10/3 Update for Subscribers and Members Skip to content

10/3 Update for Subscribers and Members

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Notes from Bruce

Hello! Hope your week has gone well, and that you are enjoying the opening of fall. We have all the fall tchotchkes out in the house, and lots pumpkins and mums outside.

One big news item this week is that we have released a new resource called "How to Be a Candidate in Kentucky." It is intended for first-time candidates, but some of the checklists and templates would be useful for any candidate.

Also, we've added a new section to the site called Resources. This is where we will put things that would be useful over a period of time, such as the candidate manual. With this new section, I'm adding a section to the newsletter to call out any new resources.

And finally, we have started posting more subscriber/member-only stories, so I've split the stories list below into those that are limited access and those that are public. Since they are a perk to you, be sure to check out the limited access stories to make sure you are getting all the benefits you signed up for.

All for now – on to the newsletter!


This Week's Stories

— Access limited to Subscribers and Members —

Explainer: The “educational scholarships” lawsuit
Robert Kahne explains what the “educational scholarships” lawsuit is all about.
Explainer: The moving pieces in DC drama this week
This is a craaaazzy week in Washington. There are multiple moving pieces, multiple crises, and multiple story lines to keep track of. So, here to help you make sense of it all, is a new Explainer from Forward Kentucky.
Some pre-filed bills to know about
A look at the 2022 bills that have been pre-filed, with some initial analysis as to which one are good and which ones are not so good.

— Public access —

Stop and take a moment to remember these
Even as we try to just get through this pandemic, there are times when we should take time to reflect and to grieve. This is one of those times.
KY Democratic Party announces new executive director
The KDP has a new executive director, just days after the current ED, Mary Nishimuta, announced she was returning to the private sector. Sebastian Kitchen, currently working in the communications office of Governor Beshear, will be moving into the executive director role at KDP.
A rural KY hospital responds to Covid-19: ‘I have never seen anything like it’
At the height of the pandemic in 2020, St. Claire had a maximum of 25 patients, and saw around two Covid-related deaths a week. But now, ss of September 17, St. Claire had more than 160 Covid positive patients, and was experiencing two or three deaths per day.
”I won’t abandon you, like our current representative has.” – Teacher files to face Guthrie
Many people entering politics start with a smaller, more local office, and work their way “up the chain” in terms of the level of the office and the scope of the work. But sometimes, the issues are so compelling that you just can’t wait.
As hospital numbers keep falling, Senate again calls for special session on staffing shortages; Beshear says more work needed
State Senate President Robert Stivers sent Gov. Andy Beshear a letter today, asking him to call a special session to address health-care staffing shortages that continue even as the pandemic slowly wanes. Beshear said more work needs to be done before a session, which only he can call.
Changes at the KY Democratic Party (Update 2x)
As we head into the fall of 2021, people are already looking ahead to the 2022 midterms and the 2023 state officers election, including the governor’s race. But as Kentucky Democrats start gearing up for those races, they will be doing so without two familiar names at KDP headquarters.
Fact Check: Anonymous “Spartacus” COVID Letter Riddled with Misinformation, Baseless Claims about Global Conspiracy
The so-called “Spartacus” letter contains numerous baseless claims buried within over 40 pages of analysis and citations, and which appears to have been carefully crafted to mask the dubious nature of the letter’s origin and the unfounded nature of many of the author’s allegations.

Private school tax credit program is unconstitutional
Instead of giving handouts to select private schools, shouldn’t we be restoring funding for public schools?

21 million Americans say Biden is ‘illegitimate’ and Trump should be restored by violence, survey finds
47 million adults say that the 2020 election was stolen. 21 million also agree that “use of force is justified to restore Donald J. Trump to the presidency.” At least 7 million of these own a gun, and at least 3 million have served in the U.S. military and so have lethal skills.
Evidence shows that, yes, masks prevent COVID-19 – and surgical masks are the way to go
Do masks work? Recently, I was part of the largest randomized controlled trial to date testing the effectiveness of mask-wearing. What we found provides gold-standard evidence that confirms previous research: Wearing masks, particularly surgical masks, prevents COVID-19.
Bill Would Allow Domestic-Violence Survivors to Claim Unemployment
Kentucky lawmakers and state advocates want to expand the state’s unemployment system to include survivors of domestic violence.
Lawmakers grill Unity Aluminum exec for lack of progress
Officials with a company that received $15 million from the state to help build a $1.7 billion aluminum mill in northeast Kentucky, which would have employed hundreds of people, were grilled by state lawmakers on Friday over a lack of progress in constructing the facility.

