KFTC Blog

Housing Issues At Forefront of Bowling Green Local Elections

Posted by: Nancy Bridges on September 19, 2018

In a recent Daily News article "Census data show local growth, challenges", Warren County Judge-Executive Mike Buchanon said, "It is gratifying to see we are growing. Industry recruitment and workforce development have been a major focus of the local officials in recent years." Mayor Bruce Wilkerson said, “As a community, we have worked together to that goal and we are making progress thanks to the efforts of city, county and state government."

Job growth alone is not enough to benefit our community. Local officials need to be mindful of other aspects related to this growth. As a long-time resident of Bowling Green/Warren County, I am seeing a shortfall in our growth plan. It is difficult if not impossible for the individual workers attracted by the new jobs to find affordable, quality and safe housing.

Apartment and house rents/payments require as much as 50% of their total income which doesn't leave them enough for their basic needs. Financial market recommends housing be no more than 30% of household income. Most available housing is too expensive due to zoning size requirements and a focus on luxury living. Community financial health is assured when individual's spending is balanced over the total economy.

Recently I had the privilege of attending an Affordable Housing presentation offered by a group from Lexington who is addressing this same issue. Valuable information was provided in this forum focusing on solutions for our needs for affordable housing. Noticeably there were very few representatives from our local officials as well as candidates who are running for election to our local government.

Our local officials need to recognize and take action for our need for affordable housing through favorable zoning regulations and incentives to developers to create housing that will help sustain the growth of our community.

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Introducing Grace!

Posted by: Grace McKenzie on September 17, 2018

Hey y’all! I’m Grace Todd McKenzie. Please use she/her pronouns when referring to me. I’ll be working with the Madison County and Wilderness Trace KFTC chapters from late August though late April as I complete my final practicum in my Masters of Science in Social Work. Kentuckians For The Commonwealth was my first choice for this practicum and I am so excited to start digging deeper into the work of KFTC!

Benham & Jackson are first Kentucky cities to pass a local resolution supporting miners and communities

Posted by: KFTC staff on September 15, 2018

The Benham City Council in Harlan County and Jackson City Council in Breathitt County are the first local governments in Kentucky to pass a local resolution calling on members of Congress to pass three bills needed to help sick, disabled, retired and unemployed coal workers and their families and communities. Benham’s city government took the unanimous action at its monthly meeting on September 13. Jackson's city government adopted the resolution one week later on September 20, 2018.

Advocates hope other local governments may soon follow their example. A similar resolution was adopted several weeks ago in Virginia by the City of Big Stone Gap.

Madison County members take action at Andy Barr event

Posted by: Matthew Frederick on September 14, 2018

On August 27, the Berea Chamber of Commerce invited U.S. Rep. Andy Barr to an annual luncheon and legislative discussion. However, this year, local constituents responded to Barr’s presence with questions and concerns. Joining others from the community, KFTC members took the opportunity to demonstrate publicly.

Those present advocated for various issues, causes and pursuits. Some present, such as KFTC member Maggie Park, lifted up health care as a major concern. According to Park, “he doesn’t fight for what Kentucky needs, like health care.”

Northern Kentucky plans Hispanic Heritage Month activities

Posted by: Joe Gallenstein on September 12, 2018

The northern Kentucky KFTC chapter plans to particpate in several upcoming events to help celebrate this year's Hispanic Heritage Month. The Hispanic Heritage Month is from September 15 through October 15, and serves as an excellent opportunity to celebrate Latino heritage and the growing Latinx community in northern Kentucky.

To celebrate this work, the local chapter will be tabling at the Cristo Rey Parish festival in Florence. Cristo Rey is a Catholic parish in Florence, and focuses on the need for the local Latinx community. KFTC members will be on hand to register voters, hear what issues local communities are facing, and look for opportunities to work together with allies.

Voter Registration Deadline is October 9. How can you help?

Posted by: Dave Newton on September 11, 2018

Fresh Fusion 6 - 2018

Today is exactly 4 weeks until the October 9 Kentucky Voter Registration Deadline. What are YOU doing to register voters and make sure people you know are all set to vote?

If you're not registered, or need to update your voter address, get down to your local County Clerk's office or register online - http://www.govoteky.com

If you want to check your voter registration status just to be safe, visit the Voter Information Center - https://vrsws.sos.ky.gov/vic/

Note that students who are away from home going to school have the right to either use a permanent home address or temporary local address as their voting address, but I encourage students to consider registering locally especially if home is far away (Election Day is a school day).

Peace Slam 2018

Note also that 17 year-olds can register to vote now if they will by 18 on or before November 6, 2018.

If you'd like to volunteer to register voters, please contact your local KFTC organizer to volunteer or to suggest an event to register voters.

If you're outside of the area where a chapter is working, you can set up a voter registration drive of your own by reaching out to KFTC for training and materials.  Tom Herrick and Laura Lee Cundiff (pictured below) recently put together a voter registration drive in Versailles, for example. If you'd like to volunteer to set up your own voter registration event, please reach out to Dave Newton, Democracy Organizer at 859-420-8919 or Dave@kftc.org

Voter Registration in Versailles

Another way to get involved is to sign up for our Voter Engagement 101 Volunteer Training Online, with the next one on September 18. You'll learn how to register voters and why this is such a critical moment for voter empowerment work.

