democracy
Ray Tucker, a Pulaski County farmer, KFTC member and former KFTC chairperson, recently ran for the board of his rural electric co-op, the South Kentucky RECC. He wrote this reflection on his campaign and the role of KFTC in building a stronger democracy. by Ray Tucker
My run for the South Kentucky RECC board started at a public hearing I spoke at last fall. The hearing was held in response to a group that was circulating a petition to dissolve our local library board. This petition, if successful, would have closed all public libraries in Pulaski County. At the hearing I said we needed to work together as a community. And a long dormant spark awakened in me that helped frame the question, how do we build community together? I told the crowd of more than 200 that I was encouraged to see them at this meeting to save our library. I said this can’t be one and done, that we have real issues to deal with in our area and
we have to be involved beyond voting. We needed to work toward a better democracy. I rededicated myself to work for accountability and democracy. Four members of our electric co-op board had just resigned. The spark ignited at the library meeting was fanned into full campaign flames in less than a month when the South Kentucky co-op outlined the process to fill the open board seats. By mid-January I was on the ballot, along with 15 other people, for the board seat in my district. I walked my neighborhood collecting signatures to qualify for the ballot, tabled at the strip mall and at a community yard sale, talked with people in my church – did the same things that KFTC has been doing for 30-plus years to organize a campaign. I chose to highlight KFTC’s role in my path to leadership development. I’m proud of the skills I’ve learned in KFTC. Our leadership model is valid, we are building the leaders of tomorrow, and we need to embrace our work as valid
leadership, just like the chamber of commerce does for their members. We used data to target our effort toward potential voters who were most likely to agree with my platform of openness, democracy and clean energy choices. I contacted KFTC members in the area, and KFTC members made calls on my behalf. It was very empowering to be part of a campaign that had involvement from wonderful people in a great organization. I learned that we can do this. Although I did not win the seat, we got our message out, and I think the message of open meetings, published minutes and clean energy options is heard in our co-op and will be demanded by the members, if not embraced by the board, in the near future. KFTC members took another important step at the Appalachia’s Bright Future conference in Harlan in April, and I am convinced we have the leaders in our organization to move our communities forward. As Wendell Berry said 20 years ago, we need a new political party that
Renew East Kentucky campaign briefs RECC annual meetings
This summer the rural electric co-ops in Kentucky are holding their annual meetings of the members. These meetings vary from a mid-morning no-frills business meeting at some to all-out county fair-like gatherings with national entertainment at others. But every gathering has a business meeting in which the members receive updates about the status of the cooperative and vote on any matters before the membership. KFTC members are encouraged to attend their annual cooperative membership meetings, to speak with co-op board and staff members about the need for clean, affordable energy and openness and democracy in the co-ops, and to attend the business meeting. The meetings run from early May through mid-July. Check with your rural electric
co-op for the time and location of your annual meeting. You can find links to all the electric co-ops in Kentucky at www.kaec.org/coops/
two-year run, and will likely be held in Lexington. Contact KFTC Organizer Sara Pennington for more information: firstname.lastname@example.org or 606-276-9933.
Upcoming Clean Energy Collaborative meeting
Public Forum on renewable energy planned for fall
The next public meeting of the Clean Energy Collaborative – in which KFTC participates with our clean energy allies, the East Kentucky Power Cooperative, and 16 distribution co-ops – will be Monday, July 22, 1 - 5 p.m. Please join other KFTC members to hear from EKPC’s market research on renewable energy as well as other business and education related to energy efficiency and clean energy in the rural electric co-op system. Members of the public are always provided with time to make a public comment at the end of the meeting. This will be the next-to-last meeting of the Collaborative in its
The Clean Energy Collaborative will hold a public forum on renewable energy in mid-September (the date is still being finalized) in Danville at the Inter-County Energy community room. EKPC and the co-ops, along with KFTC members and allies, will present on what renewable energy options are offered and being planned for the co-ops in the future. There will be plenty of time for public input and questions and answers. Please check your next issue of balancing the scales for the exact meeting time and how you can participate.
represents the people and the land. KFTC is that organization. And this summer we have KFTC’s annual meeting. Come to General Butler State Park this August and together we’ll learn how grassroots organizing builds a stronger democracy. KFTC is the model of democracy that works!
Renew Shelby Energy campaign ramps back up
After a hiatus of a few months, KFTC members in the Shelby County chapter and surrounding area are picking up their campaign to pass a Members’ Bill of Rights in the Shelby Energy Cooperative. A work team of members held a planning meeting to strategize a petition-gathering and public pressure campaign in support of the Bill of Rights. They will present the petition to the board with hundreds of signatures of supporters this fall. The Members’ Bill of Rights calls for open meetings, open records, and open and fair elections in one of the rural electric co-ops with the most need for these reforms. To join the work team for this campaign, or just to learn more and find other ways to help out, contact KFTC Organizer Sara Pennington: sara@kftc. org or 606-276-9933. The Shelby County KFTC chapter members would love to have your support.
Save The Date: 2013 Annual Meeting, August 16-18, General Butler State Park
balancing the scales, June 10, 2013
Canary Project Update
Week in Washington: Members urge water protection and just transition
The Alliance for Appalachia’s annual Week in Washington in May focused on protecting the region’s water and supporting an economic transition for workers and communities who have been dependent on coal mining. The dozen KFTC members who attended participated in meetings with members of Congress and their staffs and a variety of federal agencies. There were also public events, including a rally outside the headquarters of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (see sidebar). “We had a great meeting with Rep. John Yarmuth, who continues to cosponsor the Clean Water Protection Act, and thanked him for all of his support,” reported Carey Henson in a blog post. KFTC members also had good meetings focused on economic transition with Rep. Andy Barr and Rep. Thomas Massie, as well as meetings with staff members from the offices of Rep. Hal Rogers, Rep. Brett Guthrie, Sen. Mitch McConnell and Sen. Rand Paul. Overall, participants met with 75 members of Congress or their staff representatives. Meetings coordinated by the Alliance for Appalachia’s Economic Transition Team included representatives from the U.S. Steelworkers and Mondragon Cooperatives, the Appalachian Regional Commission, the U.S. Department of Labor, the Office of Surface Mining’s Coal Country Team and others. These meetings focused on the potential for a federal-level initiative to support just and sustainable economic development in the region. Participants also met with the U.S. Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to discuss the enforcement of mining and water quality laws, including the lack of enforcement by state officials, and ending mountaintop removal. A multi-state delegation formally petitioned the EPA to begin a rule-making process to limit conductivity in the nation’s streams. A formal petition was used because the EPA is required to respond. Central Appalachian residents have been asking EPA to begin the rule-making process since a federal court ruled last year that the agency’s conductivity “guidance” was not enforceable. “This conductivity guidance – based on scientific evidence – gives us the first sign that something may be wrong with
our water. It is a great tool for people in Appalachia,” KFTC member Rick Handshoe said. “It may not tell you what exactly is wrong, but it does tell you something is wrong and further testing is needed.” Research shows that the health of aquatic life in Central Appalachian streams begins to be affected when conductivity levels reach 300 micro siemens, and begins to die at 500 micro siemens. Many Kentucky streams where mining has occurred in the watershed already exceed the 500 micro siemens threshold. The Week in Washington is organized by the Alliance for Appalachia, a coalition with member groups in Kentucky, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia. KFTC is a founding member.