KY makes a big blue move
Not the UK football team – this is about school systems, mask mandates, and whether or not this means people are tired of GOP shenanigans and are ready to elect a Dem to the Senate.
Grassroots environmentalism in the Bluegrass — a progress report on the campaign to bring renewable energy to Kentucky
Kentucky and Louisville are quietly going green in a trend you might call trickle-up environmentalism. The latest data point on that path came September 18 when two dozen people Zoomed together to start crafting plans that would dramatically ramp up solar energy in Louisville.
Moving KY Forward w/ Josie Raymond
In this episode of Moving Kentucky Forward, we’re joined by state Rep. Josie Raymond. She has always been a passionate advocate for early childhood education, and after seeing no movement in Frankfort to fund universal pre-K, she has started an organization to get it to happen in Louisville.

This week's most-read story

KY makes a big blue move

"Kentucky Makes a Big Blue Move!" says the headline on a new fund-raising email from The People’s Campaign, which is backing Charles Booker in next year's U.S. Senate race.

The cyber missive isn't a celebration of the University of Kentucky Wildcat football team's 4-0 season start. Booker, from Louisville, earned undergrad and law degrees from the University of Louisville.

“The Republican-dominated state legislature was called in for a special legislative session by Governor Andy Beshear (D), in order to constructively address the COVID crisis,” the email says. “Shamefully, the Republicans passed a law banning a statewide mask mandate in Kentucky schools.  But then something encouraging happened!

"96% of all local Kentucky school boards, including many in the reddest parts of the state, responded by enacting school mask mandates at the local level!

"This is a clear indication that Kentucky Republicans have gone too far, even for voters in the reddest parts of the state!"

Booker, a Democrat, is a former state representative from his hometown. He is the leading contender for his party's Senate nomination in next May's primary, though the filing deadline isn't until January.

Paul, seeking a third term, is expected to face little or no opposition in the GOP primary.

Outlawing a statewide mask mandate gives "Booker...something to build on,” adds the email.

Kentucky is one of the reddest Republican Red states. Every county went for Donald Trump both times he ran, save Jefferson (Louisville) and Fayette (Lexington).

But school boards are elected, too. Boards that are requiring teachers and students to mask reflect national polls as COVID surges anew nationwide.

Nearly 60 percent of Americans favor mask mandates for pupils and their teachers in K-12 schools, says an August poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. (Similar numbers say pupils and teachers should have to get COVID shots, too.)

To be sure, raucous and threatening anti-mask protests at board meetings and elsewhere have grabbed headlines and made the TV news. But a whopping majority of boards in Kentucky, and across the country, have approved mandates with little or no public outcry.

Meanwhile, far-right-wing politicians like Paul have made the GOP the party of COVID denialism and potentially deadly disinformation.

Oh, he insists that mask and vaccination mandates abridge "personal freedom." Paul is a fan of the late Ayn Rand, a controversial atheist writer and philosopher. While religions teach that selflessness and self-sacrifice are fundamental moral principles, Rand claimed selfishness — the ultimate "personal freedom" — is a virtue.

But, “your freedom ends at my nose” is an old expression in law that seems particularly apt for an airborne virus that has triggered the deadliest global pandemic in a century.

"Rand Paul and Mitch McConnell’s Kentucky Republicans recklessly risked the health and well-being of our children,  and we have to make sure that Kentucky voters remember that, at the polls!" the email concludes.

Recent headlines are starker reminders:

Lexington Herald-Leader: "‘The doctor cried with us.’ Mother of 1st Fayette student to die of COVID tells story"

"Fayette school district loses first student, 15, to COVID-19. ‘Wrap our students in love,’"

"'True heart of a teacher.’ KY school district mourns death of teacher with COVID-19."

Louisville Courier-Journal: "'It never stops': In a US COVID-19 hot spot, a viral surge tests one Appalachian clinic."

Kentucky Health News: "Covid-19 is killing 40 Kentuckians a day; 453 are on ventilators; state’s seven-day infection rate still ranks third in the nation."

The still-climbing death toll trumps headlines: So far, COVID has claimed the lives of more than 8,500 Kentuckians, according to The New York Times. That’s a little more than the population of Harrodsburg.

The People’s Campaign website says the organization "is a grassroots political action committee" which aims "to change politics and policy in ways that positively impact people."

I can't think of a more recklessly negative way to impact Kentuckians than to ignore science and reject mask and vaccination mandates whose sole purpose is to keep us out of the hospital and the cemetery. But that's the way of Rand Paul and the Republicans who rule the roost in the General Assembly.

I can't think of a more recklessly negative way to impact Kentuckians than to ignore science and reject mask and vaccination mandates whose sole purpose is to keep us out of the hospital and the cemetery. But that's the way of Rand Paul and the Republicans who rule the roost in the General Assembly.

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Bruce Maples

Bruce Maples has been involved in politics and activism since 2004, when he became active in the Kerry Kentucky movement. (Read the rest of his bio on the Bruce Maples Bio page in the bottom nav bar.)

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The Daily Wrap for Monday, 5/20

The Daily Wrap for Monday, 5/20

A very light news day, with most of the focus on the arrest of the golfer at the PGA last week. Of note, though, is Heather Cox Richardson’s summary of President Biden’s commencement speech at Morehouse.

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