Who Are We, and What Are We Working For?

Recently, we have had a number of requests to go into more detail about what we mean by “progressive,” and specifically what sorts of issues we are going to “work on.” This page is an attempt to answer those requests.

What do we mean by “progressive”? I wrote a Backgrounder about that word some time ago, which you can read here. The short answer is that progressives believe that government has a job to do in moving society forward (progress) while at the same time ensuring rights are protected. Progressives believe that it is the responsibility of government to make sure, for example, that corporations play by the rules and don’t cause harm in their pursuit of profit. And, progressives believe that our society works best when we have an economy that works for all, democracy that is available to all, laws that serve to protect all, and an approach to life that honors all.

So, how will Forward Kentucky work with other groups? First of all, we see ourselves as a statewide organization that will both work on issues as we see the need, AND support other progressive organizations in their work. Here are just some of the organizations whose work we will support, as examples:

  • Kentuckians for the Commonwealth
  • The Fairness Campaign
  • Kentucky Center for Economic Progress
  • ACLU

How are we different from those organizations? For one thing, we are not a non-profit; we are an LLC incorporated in the state of Kentucky, and thus we are not limited by some of the (c)3 and (c)4 rules. In addition, we will be addressing the whole range of progressive issues, rather than just certain ones. And finally, we intend on building a strong voice through journalism and media, which will include frequent publishing.

What sort of progressive goals will we have? We will be building out our agenda over the coming month or two, but here is a sample list of some of the issues we will be addressing.

  • Raise the minimum wage to at least $10, and index it to the CPI.
  • Get serious about monitoring our air, water, and soil for toxic chemicals, and punish those companies that pollute.
  • Establish an Earned Income Tax Credit for the state, to put more money directly back into the economy. Economists agree that the Federal EITC is one of the best tax policies we have, so why not do it at the state level.
  • Regulate payday lending in all its forms, including Tax Refund Loans.
  • Overhaul our state tax code, including increasing the progressiveness of the rates, expanding the sales tax to include services, and get rid of most of the tax credits / rebates / forgivenesses / giveaways.
  • Get serious about building physical and digital infrastructure across the state, especially in Eastern Kentucky.
  • Get serious and creative about energy. Why not cover the entire Appliance Park parking lot with a solar farm? Why didn’t we put solar panels on the largest flat roof in the state (the Convention Center) when we were remodeling it? Why not look at wind power on the tops of mountains in Eastern Kentucky?
  • Pass a statewide Fairness Ordinance. Right now, it is still legal to fire people for being gay in most of the state, as well as discriminate in other ways.
  • Stop the drive to privatize our schools to the highest bidder (which is exactly what is going on), and figure out how to jump other states in achievement. Stop believing “we’re Kentucky, so we’re not supposed to have good schools.”

That’s a sample list. There will be more. In fact, we are working with some other progressive groups in the state to come up with a common platform and list of policy objectives. More to come on that.

Hope this helps! If you have comments or questions, feel free to write us at Webmaster -at- ForwardKY -dot- com. Thanks!