Nick and Rustina Mullins (center, in yellow) and family along with Carey Henson and family (center right) participated in the rally outside U.S. EPA headquarters.
Residents present EPA officials with toxic water The Week in Washington included a rally in front of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency headquarters coordinated by Appalachia Rising. Participants called for an end to mountaintop removal and protection of the region’s water. Residents of Central Appalachian states brought more than 100 gallons of brown, black and red water that had been collected in Virginia, West Virginia and Kentucky. Many streams are lifeless. Some communities’ well water is so toxic that it can only be used for flushing toilets. Even municipal water systems have manganese, aluminum and other contaminants. “Sometimes the water runs orange, and you wouldn’t want to touch it, much less drink it. But what’s more dangerous is when toxic water from your tap looks
and smells totally fine. People sometimes drink it for years without knowing that they’re drinking toxic water and that’s what’s making them sick,” said Josh May of Magoffin County, a member of STAY (Stay Together Appalachian Youth) and KFTC. “We are bringing this water to the EPA as a way of holding them accountable. We’re having them sign for it so that they can formally acknowledge the problems that we’re living with every day in the mountains.” Nearly two dozen studies have documented higher levels of cancer, heart and respiratory disease, and a variety of other illnesses associated with living near a mountaintop removal operation. “There is no longer the luxury of time – we need the EPA to act now because people are sick and dying now,” said
Dustin White, a community organizer with Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition in West Virginia. Rally participants circled the courtyard carrying the gallon jugs of contaminated water, singing, and chanting. They demanded that EPA officials come out of their offices to accept delivery of the water. With the support of the crowd, a small group risked arrest by blocking the building entrance, repeatedly calling Nancy Stoner (EPA acting administrator for water) and refusing to leave until she appeared in person. She did. In front of the crowd, Stoner and other EPA officials read Appalachia Rising’s petition and accepted the water delivery.
KFTC and allies found it necessary to go to court again in May to protect Kentucky’s water from state officials collaborating with coal companies. Appalachian Voices, Waterkeeper Alliance, Kentucky Riverkeeper, KFTC and several Kentucky residents (petitioners) asked the Franklin Circuit Court to vacate an Agreed Order signed in April by Energy and Environment Cabinet Secretary Len Peters that claims to resolve all recent water quality violations by Frasure Creek Mining. The agreement lets Frasure Creek “off
the hook for thousands of water quality violations,” explained Eric Chance, a water quality specialist with Appalachian Voices. The settlement “is inadequate to address Frasure Creek’s pollution problems and prevent such harms from occurring in the future,” added Chance. The legal filing called the administration’s action “arbitrary and capricious, an abuse of discretion, contrary to law, and not supported by substantial evidence.” The petitioners also pointed out that they were granted full party status in the
administrative enforcement case but were shut out of the negotiations between the cabinet and Frasure Creek that resulted in the final Agreed Order. “We as citizens have the right to intervene and participate in this process. Yet the cabinet continues to ignore the law and shield another coal company from any meaningful enforcement,” explained Ted Withrow, a member of KFTC’s Litigation Team. “This Agreed Order was done behind closed doors, shutting citizens out, even though we had full rights to be part of the process.”
Carey Henson contributed to this story.
KFTC, allies file suit to protect water from coal pollution
balancing the scales, June 10, 2013
Canary Project Update
Years later, permit given for mining in Sloans Valley
Residents of the Sloans Valley area of Pulaski County once again find themselves fighting to protect their homes and community after the Beshear administration granted a strip mine permit for a controversial mining operation. Starting in 2007, residents and supporters worked to stop the proposed expansion of a mountaintop removal operation. Besides their homes and water, they pointed out that the proposed mine also threatens the world-class Sloans Valley Cave System (listed in the Atlas of Great Caves of the World) and the pristine Neeley’s Creek (which drains into Lake Cumberland), and would disturb the location of Harriette Simpson Arnow’s literary masterpieces about Kentucky, its people, culture and natural beauty.
In 2008, the Friends of Sloans Valley filed a petition to have land in Pulaski and McCreary counties designated unsuitable for all types of mining. KFTC was granted intervener status. State officials did not grant the petition but did place restrictions on the 900 acres where the new mining would take place. Those restrictions included no variance from the approximate original contour requirement and restoration of the land to a higher or better use, in this case hardwood forest. Although the law already requires both of these, state officials routinely allow waivers at the request of coal companies. Additional restrictions include betterthan-usual sediment controls, a limited blasting schedule, and no blasting on
weekends and federal holidays so as to not disturb the “higher number of visitors engaging in recreational activities” in the nearby cave system during these times. However, an appeals court ruled last year in a different case that blanket restrictions could not be placed on an area without also designating that area unsuitable for mining. This past March, state officials granted Jamieson’s Construction a mining permit. “After years of nothing happening the permit was issued on March 21, 2013. Gratefully I heard from KFTC about the permit being issued because it still had not
appeared on the state site,” said Joanne Golden Hill, who would have to deal with mining behind her house. “Friends of Sloans Valley has filed for an administrative hearing. We await the answer with great anticipation, fearing the destruction of the caves and waterways of our county.” The company still needs to get a water discharge permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that will be reviewed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Residents hope that this will give them another avenue for protecting their water and community.
Quick action in mid-May helped stop several anti-clean water amendments in the U.S. Senate. Many of the worst amendments – including one by Kentucky Senator Rand Paul that would have gutted the Clean Water Act and two by West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin that would have crippled EPA’s efforts to protect the public from the worst effects of mountaintop removal – were not voted on. Negotiations went down to the final minutes as Senate leaders discussed which of dozens of amendments to the Water Resources Development Act of 2013 (S. 601) would receive a vote. KFTC members were among the many concerned citizens around the nation who called in to Senate leadership asking that they stop the bad amendments.
The Senate did vote on an amendment similar to the one pushed by Sen. Paul (sponsored by Sen. John Barrasso of Wyoming), designed to limit Clean Water Act protections to 59 percent of U.S. streams and millions of acres of wetlands. That amendment needed 60 votes to pass but got only 52, with Paul and Sen. Mitch McConnell voting in favor. These issues are likely to resurface in the future, as anti-EPA senators and representatives look for other bills to add on these amendments. The KFTC Executive Committee, along with a couple dozen other groups, signed on to a letter to all U.S. senators expressing strong opposition to these amendments whenever and however they are brought up again.
Anti-EPA, anti-clean water effort fails in U.S. Senate
Are you curious about the quality of the water in your community? Then attend a workshop on Saturday, June 22 and learn how to do basic tests of local streams, learn how to get others in your community involved, and learn about other water quality issues we face in the mountains. This workshop is free and open to the public. People of all skill and interest levels are encouraged to attend. Registration is encouraged but not required. For more information or to register, please visit: www.kftc.org/csph Hands-on Community Water Testing Workshop Saturday, June 22 10:30 am – 4:30 p.m.
