Steve Wilkins

How long have you been involved with KFTC, and how did you get involved?

I’ve been a member for about 10 years, but I got actively involved about four years ago when I retired. While I was originally drawn to KFTC’s commitment to stop mountaintop removal, the “Stop Smith” campaign (to prevent a new coal-burning power plant) was just ramping up and that’s where I directed my energies. Now, I’m involved in all KFTC’s efforts that relate to the electric energy sector.

Why did you decide to become a New Power Leader?

As KFTC moves toward its goal of 25,000 members, there needs to be a way that the organization can remain accessible, responsive and personal. The New Power Leader approach creates intimate clusters where the relationship is still person-to-person.

How did you decide whom to include in your New Power cluster?

I chose friends. Also, I live in a small cul-de-sac community, so it made sense to include neighbors who were acquaintances.

What are some things you’ve done with your cluster?

I actually wish I had done more than I have. We had a block party cookout. I’ve also communicated with many of my cluster on an individual basis.

What are your plans or aspirations for your cluster members?

I’d like to have more “community conversations.” Ideally, some of my cluster would go on to become a New Power Leader for their own clusters.

What are some of the outcomes you’ve seen?

We’ve done letter writing to legislators, and my cluster members have also passed on their desires and concerns, which I am able to relay to others at KFTC.

What’s your vision for your community and Kentucky?

My vision is the realization of what we call our state ... a common-wealth. Not a wealth of the wealthy, nor the well-connected, nor this part of Kentucky at the expense of this other part. Healthy, sustainable communities where all industrial and extractive activities balance profits with the welfare of the communities in which they operate. A common-wealth with a tax base that is adequate and gained in a fair and balanced way.

What do you think would be the impact of having 1,000 New Power Leaders in Kentucky?

Well, if each NPL had a cluster of 10-15 households, KFTC would have lobbying potential powerful enough to counterbalance those whose dollars buy them an inside track to legislative decision-making.