KFTC members are taking part in a week of climate action in California

Posted by: Lisa Abbott on September 9, 2018

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Seven members and two staff of KFTC are in San Francisco right now, participating in a week of climate actions called Solidarity to Solutions (Sol2Sol for short), aimed at bringing grassroots voices and solutions to the forefront during a major global climate summit that is being hosted by California Governor Jerry Brown and attended by many corporate and state leaders. The Kentuckians are among 500 grassroots delegates organized by It Takes Roots, a collection of four important networks, including the Climate Justice Alliance, Right To The City, Grassroots Global Justice, and the Indigenous Environmental Network.

The Sol2Sol week has been planned with the following goals: "To serve and be in solidarity with the leadership of communities in the Bay Area, across the state, and around the world; to challenge, expose and stop the massive subsidies being handed to multi-national corporations that are violating and destroying our families, ecosystems, and climate; to move public funds to repair, restore and protect Mother Earth and all her peoples; to end the epidemic of disaster capitalism, and redirect stolen wealth to the service, solidarity, and support of communities who are developing place-based solutions to address the root causes of climate change, poverty, and the crisis of democracy."

On Saturday, the nine KFTC members joined with more than 30,000 others in a large and boisterous march in downtown San Francisco, organized by the People's Climate Movement. 

"I'm honored to be here," said Alexa Hatcher from Bowling Green. "Yesterday was about connecting to one another. Everyone was taking care of each other. We were marching with a single purpose and that's to build solidarity where corporations and government powers have historically worked to keep us apart. We are not fighting against each other for scarce resources anymore. We're coming together against a common enemy that has worked to keep us silent and dependent to build a better future for us all."

Voting Rights work in Louisville over the weekend

Posted by: Dave Newton on September 8, 2018

KFTC's members attended today's Rally for Recovery in Louisville, hosted by PAR (People Advocating Recovery).  It's an annual event organized by people in long term recovery from addiction to alcohol and other drugs, their families, and friends with the goal of building community and reducing the negative perceptions associated with addiction recovery.  It has been PAR's experience that the road to recovery is filled with obstacles that hinder reintegration into society and one of those obstacles is felony disenfranchisement.  Kentucky is one of just a handful of states where if someone is convicted of a felony, even something not serious enough to warrant one day in jail in some cases, they lose the right to vote for the rest of their lives unless given the right to vote back by a governor's pardon.  

That's not right.  We think that all people should be allowed to vote and at the least, former felons ought to be given the right to vote back after they've served their debty to society.  

KFTC members were on hand at today's event to help people who could to register to vote and we circulated petitions to lawmakers to restore voting rights to former felons who have served their debt to society.

In all, we got over 250 petition signatures and several voter registrations, plus we connected with several key ally organizations and former felons who are willing to tell their stories to move this issue forward.

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Watch Anthony Thigpenn's keynote address to KFTC's 2018 Annual Meeting

Posted by: KFTC Staff on August 22, 2018

On August 4, Anthony Thigpenn addressed the hundreds of KFTC members at our 2018 Annual Membership Meeting. Thigpenn is a Los Angeles-based community organizer with more than 30 years of experience. He currently leads California Calls, a powerful alliance of 31 organizations in 12 counties around the state. The primary mission of California Calls is to achieve progressive, long-term tax and fiscal policy reform by engaging underrepresented, low-income voters in state public policy decision-making.

Anthony is widely recognized as a leading expert in grassroots, civic engagement technology and programs. He ran successful field campaigns for Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Congresswoman Karen Bass, State Senator Kevin de León, and former City Councilmember Martin Ludlow, among others.

We are excited to share his speech and question and answer session with you below. 

Happy 37th Anniversary, KFTC!

Posted by: KFTC staff on August 17, 2018

 It was 37 years ago today – August 17, 1981 – that a group of 26 people from 12 counties meeting in Hazard agreed to officially form a new organization: KFTC, then known as the Kentucky Fair Tax Coalition. 

"People, especially in eastern Kentucky, were getting to know each other. All around the region there was a loose network of people who had worked together with each other in various ways over the past 15 years or so. What we didn't have in those days was a structured connection between us. There was a no interlocking of these community-level efforts, until KFTC."  –  Herb E. Smith, Letcher County

According to the book Making History: The First Ten Years of KFTC:

"We just knew that it made sense to work together across county lines because the problems we faced were similar and needed to be addressed on the state or national level," said Gladys Maynard, who was representing the Concerned Citizens of Martin County and became KFTC's first chairperson.

Ohio River pollution control agency wants to abandon its water quality standards

Posted by: Robin Ghee on August 13, 2018

“Protect our water” was the strong and clear message of close to 100 people who attended a July 26 public forum on a proposal to abandon regional water standards for the Ohio River by the multistat

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