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Jenkins: Dems are ’READY TO FIGHT for what Kentuckians believe in. Period.‘

Berry Craig
Berry Craig
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Joni Jenkins might be in the market for an old “Choose the Path of Most Persistence” button from Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s presidential campaign.

The slogan matches the tone of a fund-raising email Jenkins, the state House minority leader, just dispatched. The cyber-missive promises that members of Team Blue, though outnumbered 3-1 by Team Red, are “pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps, rolling up our sleeves, and looking Republicans dead in the eye.”

She vows, We’re ready to fight. We know you are. We’ve heard you for years telling us to get in there and FIGHT. So let’s go. Can you chip in $25, $50, $100, or whatever you can so that we’re armed for this fight?

Titled “What we’re fighting for,” the email seems as much about boosting flagging ardor at the grassroots as making money for the party.

“It's good to see the House Democratic Caucus is ready to fight,” said Daniel Hurt, a party activist from Grand Rivers. “It’s past time for the handwringing to stop.”

Rep. Joni Jenkins
Rep. Joni Jenkins

Likewise, Jenkins, a 14-term Louisville lawmaker, says “it’s past time to take the fight TO Republicans and their lies and misinformation. It stops now. We’ve all had more than enough.”

Jenkins, who also chairs the caucus campaign committee, tosses down the gauntlet: “From raising the minimum wage to protecting our constitutional healthcare choices, Democrats are running – not walking – into 2022 READY TO FIGHT FOR what Kentuckians believe in. Period.”

Her bring-it-on email runs counter to the national punditocracy, which proclaims that Democrats everywhere are despondent, depressed, disillusioned and dreading next year’s election cycle. She evidently didn’t get the message.

“We’re heading into 2022, on our toes and READY TO FIGHT over issues that matter to Kentuckians,” Jenkins warns.

“We know Kentuckians have had it with Republicans ramrodding ‘sewage bills’ down their throats.

“We know that Kentuckians have had it with Republicans trying to deny us access to healthcare.

“We know that Kentuckians have had it with Republicans doing whatever the Chamber of Commerce tells them; especially at the expense of working families.  It stops now.”

Jenkins also knows the Democrats will again face veto-proof MAGA supermajorities — she dubbed them “super-duper” majorities — in both chambers.

No matter, Jenkins pledges that nobody on her side “is going to be flat footed.”

Hurt, a member of the Democratic State Central Executive Committee, said the email represents strong medicine for reviving a seemingly moribund party by “reminding Democrats what it means to be a Democrat and make them proud.”

Hurt admits that a Democratic comeback in Kentucky won’t happen soon. While Gov. Andy Beshear and Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman are Democrats, all the state’s other constitutional officers are Republicans. So are 75 of 100 House members and 30 of 38 senators.

The picture is just as bleak for Kentucky Democrats in Washington. Rep. John Yarmuth of Louisville is the sole Bluegrass State Democrat on Capitol Hill.

But Hurt also said that rebuilding the party starts with “exciting the base that, with the exception of the 2019 governor’s election, has been pretty demoralized on election day.”

Added Hurt: “In a state where the mentality has become ‘I’m a Democrat – shhh!’ it appears that Jenkins and House leadership want to give Democrats a platform which they will be proud to stand on in the open.”

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Cross-posted from the KY AFL-CIO web site

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Berry Craig

Berry Craig is a professor emeritus of history at West KY Community College, and an author of seven books and co-author of two more. (Read the rest on the Contributors page.)

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