KEA P-burg Office 3018 S. Lake Drive Prestonsburg, KY
balancing the scales, June 10, 2013
Voting Rights Update
Democracy voices: Sean O’Donley, Hardin County Cracken and Caldwell counties in western Kentucky and has lived in Kentucky all his life. “I like it here and can’t say I’ve ever had a reason to leave,” he said. He also follows politics. “Democrats think Democrats are smartest and Republicans think Republicans are the smartest,” O’Donley said, laughing. “But I think we’ve all got to work together. “Overall, I consider myself a Republican.” At 28 years old, O’Donley just recently
got the right to vote for the first time in his life. “I thought it was a constitutional right to vote. It just doesn’t seem right to take that away from former felons,” O’Donley said. “I got into drugs and did plenty of dumb things as a kid like stealing and busting up mailboxes. And I spent some time in prison for it. I let a lot of people down earlier in my life. I’m very mindful of that, and since then I’ve worked hard and I think it’s been a long time since I’ve let anyone down.” Last year, O’Donley spent time researching on the internet to find a way to get his right to vote back. There he found the story of Jason Smith, a KFTC member and former felon, and realized that they both lived in Elizabethtown and had some friends in common. “So I found him on Facebook and sent a message and set up a meeting,” O’Donley said. “Jason helped me fill out the paperwork and request my right to vote back in October.” Earlier this year, O’Donley also came to Frankfort with KFTC to talk to legislators and encourage them to pass HB 70 to restore voting rights to most former felons after they’ve served their time like he has. “It was an empowering experience. I never knew that citizens could just go to Frankfort and talk to their legislators like that. And I feel like we made some real progress with a couple of them.” Just a few weeks ago, about six months after he applied, O’Donley got his right to vote back. “And I filled out my voter
registration card the next day,” he said. But a quarter of a million Kentuckians still don’t have the right to vote, and O’Donley wants to make it so that a lot more of them get that right. “Everyone lives in the country, so everyone should have a say.” In an attempt to share more of the stories from former felons across the commonwealth, KFTC is presenting a series of short interviews every few weeks on our blog and in balancing the scales. If you’re a former felon interested in being interviewed about the right to vote, or if you know someone who might be, please contact your local KFTC organizer.
Long-time KFTC member Gray Zeitz has been printing hand-crafted books and broadsides at Larkspur Press for 40 years. Located in Monterey, Owen County, Larkspur Press has been a literary mainPoster designed by: Graham Allen of Annagram Studio and Design - www.annagramstudioanddesign.com
Sean O’Donley lives in Hardin County and works nearby in Louisville as a network maintenance technician for a cable company. He also works on racing car engines with his dad (at O’Donley Racing) and likes to hunt, fish, and kayak when there’s time. “Though mostly I work,” he said, smiling. “I stay pretty busy between my job and my family.” O’Donley grew up between Mc-
stay in the bluegrass region publishing books and collections from numerous
Over the years, Gray has donated his time, talent and materials to support KFTC. He has created broadsides and worked with numerous artists to create hand-made and illustrated note cards.
Congratulations and Thanks for 40 great years!
balancing the scales, June 10, 2013
Voting Rights Update
Voting rights gets national attention on PBS’ Constitution USA
KFTC members continue to advance their campaign to restore voting rights to former felons who have served their debt to society – through field work, citizen lobbying and other actions. Here are a few highlights from recent weeks:
● PBS nationally aired an episode
of Constitution USA on May 21 that included a long piece about voting rights in Kentucky and an interview with KFTC leader Tayna Fogle. Members have held strategy meetings throughout the state focused on reaching key Republican sena-
● ● ●
tors and building their support for House Bill 70. Please contact your local KFTC organizer if you’d like to be part of the next round of meetings with legislators. Passing HB 70 is still KFTC’s primary goal in restoring voting rights to former felons. KFTC made presentations at the Chrysalis House and Bluegrass Reentry Council. KFTC continued interviews with former felons across the state to help capture and tell their stories. Members engaged in the secretary of state’s town hall meetings on election procedures (see separate article for details).
● KFTC’s Voter Empowerment Strat-
In national news, the Republican Governor of Virginia Robert McDonnell took a big step to restore voting rights to former felons by executive pardon. The measure excludes Virginians convicted of more serious crimes, including some
drug related crimes (about 40 percent of the total). It’s also not a blanket measure, so former felons still need to be identified individually to get their rights back, but it’s a big step forward. This most recent move leaves Kentucky arguably farther behind than any other U.S. state in having a navigable re-enfranchisement process. KFTC members will participate in a statewide Voting Rights Coalition meeting on Wednesday, June 19 from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the UFCW Union Hall (330 Pinecroft Drive in Louisville). KFTC members and representatives from other organizations who have been working on this issue are welcome to attend.
Women Voters and the AARP, it wouldn’t be possible to have smooth representative elections in Kentucky. KFTC members and allies also brought up the issue of restoration of voting rights for former felons who have served their debt to society. Grimes expressed her support in no uncertain terms, and the overwhelming majority of people attending the meetings have agreed. News reports from Paducah and northern Kentucky events have focused on the restoration of voting rights for former felons issue and its broad support. But KFTC members talked about a variety of other issues at the town meet-
ings, from disability access to the polls to same-day voter registration, long lines and more. “To have a real democracy, we need a lot more people voting than this,” said Virginia Johnson, a northern Kentucky KFTC member who participated in the forum. “With due respect, the system is broken for a lot of Kentuckians. We need longer voting hours and better access and to get more people involved. That’s how you get a real democracy.” There’s one last meeting set for Thursday, June 20 at 5:30 p.m. in Richmond at the Madison County Extension Office, 230 Duncannon Lane.
egy Team engaged in a broader conversation to envision what an authentic participatory democracy would look like and what steps Kentuckians could take to get there. This means looking more seriously and broadly at other laws related to voting access, like same-day voter registration, longer voting hours, campaign finance and more.
Secretary of state gathers input on Kentucky election process
Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes has been conducting a series of town meetings to gather input on election laws and practices. The meetings are focused on a series of questions such as, “What are your thoughts about our current voter registration process?” “18 states offer online voter registration. Should we try to move in that direction?” and “What is your election day experience like?”
KFTC members and allies made it out to meetings in Kenton County, Paducah, Rowan County and Louisville to speak out about these issues, pushing for a more robust representative democracy that makes it easier to access polls and exercise their duty as citizens. At the beginning of the event in northern Kentucky, Grimes recognized KFTC and said that without KFTC and other civic groups like the League of
Recently, Rep. Carl Rollins stepped down from his state House seat, which covers Woodford County, parts of Franklin County, and a small piece of western Fayette County. There will be a special election to fill the vacancy. The election is set for Tuesday, June 25, and polls will be open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. On the ballot are: Lyen Crews (R) James Kay II (D) John-Mark Hack (I)
Central Kentucky KFTC members are engaging in the race by sending surveys to the candidates about key issues, then circulating the candidates’ stances through www.KentuckyElection.org, a mailing to voters and phone calls to members in the district. Members will also be out in Versailles on the day of the election, passing out information, giving rides, holding signs and maybe even running a sound car. If you’d like to get involved, please contact Beth Howard, the Central Kentucky KFTC organizer, at 859-276-0563 or email@example.com. And if you know anyone in the district, please ask them to vote and visit www.KentuckyElection.org before they do. With no regular elections scheduled in Kentucky in 2013, this will be one of the few opportunities to get involved directly in electoral work this year.
