The KY Chamber’s idea of diversity

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The Kentucky Chamber of Commerce is getting ready to host their annual Legislative Preview Conference. This event is where members of the chamber can hear what’s coming in the next General Assembly, by speaking with members of the General Assembly.

Here are the names and pictures of the legislators that are on the panels. See if you notice anything about whom the Chamber invited to speak. (Light red for Republicans, light blue for Democrats)

Sen. Ralph
Alvarado
Sen. Brandon
Smith
Sen. Whitney
Westerfield
Sen. Ernie
Harris
Sen. Paul
Hornback
Sen. Max
Wise
Sen. Julie
Raque Adams
Rep. David
Osborne
Rep. Jim
Gooch
Rep. Jason
Nemes
Rep. Adam
Koenig
Rep. Philip
Pratt
Rep. Sal
Santoro
Rep. James
Tipton
Rep. David
Meade
Rep. Kim
Moser
Sen. Morgan
McGarvey
Rep. John
Sims

 

What’s that? You say it looks like a gathering of the Republican White Guys club, with a few women and Dems thrown into the mix? Well, just to be clear, let’s put the numbers out there:

  • White Republican men – 13
  • White Republican women – 2
  • White Democratic men – 2
  • White Democratic women – None
  • Republican men of color – 1 (Ralph Alvarado)
  • Republican women of color – None
  • Democratic men of color – None
  • Democratic women of color – None

You may be saying “So? They invited the people they thought had the power to help them. What’s the big deal?”

Here’s why it matters: The Kentucky Chamber of Commerce is one of the more powerful lobbying organizations in our state. They wield some influence in Frankfort, and push for policies they have formed in consultation with legislators.

So when you see a makeup like this at a legislative conference, it shows the rest of us something critically important: These are the people whom they have chosen to talk with … and the people they have chosen to ignore.

So, when the next General Assembly gets underway, don’t be surprised if the Chamber pushes policies that benefit white, male Republicans. Because by and large, those are the only voices they are hearing.

UPDATE 2018-12-05: We learned that Ralph Alvarado is Latino, and in fact is the highest-ranking Latino in Kentucky state government. We updated the story to reflect this.

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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. He has been President, Vice-President, and Treasurer of the Metro Democratic Club, and has served on the Democratic Party Executive Committee in Louisville. He began blogging in 2004, and currently operates two personal blogs (BruceMaples.com and brucewriter.com). He founded Forward Kentucky in the wake of the state elections in 2015, and expanded it in the summer of 2016. He has lived in Louisville since 1992 with his wife and two sons.

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