Steelworker James Campbell has been elected interim chair of the Kentucky Democratic Party’s new Labor Council.
“I hope to get more members involved and help move labor forward,” said Campbell, Louisville-based USW Local 1693 recording secretary. “The Democrats are the ones that support labor.”
Interim Vice Chair Jeni Ward agrees. “I hope to help increase labor participation in the Democratic party because the Democrats are actively working for labor in the state,” said Ward, a Lexington public school teacher and organizer with Kentucky 120 United – American Federation of Teachers.
After the council agrees on a mission statement, it will function under a regularly elected chair and vice chair. Meanwhile, Campbell will serve as a voting member of the KDP’s State Central Executive Committee and Ward as an alternate member.
The KDP created the Labor Council as part of the state party’s effort to expand its reach by building a statewide coalition of traditionally Democratic-leaning constituencies, said Kenny Fogle, KDP deputy political director.
The KDP has a Black Caucus, plus LGBTQ, Military Veterans, and Rural councils, said Fogle, a member of Louisville IBEW Local 369, at whose hall Campbell and Ward were chosen on April 15th during the council’s first in-person meeting.
The KDP is also planning to add a Senior Council composed of retired Democratic officials such as county chairs and state lawmakers – the latter group including retired State Rep. Larry Clark of Louisville. A veteran lawmaker, he is a longtime member of Local 369, where he served as business manager and financial secretary. Clark attended the council meeting.
“When you think of the Democratic Party, you think of labor,” Fogle said. “When you think of labor, you think of the Democratic party.”
Also speaking at the meeting was Sierra Enlow, the Kentucky State AFL-CIO-endorsed candidate for agriculture commissioner in the May 17 Democratic primary.
Fogle characterized the meeting as “a great start in discussing [the council’s] mission and building on a plan for a two way communication between KDP and Labor leaders in Kentucky.” He added, “We plan to have several more meetings of this group over the next several months, both in person and virtual.”
More information about the Labor Council is available from Fogle, whose email address is Kennyfogle@kydemocrats.org