A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Colmon Elridge: Instead of helping Kentuckians, Republicans have turned focus to political nonsense

If you haven’t been paying attention to what Kentucky Republicans have been doing in Frankfort so far this session, you’d probably think everything was just chugging along with no major changes because who in their right mind would make a lot of changes during a global pandemic?

Turns out, Kentucky Republicans will. They have been emboldened because a global pandemic means they don’t have to face the very people whose lives they are making worse.

The truth is simple: Kentucky Republicans in Frankfort are hurt they lost the 2019 Gubernatorial race to Andy Beshear and despondent over the loss of the presidency. They have been at the forefront of bringing destructive and dangerous politics to our Commonwealth, far-right conspiracies to decision making, and have attempted to halt governing from responding to the needs of our people. This includes getting relief to families and small businesses struggling in the wake of the worst pandemic of our lifetime. It is pathetic and it must be called out and stamped out.

In the 19 legislative days, Republicans have “worked” so far, they have made things more difficult for Kentucky businesses to operate during the pandemic and have stalled $220 million in state relief for those same businesses. They have offered zero pieces of legislation aimed at Kentucky winning the future and have focused more than half a dozen pieces of legislation on taking away powers from Governor Beshear. If we are to ever question why many of the districts these Republicans represent are some of the poorest in the nation, it is because those they send to Frankfort wouldn’t know governing if they looked it up in the dictionary, let alone what it means to lead.

They have worked to strip every single power they think they can from a governor who has saved lives during a pandemic, all because they are scared to death of someone who can actually govern and what it means for their future prospects of winning the governor’s office.

They have trolled in the fever swamps of election fraud conspiracies, setting up unnecessary commissions because they lost the presidency. They have changed pension rules. They have given power to officeholders on unrelated topics just because they are Republican and the current governor is not.

They want judges to run under political party titles, but not the mayor of Louisville. Because they think they can win judges’ races if they are political, but can’t win the mayor’s race. It doesn’t make sense. Or maybe, sadly, it does.

And they wasted too much time flirting with people who have threatened the governor repeatedly under the baseless guise of “impeachment.”

It’s a familiar saying in my party to claim Republicans can’t govern when given power. But after watching Frankfort Republicans this session, it’s clear this is more than a saying, and the people of Kentucky are paying the consequences.

It is time for Kentucky Republicans to come to their senses — if they are able — with the remaining days in this session. We need a budget and we need legislation that will help us now during this pandemic AND after it’s over.

It’s beyond time to acknowledge that Kentucky is actually a leader right now in the fight against COVID-19. Gov. Beshear’s actions have undoubtedly saved lives and kept Kentuckians safe from this devastating virus. He stepped up to help restaurants and bars when the federal government stalled. He’s once again stepping up to help small businesses and nonprofits with $220 million in aid, a real proposal that Republicans are holding hostage while spending tax dollars to give a platform and microphone to lunatics and conspiracy theorists, and to impeach a Governor because they are devoid of a plan, a platform, and seemingly more and more, devoid of a moral compass.

Kentucky Democrats don’t stand with or work with domestic terrorists and loony liars. We stand with our Governor, with our educators, small business owners, faith leaders, parents, grandparents, and so many others who believe that together, we can beat COVID, support entrepreneurship, and build a Kentucky built to win the future, not live as relics of the past.

Sadly Frankfort Republicans can’t say the same.

Colmon Elridge is chair of the Kentucky Democratic Party

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One Comment

  1. Richard says:

    Kentucky business cannot function because the governor and the Biden administration are slow walking the distribution of vaccines. We can continue to subsidize businesses or we can get the vaccine in people’s arms so that we have herd immunity, and businesses can once again thrive as they were before the pandemic. We have had an approved vaccine since 12/11/2020 (fda.gov), yet one fifth of all deaths (110,000) have occurred since Biden took office (Washington Free Beacon). Biden insisted that Trump was doing a lousy job of addressing Covid, but Biden now has 3 vaccines, and people are still dying.

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