When you’re young, you crave nothing more than to be an adult – to have the freedom to make your own choices. Forces beyond your control start to change that childhood dream of being an astronaut or a dancer. You then have to start asking yourself “Will I be able to afford my rent?” “Can I start a family or business here?”
Truth is, adulting is hard. The questions we ask ourselves start to become: “What are the gun laws here?” “Will I be safe expressing my identity?” “Is my home going to be washed away in a catastrophic weather event?” – all currently at the top of our minds.
This is the reality we face. This is what many of us think about as we start new chapters in our lives. This is what comes to mind when many of us are voting. Every cycle, we are told the upcoming election is the most important of our lifetimes. This time, it’s true.
This November is a very important election in Kentucky. Not only are we electing our next Governor and Lieutenant Governor, but we are also electing an entire slate of constitutional officers. As young people, it's incumbent upon us to elect candidates who understand the challenges we are facing and who understand the policies being debated, voted upon, and enacted will impact us long after they’re gone.
Governor Andy Beshear and Lieutenant Governor Jaqueline Coleman have worked tirelessly to ensure Kentucky is a place for us to call home. They have defended public schools (the same public schools many of us proudly attended) and have created a workforce that allows us to be employed in. They have also stood up for what they believe in – even when they knew their opponents would attack them for it.
Col. Pam Stevenson has dedicated her life to public service and is never afraid to stand up for what she believes in. She goes out of her way to talk with us and hear our concerns. She has also been a passionate advocate for some of our most vulnerable Kentuckians: LGBTQ+ individuals. As Attorney General, she will always fight for the rights of all Kentuckians.
Sierra Enlow has worked in the economic development sector for years. She has secured over $1 billion for Kentucky and has helped create opportunities for our farmers — especially young farmers — to have the ability to take over their family’s operations. As a fifth generation farmer herself, she is ready to hit the ground running on day one as Commissioner of Agriculture.
Former State Rep. Buddy Wheatley has never shied away from running into the fire (literally, as he is a fourth generation firefighter). As Secretary of State, he will allow opportunities for us to be civically engaged in the democratic process by having less obstacles in the way to vote.
Michael Bowman has worked hard to deliver for Kentucky’s families. As State Treasurer, he will lead an office focused on accountability and transparency. He will also help find ways to continue growing our economy and create new opportunities for us to have right here at home.
Kim Reeder, who was named one of the top tax lawyers in 2011, wants to shine a light on the Auditor’s office on how our tax dollars are spent. We want to see our government work in a way that is equitable. Kim understands young people aren’t just Kentucky’s future, we are its present as well.
Each candidate listed in this piece is committed to creating a Kentucky where we can thrive. As we head into the final weeks of this cycle, the ads are going to get nastier and social media is going to get more exhausting to be on. When it comes time to vote though, we need to ask ourselves: “Which candidate will create a Commonwealth where I can succeed?”
A statement from the Kentucky Young Democrats Executive Board