Economic Justice News

Lifting our voices from Home during the General Assembly

February 3, 2014 at 01:53pm

It’s a long drive from eastern Kentucky to Frankfort; a full day’s work, to say the least. That’s why members of the Letcher County Chapter of KFTC are getting creative to lift their voices around important issues this Legislative Session. 

The chapter is wrapping up a solid week of terrific work around Kentucky’s General Assembly, right here at home. Last Wednesday, several members hosted a Mountain Talk program on local community radio station WMMT 88.7 FM. The program’s theme of Voting Rights in Kentucky followed up on a recent radio news piece covering a lobby day and rally at the State Capitol in Frankfort organized by the Kentucky Voting Rights Coalition. The Mountain Talk featured clips from that rally as well as commentary from former felon Kristi Kendall in Floyd County,WMMT Mtn Talk on HB 70 retired judge Jim Bowling in Bell County, and the father of a former felon/ coal miner, Carl Shoupe in Harlan County.  

Besides the too often told story of firsthand disenfranchisement of themselves or family members, Judge Bowling gave powerful testimony of his experience sitting on the bench, forced to hand down harsh felony convictions for offenses that once were misdemeanors.

3 key principles must guide tax code changes

January 19, 2014
The Courier-Journal

Changes to the tax code can make our state and economy better or worse, depending on the goals and particulars of a proposal.To move Kentucky forward, a tax package must be built on three core principles.

Affordable housing tops central Kentucky KFTC's holiday wish List

December 23, 2013 at 07:20pm
Central Kentucky

This year, affordable housing was at the top of the Central Kentucky KFTC chapter’s holiday wish list. Central Kentucky KFTC members asked Santa Claus to deliver an important message to Lexington Mayor Jim Gray: It is time to prioritize an affordable housing trust fund for Lexington.
On Friday morning, Dec. 20th, Santa delivered a stack of Christmas cards to the mayor’s office urging the mayor to take action on the trust fund in 2014.

The cards were created by Central Kentucky KFTC members, as well as members from the BUILD (Building a United Interfaith Lexington through Direct Action) organization who has been working toward the trust fund for the past five years.Upon delivering the cards, Santa said,  “I believe people shouldn’t have to pay money just to have a good place to live, and they certainly shouldn’t pay more than they can afford. Mayor Gray should take urgent action on making affordable housing a reality for all the residents of Lexington.”

Jefferson County co-hosts Citizen Lobbying 101

December 17, 2013 at 03:18pm

How does a bill become a law in Kentucky? What’s the best way for people to arrange a meeting with their legislators? How can ordinary citizens hold lawmakers accountable?

These questions, and more, were brought to the forefront during Jefferson County's citizen lobbying training on Wednesday, December 11, which took place at the First Unitarian Church in Louisville.

Images that are often associated with the word “lobbyist” are those of corporate lackeys treating policymakers to expensive drinks over a round of golf. It’s a misconception that was quickly broken as community organizers from throughout the state shared their lobbying experiences on both local and state levels.

Eastern Kentucky women lead reproductive health project

December 6, 2013 at 04:53pm

In the summer of 2009 a group of young women in Letcher County sat down with Gabriela Alcalde, then director of the Kentucky Health Justice Network, to talk about reproductive health experiences they had growing up and living in east Kentucky. Conversation ranged from the limited sex education offered in school to lack of information and access to reproductive health options to concerns about confidentiality and privacy when visiting local health care providers.  

From that discussion came the East Kentucky Reproductive Health Project, originally a collaboration between Appalshop’s Community Media Initiative and Appalachian Media Institute and the Kentucky Health Justice Network. EKRHP uses peer-produced media and community outreach to give voice and visibility to the reproductive health experiences, concerns and needs of women, especially young women, in Appalachian Kentucky. Short videos on a wide range of reproductive health topics created by AMI Correspondents (young woman trained through EKRHP) are posted on www.ekrhp.org along with discussion guides, detailed information on our bodies, and an extensive listing of resources regionally and nationally. EKRHP also has an active Facebook page. Like us!