56th District special election
Around 200 KFTC members live in the district, plus an additional 200 people who have signed petitions or otherwise been connected to KFTC’s work. This is a significant number, given that voter turnout in the special election is likely to be low, the votes might be close, and KFTC members tend to be very reliable voters.
Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes (standing) has been traveling the state hosting town meetings to gather input on election laws and practices.
balancing the scales, June 10, 2013
Kentucky counties targeted for fracking gas product pipeline
As many as 18 Kentucky counties (see map) are cades ago – an unspoiled area the fiscal court that he assumes Natural gas liquids are usually extracted from within the possible path of a new pipeline that would where the well water then was the company will have and need the earth where there is natural gas produccarry natural gas liquids from the fracking fields of safe to drink. But now it is in the to use eminent domain to comtion. These hydrocarbon compounds include Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio to the export terheart of areas where fracking is plete its route. methane, ethane, propane and butane. They minals of the Gulf Coast. used to extract the natural gas “They’ll have to [use eminent exist in a liquid state at underground pressures The 24-inch pipeline would enter Kentucky from and related products that will domain] if they expect to get and become gaseous in normal atmospheric Ohio about 30 miles east of Cincinnati and go in a be piped to the Gulf Coast – as through Kentucky,” said Magconditions. They would be transported as a southwesterly direction through central Kentucky bemuch as 400,000 barrels a day. istrate Jerry Hahn, who added liquid in a pressurized Bluegrass Pipeline to fore connecting with an existing pipeline in Hardins According to Rawlings, his that many of his Nelson Coun“fracination” plants where the individual prodburg in Breckinridge County. former neighbors report that: ty constituents don’t want the ucts are separated. NGL products are used as Company representatives already are acquiring pipeline on their land or in their Large energy companies raw materials by the petrochemical industry. the rights to survey land and possibly buying easecommunity. have forced their way across the ments in several counties, including Nelson, Franklin Geoghegan said some landhills and down into the valleys. Huge trucks roar along owners were offered a $50 gift card to allow the compaand Woodford, where landowners are beginning to orthe country lanes; strange drilling rigs rise out of the ny to survey their land. Allowing a survey may sound ganize to get elected officials to address their concerns. land; and large sums of money change hands. Some Nelson Countians took their concerns to harmless, he said, and is no guarantee of the final route The companies drive shafts deep into the earth, of the pipeline, but is likely something landowners will their local fiscal court on June 4. pumping in high-pressure chemicals that blast the subter- later regret. Mary Ann Chamberlain, whose family has been ranean rock layers apart. Then equipment at the surface Geoghegan was approached by the company and farming in Nelson County for eight generations, said gathers the stew of natural gas and contaminants that turned them away. He already has two crude oil pipeshe has concerns about the potential for contamination rises from deep underground. In the process, the earth lines across his farm – an existing one from the 1930s of water and soil and the danger of explosions. Others and water and air have become dangerously polluted. were concerned about the way landowners have been and a second put in a few years ago using the same One of the unknowns is whether the company will easement. treated by company representatives. have and use eminent domain to cross land where it’s However, it’s not known how many landowners “This affects a lot more people than those whose unable to buy a right-of-way. That depends on whether have signed leases. Some Nelson County residents at land it runs across,” Chamberlain said. the pipeline is only for private use or is classified as a the fiscal court meeting knew of neighbors who had ac Sister Claire McGowan said that what’s at stake is common carrier, accessible for use by other companies. cepted the company’s offer. In other pipeline cases, a “more than an individual property rights issue. It’s the As a common carrier, it would have eminent domain condition of the lease has been to not talk about it. wellbeing of the whole community.” powers granted to it by federal and state legislative The pipeline would be built by a partnership beAt this point, many think that the company’s stratbodies, according to Tom FitzGerald with the Kentucky egy is to secure as many leases as possible in as direct a tween the Oklahoma-based Williams company and Resources Council. Houston-based Boardroute as possible within the wide swath shown on the Nelson County Com- map. They would connect their leases by using emiwalk Pipeline Partners. monwealth’s Attorney nent domain. Both are large companies Terry Geoghegan told with thousands of miles of existing pipeline across the United States, including Kentucky. Chamberlain has researched the safety records, and what she has found about Williams leaves her frightened. “This is a very hazardous substance,” she reported to the fiscal court, Nelson County landowner Mary Ann Chamberlain adadding that the company dressed the Nelson Fiscal Court about her concerns “has a real history of viowith the proposed Bluegrass Pipeline. The company is lations,” including exploexpected to attend the court’s June 18 meeting. sions, ruptures and leaks at their various operations. “This should be a red flag for us.” Anderson County KFTC member Roger Rawlings also reminded readers of his Lexington Herald-Leader op-ed that the impacts of the pipeline would go far beyond those whose land is crossed: We won’t know for some time whether the pipeline will actually come our way. Maybe it will bypass our KFTC and allies are gathering information about the property, as maybe it will bypass yours. But this only pipeline and its specific route. If you live in one of these means that other Kentuckians will be targeted instead counties and have been contacted by the company, – our neighbors and yours, either nearby neighbors or please let KFTC know. Contact Economic Justice Organeighbors a bit farther away. The consequences will be nizer Jessica Hays Lucas (859-276-0563 or jessicabreen@ much the same for every Kentuckian. kftc.org) or your county’s KFTC organizer. He also described what has happened in northern Pennsylvania, where he and his wife lived several deMap of the possible Bluegrass Pipeline route through Kentucky. Map provided by Williams.
