Even though I am a committed progressive — and in today’s political climate, that means also being a committed Democrat — I am willing to admit that occasionally the Republican in the race is the better choice.
But not this year.
In fact, the disparity between the two slates of candidates is so great that any reasonable person, no matter their party affiliation, would vote the straight Democratic ticket. Every race is, to use the technical term, a “no-brainer.”
Let me elaborate.
Governor and Lieutenant Governor
On the Dem side, you have an experienced, compassionate, slightly-left-of-center incumbent who has had one of the most trying first terms of any governor in the country, and has led his state through all of it — pandemic, tornadoes, floods — with grace and effectiveness. At his side is a lieutenant governor who is an accomplished educator and a strong leader, completely capable of stepping into the role if anything were to happen to him.
In contrast, on the Repub side you have an ambitious, empty-suit of a politician who seems to be 37 going on 21, whose biggest claim to the office is that he is endorsed by the worst, most dangerous president this country has ever had. And instead of campaigning on his own abilities and goals, Daniel Cameron constantly uses far-right talking points to attack the incumbent, and apparently has nightmares at night that feature that most scary word: “woke.”
He is joined by a lieutenant governor candidate, Robby Mills, who is most well known for carrying water for Matt Bevin’s pension destruction bill, and for believing that trans youth are the greatest threat to the commonwealth.
It’s not even close: Andy Beshear and Jacqueline Coleman should be re-elected in convincing fashion. They deserve your vote and your support.
In a sane world, a woman who has served as a JAG in the Air Force for 27 years, reaching the rank of colonel, and then earned her law degree and founded her own law firm, would be a shoo-in for AG. Add to that the fact that she has taught at both the University of Louisville Brandeis School and the Air Force JAG School, is an ordained minister, and has already served in the Kentucky House, and our state would be fortunate indeed to have Colonel Pam Stevenson as its attorney general.
And her opponent? He has been a US Attorney in the Western District, which seems to be his main claim to the job. But beyond that, Russell Coleman has run a campaign featuring two supposed advantages: his work for Donald Trump, and his “law and order” bona fides where he focuses on punishment, punishment, and more punishment. His campaign calls him “the most qualified person to ever run for Attorney General.” Apparently, he hasn’t met Colonel Pam.
Pam Stevenson is the clear choice for AG.
Kim Reeder has one of the most interesting and impressive biographies of anyone I’ve ever interviewed. She came from a family where her mother was the first to graduate from high school. Kim proceeded to get an undergraduate degree from Yale, do graduate work at Duke, and get a law degree at the University of North Carolina. She spent 20 years doing tax law, and was named one of the top ten tax lawyers in the country. After caring for her mother in her home county of Rowan, she decided to stay there and teach.
Her background in tax law means that she knows how to dig into financial reports and spreadsheets, and how to find things in those documents that “just don’t look right.” If elected, she will focus not only on the proper handling of our money, but also whether we are getting our money’s worth. I’d feel pretty good having someone with that background digging into our state’s spending, wouldn’t you?
Reeder’s opponent is Allison Ball. Ball has her law degree, and did some work in bankruptcy law. Beyond that, her only qualification I can find for the job of auditor is that she has an R after her name.
I’ll take the experienced tax lawyer for $500, Alex.
This one is short and sweet. One candidate has years of experience in finance, plus years of experience working in Frankfort. The other has been a prosecutor, and has none of the experience of his opponent.
Michael Bowman is ready to be treasurer, and can hit the ground running. Mark Metcalf should focus on his law work.
This is another race where the Dem woman is so much more qualified than the Repub man that it should be no contest.
Jonathan Shell, the Repub, has a degree in agriculture business, and his main experience for this role is the he is the owner of Shell Farms. And, interestingly, he didn’t show for the recent KET forum for this race.
Sierra Enlow, on the other hand, not only was at the KET forum – she has the perfect resume for this job: a bachelor’s and master’s in agriculture economics, service as the economic development manager of the Louisville Metro Government, and service as the economic development manager of Greater Louisville Inc. She has served on the board of the Kentucky Association for Economic Development (KAED) and as the Kentucky chapter co-director of the New Leaders Council.
Jonathan Shell knows farming. Sierra Enlow knows agriculture and economic development. She is the right choice for Ag Commissioner.
Secretary of State
I’ve saved this one for last because it needs some explanation.
I have, frankly, been mostly gratified by Michael Adams’s work as SOS. Even though he’s a Republican (the party that wants less people to vote), he worked well with Governor Beshear to take care of voting during the pandemic, and has also worked with the Republican-dominated legislature to expand voting access. I never thought I would see early voting in this state – and now we have it.
On the other hand, when I interviewed Buddy Wheatley, the Dem in the race, I was surprised to learn that Adams is still working as a partner in a Republican-focused law firm. Secretary of State is too important a role to be a part-time job for someone. For me, continuing to do that work instead of putting it on the shelf for four years is the wrong choice. For that reason, and also because I believe Wheatley is passionate about expanding voting access and engagement even more, I see Buddy Wheatley as the right choice for this role.
The bottom line of all this is simple: go into the voting booth this fall and color in all the Dem circles. That is the only sensible thing to do.