A day many have been waiting for comes January 1st!

December 6, 2013 at 03:50pm
Harlan County
Greg Sturgill lives in Lynch, Ky and is active with the Harlan County KFTC Chapter. He has served as a registered nurse for 23 years and wrote this after reading Cara Stewart's article on Kynect and the Affordable Care Act in a recent edition of Balacing the Scales.

With January first rapidly approaching, I look forward to a battle that has been very near and dear to my heart coming to a satisfactory resolution.  Effective January 1st, under the Affordable Healthcare Act, not only can practically every American receive much-needed healthcare, no longer can they be discriminated against with minimal or non-coverage due to pre-existing health conditions, regardless of whether or not they had previous coverage.  It’s a day many hard working Americans, rich, poor or middle-class have been waiting, in some cases, their whole working lives for!

Rowan County members organize large turnout for Fairness ordinance hearing

November 13, 2013 at 11:24am
Rowan County

Members pack the council meeting room

Members of the Rowan County Chapter of KFTC helped organize the record turn out for the first reading of the proposed Fairness Ordinance at the Morehead City Council meeting on Monday, November 11.  

Morehead State University President Dr. Wayne Andrews, who had been in contact with the Rowan chapter regarding the proposed ordinance, spoke eloquently for its need and thanked the council for its work in this matter.  Individual council members voiced their commitment to Fairness, and thanked members of the community for coordinating such an impressive show of support, before unanimously voting to approve the first reading. 

The ordinance will have its second reading at the council’s December meeting. If the second reading passes and the ordinance becomes law, Morehead will become the sixth city in Kentucky have a Fairness Ordinance on the books.

Getting the word out about the Affordable Care Act

October 29, 2013 at 09:27am
Shelby County

Shelby County KFTC member Leslie McBride wanted to help get the word out to people in her community about signing up for the Affordable Care Act.  After being turned down by several grocery stores management to have an official table in front of the store, Leslie decided to just take large stacks of handouts and a clipboard to the parking lots of those stores.  Below is what she wrote about the experience.

"A couple of weekends ago, I handed out information about the Affordable Care Act to people in parking lots in Shelbyville. Nine out of ten people wanted the information; they were hungry for it, even though it was pouring down rain for the last half hour. I heard powerful stories of people who needed healthcare, whose children needed healthcare, who had been to the library to connect to the kynect link. People of all races, ages and walks of life approached me. I gave out everything I had, and could have given out ten times as much. People need this, and I urge everyone to support this movement." 

Click here for a link to the Kynect fact sheets that you can download and print from home and handout to your neighbors as well!

Cutting food stamps

October 25, 2013
The Courier-Journal

In Kentucky, food stamps helps about 878,000 people get enough to eat. That’s about 20 percent of all Kentucky residents, roughly about the same number of those who live in poverty. But many are likely to get hungrier as cuts take effect.

Jefferson County Chapter discusses local issues

October 22, 2013 at 04:37pm

Jefferson County Chapter recently chose to identify local issues as a way to both improve the county and also reach out to a broader section of the urban population that is not yet connected to KFTC’s statewide work. The process for local issue selection is not obvious. Assembled KFTC members have no shortage of issues, quickly identifying years worth of issues worthy of grassroots attention. There is no shortage of cooperative attitude, but there are many potential approaches to this important decision process. 

Chapter members agreed the first step to selecting the chapter issue was to brainstorm issues to be discussed at the April chapter meeting. KFTC principles for issue selection were presented by Jefferson County organizer Alicia Hurle, and discussion led to additional criteria being added. The group determined a local issue should be one that is winnable with opportunities for action in the short term, even if completely winning would ultimately take focus over a longer time horizon. The group also agreed the ideal local issue would be important to people in areas not currently connected to state wide work. We want an issue that will energize the chapter and get members involved in our work. Outreach to chapter members encouraged them to contribute issues they would like to see considered and were invited to participate in discussion of issues and the process for selecting issues at the next chapter meeting.

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