balancing the scales, June 10, 2013
Economic Justice Updates
Linda Stettenbenz: Telling her story as a way to help build new economic power across Kentucky As KFTC members continue to keep up the momentum around tax reform, one thing is clear: we’re going to need many Kentuckians telling their stories of how economic injustice has impacted them, their families and their communities. In letters, meetings with legislators and across kitchen tables, we need to spotlight the impacts of the legislature’s failure to act. Below is one example of a KFTC member telling her story of economic injustice and of the empowerment that comes from speaking out. It might help others to think about telling their own stories about why they want to be a part of building new economic power. My name is Linda Stettenbenz, and I’ve been an active member of KFTC since 2008, serving on the Economic Justice Committee. I’ve been active in social justice movements for a while, but KFTC has allowed me to grow in new ways and I think that has strengthened our work. For example, at the KFTC annual meeting a few years ago, I was asked to tell my personal story as it relates to economic justice. And it turned out to be challenging for me, because I realized that to tell people you are struggling financially – especially when you’re looking to expand your social network and find a good job – makes you vulnerable. It’s maybe eased a little now with the 99% movement, but there is still a narrative that if you
are poor it’s because you deserve to be; to get help you must be subjected to moral scrutiny. And that gets internalized by us sensitive people. I was concerned that people would think I was whining, or that I just wasn’t trying hard enough, or wasn’t resourceful enough. Before that annual meeting when I was asked to tell my story, I had lobbied, written an op-ed, and given committee testimony in Frankfort, but always found a way to mostly hedge my personal experiences out of all that. But telling my story helped me realize that I don’t have to disconnect that part of myself who has struggled through being underemployed and living on a $45-a-week food budget to be taken seriously. And after I spoke at the annual meeting, several other members realized there was now a safe space for them to talk about their struggles, too – one had been evicted, another had been shamed by his parents for going on food stamps while in college, another lost her financial footing while caring for her dying husband. By sharing our stories, we realized we were connected in ways we didn’t know about, and our voices got stronger and developed a little more candor. So this strengthened our work by giving us more confidence when talking about economic justice issues to know that our knowledge and our stories are important. The candor and confidence we’re building is so important. It can sort of stop people in their tracks and get them to take notice of somebody they may have dismissed because they’ve been programmed by our societal narratives that our knowledge and stories don’t matter. The governor created a Blue Ribbon Commission on Tax Reform last year to come up with proposals for the legislature to restructure our tax system. The language they used to define their goals included fairness, adequacy, and elasticity – which mirrored the
principles our KFTC Economic Justice Committee had put forth. There were public hearings around the state, and KFTC members attended and testified, weaving our stories in. Then there were several meetings in Frankfort where the commission met to review the ideas put forth in the hearings and, with the help of CPAs and lawyers, narrow them into a set of proposals for the legislature. Becki Winchel from the Economic Justice Committee and I were there at the first meeting in Frankfort, which wasn’t scheduled at a time or place when a lot of ordinary citizens could attend, and we noticed right away there was a lot of discussion about how best to address the concerns of wealthy people, and there was almost none about how to help people who are struggling. It was exasperating. We knew they had heard from KFTC members and allies at every one of the meetings around the state, and those concerns were not being reflected in their deliberations. We were waiting for them to discuss how to eliminate the waiting list for Meals on Wheels or how to make sure the state doesn’t run out of money so that college students who qualify for state financial aid can get it and have real opportunities to succeed – and they could not stop talking about how closing a loophole to raise the tax rate on large boats to the same rate as smaller boats might prevent people from buying larger boats – as if that’s even a big part of our economy here. It was like they didn’t know or forgot we were in the room. So during their break, Becki and I saw an opportunity to talk with one of the commissioners who seemed particularly unconcerned with our concerns. Becki took the direct approach and flat out told him she didn’t appreciate it. I told him who I was and why I personally saw an urgent need for fair and adequate revenue, and that I knew I wasn’t the only one who was struggling, (continued on next page)
Two alternatives to the federal sequester program cuts Cancel the Sequester and The Balancing Act Since March, the federal “sequester” has been cutting the staffing and services of a wide and important list of federal programs. Many of the impacts on Kentuckians were tracked in the March issue of balancing the scales. If Congress does not act, next year and every year through 2021, there will be more cuts. In late May, the House Appropriations Committee, chaired by Rep. Hal Rogers of Kentucky’s 5th district, released budgets for the next two years based on the amounts mandated by the sequester – in part. Rogers and his committee made
significant cuts in a variety programs that help create a safety net – rental vouchers for low-income families, unemployment benefits for the long-term unemployed, education, and health care – to the tune of $20 billion more than even the sequester called for. But their funding levels for military and defense were over the allowable amount by about $15 billion. People across the U.S. are calling on Congress to cancel the sequester because of the immediate and ripple impacts of the budget cuts.
Two elements of reform are the Cancel the Sequester Act and The Balancing Act budget. Kentucky’s Rep. John Yarmuth has echoed the call for canceling the sequester, citing letters from his constituents as his inspiration. On the House floor, he cited a letter from a steelworker who is married to a Head Start teacher who’d been laid off because of the sequester. The Balancing Act is a budget proposal put forth by the House Progressive Caucus. It would make important investments in job creation and training. The Economic Policy Institute estimates that the policies would yield an
additional 1.2 million jobs in the next year, relative to current policy. It would also raise $948 billion in progressive revenue, mostly by reintroducing the policies in the Caucus’s 2013 budget, Budget for All. A recent Business Insider poll found that more than half of respondents supported The Balancing Act over sequestration, including 47 percent of Republicans. Read more about The Balancing Act in the Economic Policy Institute report: “The Progressive Caucus’s sensible approach to sequestration: Prioritizing jobs and growth” at EPI.org.
balancing the scales, June 10, 2013
Believing in ourselves and Appalachia’s Bright Future
we can build. They give us the ability to develop alternatives and make choices about our own future. A just transition and a bright future in eastern Kentucky is, in fact, possible – even in the midst of rapid economic changes in the coal industry and the broader economy. I do not have to tell anyone that coal jobs by Suzanne Tallichet are declining. Ready or not, transition is happening all around us, and it’s happening fast. My story began over 20 years ago when Given those realities, the big questions we I became a faculty member at Morehead face now include: What kind of future do State University teaching Appalachian we want for ourselves and our commusociology. Over the years my students nities? What steps can we take together from the region have told me that once to make sure that economic change isn’t they graduated, they would love to return just something that happens to us? What to their home communities, but there were can we do together to begin to shape a no jobs. Also during this time I researched just transition for ourselves in eastern Kenwomen and men coal miners working undertucky? ground. Many told me without hesitation that A just transition in eastern Kentucky is an they were working underground so that their children intentional effort to improve our quality of life, crewouldn’t have to. Instead, they wanted their children ate jobs, strengthen communities, and protect our to have choices and the opportunity to stay and raise health and environment. A just transition means that their children in the same communities where they many people must be involved, and many perspecgrew up. tives taken into account. It means taking steps to build For my students and for many of us, it is difficult skills, wealth and opportunities that stay here in the to envision more than a coal-based economy. But I bemountains. It means creating the conditions for our lieve we have the opportunity, today, to build a diverse communities to thrive, not just survive. and healthy economy here in the mountains. Eastern These ideas take on more meaning when we can Kentucky has many assets. We have a rich culture, an actually see and experience concrete examples. We abundance of natural resources, More Appalachia’s Bright can learn about what Elkhorn City is and innovative, serious-minded, doing to capitalize on its history and Future resources at hardworking people. These things gorgeous location. We can meet friends give us a foundation upon which www.kftc.org/abf/connect from Pennsylvania who have restored KFTC’s Appalachia’s Bright Future conference in April featured many inspirational and insightful speakers. We’ll publish some of those presentations in issues of balancing the scales throughout the year, starting with KFTC Chairperson Sue Tallichet’s opening remarks.
