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)
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.