Linda Stettenbenz: continued
(continued from previous page) and referenced the testimony at the hearings. He told us we were wrong – that he wasn’t only concerned about the wealthy – and that if we paid attention, we might be pleased with some of the upcoming further discussion. We were sitting right across from him where he could see us, and he made sure he was the first person to put a sales tax on food on the list of proposals to be discarded. When he did that, I gave him an appreciative nod. He still would pipe up occasionally about his concerns for the wealthy, but it was much more toned down. And when he did, I would shake my head no. I later learned that he’s a fairly powerful, wealthy man who had been chairman of a Federal Reserve Bank and who flies in from his residence in Florida on a private jet and requests a police escort. And that he had a reputation for bluster. He didn’t recognize KFTC at first (“Kentucky what?”) but he seemed to pay attention to the fact that we were watching him. The next couple of meetings I attended I continued to “bird-dog” the commissioners and tweeted about their discussions. Most of the folks on the commission are wealthy and therefore seemed to place the most value on what their wealthy friends want, then on what “experts” and societal narratives say, and hardly any on what matters to struggling people.
streams long polluted with acid mine drainage which are now being treated and used to generate e l e c t r i c i t y. We can hear about efforts to expand broadband access. We can listen to others describe exciting efforts to rebuild our local food economy. All of these stories, and so many others, are important pieces of a larger mosaic. No one strategy or project holds the answer. But taken together, they point a way forward. They show us what’s possible. And they give us every reason to work as hard as we possibly can to grow these ideas to scale to provide a foundation for our new economy in eastern Kentucky. To make meaningful progress, we need to build new power, and I mean that in every sense of the word. Imagine if eastern Kentuckians generated more of our own electricity from small-scale renewable energy systems – including micro-hydro, solar, biomass and wind. We’d create good jobs and keep money circulating locally. New power also means new economic power. Imagine if we built strong worker cooperatives, farmers’ markets, artist guilds and other locally owned businesses. Or if we didn’t just think about retraining workers, but also supported them to start their own businesses. And new power certainly means building new political power. Just imagine what could be possible if we consistently elected leaders who shared our vision and are dedicated to building healthy and strong communities. Wouldn’t that make a difference? All of us have got to find the courage to believe in ourselves and Appalachia’s bright future.
Philosopher Michel Foucault writes about the intersection of knowledge and power: “The problem is not changing people’s consciousness – or what’s in their heads – but the political, economic, institutional regime of the production of truth.” He says it isn’t even so much about actualizing human agency to confront a larger institution. Rather, he says, there are multiple and indefinite institutions of power. So the way that we build new power is by shifting that internal and external societal narrative of truth: the one that says people who are struggling and their stories have no value, and the one that says we have to pick a side to be on in order to participate politically. Our members have one-on-one conversations with people to dig our truths of what we really value out of the framework of traditional politicking. KFTC understands that power doesn’t just exist in the state capitol or in meetings of activists, but it’s all over the place, including our personal relationships. We help people who are struggling to build power by finding common ground based on what we value – even if it doesn’t contribute to the GDP, because after all we’re more than just identical units of production; and when you really think about it, what is the economy except what we value and how we value it – and to stand up and Members at a recent Central Kentucky Chapter meeting say we have value, what we value is important, and worked on messages to add to KFTC’s Kentucky Deserves Better Tumblr site. Sarah Martin shred her story. we are experts on the economy.
balancing the scales, June 10, 2013
Steering Committee practices New Power conversations The KFTC Steering Committee held a leadership retreat May 17 and 18 in Louisville. Friday evening was spent enjoying the festivities of Louisville Loves Mountains. The committee enjoyed the opportunity to have some time to catch up with one another while supporting a major event hosted by a KFTC chapter. Members started Saturday’s meeting by hearing from a panel of allies working for social justice in Louisville. Megan Naseman, a member of KFTC’s Executive Committee, describes this panel in more detail in her article on page 3. The panel was followed by a brainstorm of the work KFTC has done over the last 4-5 months that has helped build New Power – new energy, economic and political power. It was a diverse and vibrant list of events and activities. A highlight was the Appalachia’s Bright Future conference held in Harlan in April. The committee spent some time debriefing the conference and discussing potential next steps to advance the transition work. The rest of Saturday’s meeting includ-
ed a training on New Power communications. Committee members discussed the importance of good messages and good communications in advancing KFTC’s work. They practiced telling “the story of self,” which allows people to speak personally about why an issue matters to them. The story of self can help us connect our issues and concerns to a broader audience. The committee discussed the importance of having a good framework when developing messages, and members practiced using a framework that includes the following elements: 1) the story of self, 2) vision and values, 3) opportunity, 4) problem, 5) solution, and 6) action. They noted the importance of connecting to others through the story of self as well as how powerful it can be to talk about a vision. Committee members practiced responding to a reporter’s question using this framework approach. The next Steering Committee meeting is scheduled for Saturday, July 13 in Berea.
“This is What Democracy Looks Like” is the theme of this year’s KFTC statewide annual meeting in Carrollton. Scheduled for August 16-18, the weekend is packed full of fun workshops, fellowship, music, food and more. It’s also an opportunity for all KFTC members to weigh in on the direction of the organization at the annual business meeting. “I am looking forward to this event because it is always like a family reunion,” said Lexington KFTC member Tanya Torp, who is helping to plan the event. “The camaraderie and energy
level are always high. After working so hard on issues for a year, it’s like a collective sigh and a little boost to keep going. It’s also an amazing event to invite friends or family members who do not have exposure to KFTC. They will leave with knowledge of the issues we care about and the effect they can personally have on making a true difference in Kentucky.” This year the annual meeting will be held at General Butler State Park in Carrollton (located off Interstate 71, halfway between Louisville and northern Kentucky). The state park location
Steering Committee members enjoy conversation during a break at their May meeting in Louisville.
Growth of annual membership meeting leads to new location will offer participants access to a wide variety of activities throughout the weekend. Swimming, paddle boats, mini-golf, softball, yoga, hiking, square dancing, live music and more will be available for all to enjoy. KFTC member Mary Love, also involved in planning this year’s annual meeting, said, “This year’s family reunion (annual meeting) will be a little new and still exciting. It will include workshops for newer members as well as some aimed at more experienced members. And remember – we always have a great time, sharing stories, meet-
Free bus transportation from: Union Church in Berea (departing at 3:15 p.m.), Unitarian Universalist Church of Bowling Green (departing at 2:45 p.m. Central) and the Unitarian Universalist Church of Lexington (departing at 4:15 p.m.). Buses will leave Louisville for return trips at 8 p.m. EDT. Visit www.kentuckyipl.org/ for more information.
ing new friends and old, and learning more about KFTC’s work. The silent auction is a don’t miss. Great fun will be had by all!” Workshops related to all forms of democracy will be offered on Saturday and Sunday, with current topics like campaign finance reform, immigration reform, media consolidation and ownership, and voter suppression on the agenda. But there will also be workshops on increasing and building worker cooperatives, the importance of citizen lobbying, and how to build democracy in our communities year-round. Whichever workshop participants choose, they can expect to find engaging, participatory workshops led by local and statewide experts on the topic. Reserve your spot today by registering online at kftc.org/annual-meeting. All prices listed are suggested donation amounts. Please pay what you can, but don’t let the cost prohibit you and your family from attending. All prices to attend the weekend are less than the actual cost because KFTC wants to keep the cost of the weekend affordable. If you are not able to attend, but would like to make a donation to support the cost of the weekend for other participants, visit www.kftc.org/donate to make a special gift.
balancing the scales, June 10, 2013
Registration Form or register online at www.kftc.org/annual-meeting
Name(s) Name(s) Address Phone Email Please specify your needs below.
Lodging __ Friday night (8/16) __ Saturday night (8/17) Lodging Preference (please note we’ll try to accommodate your preference ): __ Guest room in the lodge __ Cabin (Notes: Cabins are located slightly farther away from the conference center where the annual meting will be taking place and would require a short drive between the two. Cabins have either one, two, or three bedrooms, with each cabin having one bathroom and one full-size bed in each bedroom.) Camping is an option this year! General Butler has a nice campground with a couple bath houses. However, campers will need to make their own campsite reservations. __Yes, I’ll be making my own campsite reservations. (ReserveAmerica.com) Saturday Meals __ Breakfast Sunday Meals __ Breakfast
__ Evening Banquet
Do you have any special dietary needs? Please specify Do you need a room equipped for physical disabilities? Please specify 2-4 people will share each room. Do you have a preferred roommate(s)? Please specify Will you need child care? __ Yes __ No # of children ___ Ages__ Please let us know if you are willing to help out by: Is this your first time attending KFTC’s Annual Meeting? Bringing items (including crafts) for a silent auction Participating in the cultural sharing and talent show on Saturday Night Transportation: I can drive myself I can offer a ride I need a ride Suggested Donation: The cost for the weekend is $100 per adult ($60 if camping), which includes two nights lodging, four meals, meeting costs and child care, if needed. (Costs can be adjusted if you attend only part of the meeting. If $100 is beyond your budget, please contribute what you can). Early Bird Registration $80 ($40 if camping) before July 26! Don’t let cost keep you from attending! I have enclosed $______ for my registration. I cannot attend but am sending $______ so that someone else can. Please make check or money order payable to KFTC and mail with this registration form to: P.O. Box 1450, London, Kentucky 40743
Friday, August 16th
Registration Opens 4 p.m.
Opening and Keynote Address
Evening Square Dance & Fun
Saturday, August 17 9 am Opening th
9:45 am Strengthening Democracy: Join us for a morning focused on exploring the national landscape around grassroots democracy and what groups in other states are doing to build more civic engagement. 12:30 p.m.
2 p.m. Workshops • Campaign Finance Reform — A look at how campaigns are funded, the impact it makes on our democracy, and an exploration of the current proposals for reforming campaign finance in Kentucky and the U.S. • Economic Democracy — Learn more about models for work cooperatives, what are they and how can we make them work here. • KFTC 101 — New to KFTC or just want to learn about who we are and how we work, then join us at this great introduction session to get a friendly overview about grassroots organizing and the issues we work on. • Media and Democracy — Democracy can only thrive in an environment where citizens have access to truthful and thorough information. How we get our news is a key piece of a strong democracy. Learn about media ownership and the latest attempts to consolidate media ownership and what we can do about it. •Democracy for all: Immigration Rights — Join us at this workshop to learn more about the issue of immigration in America and in Kentucky, learn more about comprehensive immigration reform, and how we can support immigrant rights in our own communities. • Voting as a key to Democracy — Join us at this workshop to go in-depth about the issue of voting in America. What is going on nationally around trying to suppress the vote? What could we do to engage new voters in the process? What are the laws around voter registration and how can I work locally to help more people to vote. • Youth Workshop — Young people attending the annual meeting are invited to attend their own workshop that will be on a topic related to social and environmental justice. 7 p.m.
Dinner & Awards Ceremony
Evening Entertainment & Cultural Sharing
Sunday, August 18 9 am Sunday Morning Workshops • Art and Activism — Join us at this workshop to learn how to use art and culture to bring about social change. • Fundraising 101 — Raising money is a key to building power within in KFTC. And it isn’t as hard as many think. Learn simple, easy to plan fundraising ideas that you can bring back to your local chapter or community. • Regional Movement Building — There is an excitement configuration of groups and individuals organizing in the region for increased civic engagement and social change. Learn a bit more about the work and how you might get involved. • Everyday Democracy — We all know that democracy is more than just on election day. What can we do everyday to make sure that we are helping to build an authentic, participatory democracy in our state. • Citizen Lobbying — Citizens talking to their elected officials is a powerful way to increase democracy and civic participation in Kentucky. Learn tools and tricks for lobbying – from city council members to state lawmakers and everywhere in between! • Voter Empowerment — Elections aren’t the only time that democracy is important, but they are certainly a really important piece of the puzzle. Learn how to identify and activate more local residents as new power voters in your community. th
10:45 am Business Meeting The business meeting is the heart of KFTC’s own democratic structure.
balancing the scales, June 10, 2013
Officer nominations, platform review start annual process KFTC’s statewide Annual Membership Meeting is going to be August 16 -18 this year at the General Butler State Park in Carrollton. This is a change from the usual October annual meeting. The annual meeting is a time for all KFTC members to gather to celebrate great work over the past year, learn new skills and hold the yearly business meeting. During the business portion of the meeting, members will adopt a platform, elect statewide officers and accept new or renewing chapters for the coming year. In preparation for the statewide annual meeting, all KFTC chapters across the state hold their chapter annual meetings two months prior, in June. At these meetings, chapter members provide input to the KFTC platform, set local priorities and goals and decide if they wish to continue as a chapter and, if so, select officers.
“The chapter annual meeting is a great time to celebrate another great year of working for justice,” said Kathryn Dunn, a Madison County KFTC member. Chapters select a Steering Committee representative and alternate and chapter coordinators for membership, fundraising and publicity. They also agree to raise at least $500 for KFTC. In return for their commitment to KFTC, chapters get a seat on the Steering Committee and receive staff time and
organizational resources to assist in their work. Current officers are: Steve Boyce, immediate past chairperson; Sue Tallichet, chairperson; Dana Beasley Brown, vicechairperson; Rick Handshoe, secretarytreasurer; and Megan Naseman, at-large member. All are currently serving their first term in their respective positions and are eligible to be nominated for a second term in that, or another, position.
If you don’t live in a chapter area, you have the opportunity to nominate yourself or someone to one of KFTC’s statewide committees or statewide offices or offer a proposed change to KFTC’s platform. Read the descriptions of the committees and offices (next page) and the platform (at kftc.org/about-us/our-platform). Then, fill out the form and return it to: KFTC Leadership Development Committee, 140 Mini Mall Drive, Berea, KY 40403.
Are you a member of a KFTC chapter? If so, please consider accepting a position as a chapter officer for the coming year, starting this fall. Chapter officers are: Steering Committee rep Steering Committee alternate Fundraising coordinator Membership coordinator Publicity coordinator All are important roles for which you will receive training and support. The responsibilities can be shared with others. If interested, please contact your chapter organizer for more information.
KFTC Annual Meeting August 16-18, 2013 General Butler State Park in Carrollton This year the KFTC annual meeting will focus on ways to build a healthier democracy in Kentucky. Workshop topics will include campaign finance reform, economic democracy, immigration rights, and voting as a key to democracy, among other topics.
balancing the scales, June 10, 2013
Nominations for officers and committees
KFTC is accepting nominations for statewide officers and members of its governance and issue committees (descriptions below). All nominations will be considered by the Leadership Development Committee. Officers are elected at the annual meeting in August. New committee assignments will be finalized in September by the Steering Committee. Personnel Committee — Members may participate in the hiring process and review annual staff performance evaluations. This committee provides guidance and makes recommendations about personnel policies and issues. Meets as needed. Finance Committee — Reviews and recommends budget and quarterly financial statements. Reviews and recommends financial policies and practices. Meets periodically in person and by conference call.
Leadership Development Committee — Develops, evaluates and helps implement KFTC’s leadership programs. Nominates and reviews nominations of people to serve on statewide committees and offices. Meets several times a year as needed. Land Reform Committee — Coordinates KFTC’s statewide campaigns on issues connected to natural resources. Meets 3-6 times a year, as needed.
Economic Justice Committee — Develops and coordinates campaigns on economic issues, including tax justice. Meets 3-6 times a year as needed, often by conference call. New Energy and Transition (NET) Committee: Develops strategy and priorities for three related KFTC campaigns: Rural Electric Co-op Reform, Sustainable Energy, and Appalachian Transition.
Voter Empowerment Committee: Develops and evaluates KFTC’s strategies for registering, informing and motivating voters, including our restoration of voting rights campaign.
Litigation Committee: Makes recommendations about KFTC’s litigation strategies; monitors progress of legal cases in which KFTC is a participant; and participates in communication among allies, lawyers and KFTC decision-making bodies. Meets as needed with frequent conference calls.
CALL FOR NOMINATIONS
for KFTC Statewide Officers and Committee Members
It’s time again to start thinking about how you would like to be involved in KFTC’s leadership structure, or who else you would like to see involved. Every year, all chapters and the statewide organization select leaders for the coming organizational year. Chapters are selecting their officers at annual chapter meetings this month. Statewide officers are chosen at the annual membership meeting, this year in August. The Steering Committee appoints members of other governance and issue committees at its leadership retreat in September based on recommendations from the Leadership Development Committee. KFTC members whose dues are current may nominate themselves or any other member to be considered as a KFTC officer or committee member, as listed below. For each statewide officer nomination, please list the name of the nominee, the office to which that person is being nominated and a brief statement saying why the nominee is qualified. Use a separate sheet of paper if more space is needed. Current officers have each served one year in their current position and are eligible for renomination to the same or another statewide officer position. The Leadership Development Committee will recommend a slate of candidates for the four statewide officer positions to the Steering Committee for its approval. The candidates will be listed in the July issue of balancing the scales and presented at the August Annual Business Meeting for election. Nominations also will be accepted from the floor at the August meeting. Officers serve one-year terms and are limited to two successive terms. Take a moment to nominate yourself or any other member for KFTC’s Executive Committee and other statewide committees. This form must be returned by the last day of June. Person making the nomination: Phone: EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE NOMINATIONS Nominees for the Executive Committee will be considered by the Leadership Development Committee, which will recommend a slate of candidates to the Steering Committee. Candidates will be described in the July issue of balancing the scales. A final vote will be held at the August Annual Meeting. You may nominate as many people as you like for any of the following positions: 1) Chairperson 2) Vice-Chairperson 3) Secretary-Treasurer 4) At-large Representative Nominee: Office nominated for: Why? Nominee: Office nominated for: Why? KENTUCKY COALITION BOARD NOMINATIONS Kentucky Coalition is the tax-exempt sister organization of KFTC. There are three elected positions on the KC board. Nominees for the Kentucky Coalition board will be considered and voted on using the process described above for the Executive Committee. You may nominate as many people as you like for the Kentucky Coalition board. Nominee: Why? Nominee: Why? COMMITTEE MEMBERSHIP NOMINATIONS KFTC’s statewide committees include: Personnel; Finance; Leadership Development; Land Reform; Economic Justice; New Energy and Transition; and Voter Empowerment. You may nominate yourself or anyone else in the organization for these roles. Nominees for these positions will be reviewed by the Leadership Development Committee and appointed by the new Steering Committee in September. Nominee: Committee nominated for:______ Nominee: Committee nominated for:______ Nominations must be submitted in writing no later than June 30 to: KFTC Leadership Development Committee, 140 Mini Mall Dr, Berea, KY 40403 or emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
balancing the scales, June 10, 2013
Calendar of Events
June 18 Northern Kentucky chapter meeting, 7 p.m. at Roebling Books and Coffee at 306 Greenup St. Contact Joe@kftc.org or call 859-380-6103. June 18 Perry County chapter meeting and potluck, 6 p.m. Bring a dish to share if you like, or just enjoy some food and fellowship with us! HCTC Vo-Tech Campus Owens Building 115B. Contact Jessie@kftc.org or call 606-263-4982. June 20 Central Kentucky chapter meeting, 7 p.m. at the Episcopal Diocese Mission House (corner of Martin Luther King Blvd. and 4th Street) in Lexington. Contact BethHoward@kftc.org or call 859-276-0563. June 20 Rowan County chapter meeting, 6:30 p.m. at St. Alban’s Episcopal Church on 5th Street in Morehead. June 20 Energy For Change: A march and rally for clean energy & healthy communities. Visit www.kentuckyipl.org for more information. June 22 Hands-on Community Water Testing Workshop: Are you curious about the quality of the water in your community? Then attend a workshop on Saturday June 22 and learn how to do basic tests of local streams, learn how to get others in your community involved, and learn about other water quality issues we face in the mountains. We will spend a portion of the day out in streams, practicing what we’ve learned and testing local water sources. Testing equipment and a bagged lunch will be provided. People of all skill and interest levels are encouraged to attend. The training will be held at KEA’s Prestonsburg office (3018 South Lake Drive) This event is free and open to the public. Registration is encouraged but not required. www.kftc. org/csph for more information. June 22
Jefferson County Birthday Bash, 12 p.m. - 11 p.m., Tim Faulkner Gallery, 943 Franklin St. Contact Alicia@kftc.org or 502-589-3188 for more information.
Wilderness Trace Down Home Barn Bash. See ad to left.
Community Slow Flow Yoga: A Practice Exploring Justice for the Individual and the Community. This is a series of 4 classes: June 23 • July 21 • August 25 • September 22. See ad on page 10. Email BethHoward@kftc.org for more information.
Madison County chapter meeting, 6:30 p.m. at Berea College Appalachian Center, 205 N. Main St., Berea. Contact BethBissmeyer@kftc.org or call 859-314-2044.
Southern Kentucky (SOKY) chapter planning meeting, 6:30 p.m. at The Foundry, 531 West 11th St. Contact Denney@ kftc.org or call 270-779-6483.
June 26 Shelby County chapter meeting, 6 p.m. at The Stratton Center, 215 W Washington Street. Contact Carissa@kftc. org or call 859-893-1147