*It’s been one year since Breonna Taylor was shot and killed by Louisville police! She and her family didn’t get the justice they deserve, because Kentucky’s attorney general is in the back pocket of law enforcement so he blocked their prosecution. But that’s only part of the story. We’re going to discuss another part of the story right now.
While most people have turned their attention to getting justice for George Floyd and his family by making sure disgraced former killer cop Derek Chauvin and the three flunky cops with him get convicted for Floyd’s modern day lynching, slick politicians in Kentucky hope people are too preoccupied with what’s going on in Minneapolis to care about anything else.
Let’s show them we can multitask!
Kentucky state lawmakers want to change the rules in the middle of the game to suit their needs. They’re trying to get away with undermining the democratic process. They’re trying to get away with suppressing your vote in Kentucky.
It involves power hungry Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell (R), puppet Attorney General Dan Cameron and Kentucky Senate President Robert Stivers from the 25th district. Stivers authored HR Bill 228. This bill changes how U.S. Senate seats are filled when the position is vacated before the next election.
McConnell is preparing to leave Congress before his term ends. Even though he just got re-elected to his seventh term last November- just four months ago – he is planning to quit the Senate, probably within the year. He’s held the senate seat since 1985 – for the last 36 years. Although some people consider McConnell quitting Congress as a good thing, read on while I explain what’s really going on.
In most states when a member of the U.S. Senate vacates his seat in between an election cycle the governor of that state he or she represents gets to appoint a replacement to fill the remaining time left until the next election. Then the appointed person gets to run for that seat in the next election cycle. In this case the governor of Kentucky would be responsible for appointing McConnell’s replacement. Governor Andy Brashear is a democrat. Senator McConnell is a Republican. McConnell wants to control who replaces him – not the governor, who is a democratic. So McConnell has gotten his republican crony in the Kentucky state house to create a bill to change the rules.
Last month State Senate President Robert Stivers introduced HR 228. The bill is being debated in the Kentucky state senate right now. If it passes it goes before Kentucky’s state house for a vote. It should be stopped before it gets approved.
This bill will change the way people are appointed to vacated seats in Kentucky. Instead of it being whomever the governor appoints, HR bill 228 will create a board that will select three people as potential appointees. The governor will then be forced to select one of those finalists. The three finalists must be members of the same party as the person who vacated the seat. In this case the three finalists will be Republicans like McConnell. So it will take away the Governor’s appointment powers. It’s another way of undermining the democratic process while keeping crooked-ass politicians in power.
This also is a way to suppress Kentucky residents’ right to vote for their representatives. If a politician wants to vacate his/her seat before the next election because they don’t think they will win, but they get to handpick their replacement this potentially is a loophole to legalized voter suppression. Even if those short-list finalist are qualified candidates, they’re called ‘elected officials’ – not ‘selected officials’ – for a reason.
Who are the short list finalists hand picked by McConnell? They are former United Nations Ambassador Kelly Craft. Her husband’s company is the 3rd largest coal producer in the eastern United States. They gave $1 million to Trump’s presidential campaign. And they give money to various GOP politicians, including Mitch McConnell. Kentucky Secretary of State Michael Abrams is also on the short list. He was a McConnell scholar, a leadership program at the University of Louisville. Abrams won his election in 2018. AG Dan Cameron, McConnell’s favorite Black Republican, is on the list too. Big surprise.
The short list is just a ruse. Everyone in the Kentucky state legislature knows Cameron is McConnell’s heir apparent. But after Cameron flubbed the prosecution of the LMPD cops involved in Taylor’s shooting death, then he used a grand jury as a front when he had no intention of prosecuting the cops, Cameron’s political future is over unless McConnell can save his token Black pawn by pushing him to the next level without an election.
Conceivably this process could be a loophole to legalized voter suppression. If a senator doesn’t think s/he can win the next election they can vacate the seat, get their state level political cronies to hand pick three flunkies and the governor has no choice but to pick Larry, Curly or Moe!
The reason McConnell might quit is because his wife, Elaine Chao’s. Chao was Donald Trump’s Secretary of Transportation. Chao’s family owns a billion dollar shipping company in China. Chao used her position and influence to help her family secure government contracts. She used staff members to do personal errands on government time and other favors that were a conflict of interest. So Chao could be in trouble. Or McConnell could be forced to quit congress instead.
Everybody in Kentucky needs to contact their elected representative today. Call the Kentucky Legislative Message Line at (800)372-7181 to oppose HR bill 228. Don’t let anyone take away your right to choose your senator.
Steffanie Rivers is a freelance journalist living in the Dallas-Ft. Worth metroplex. Email her at [email protected] with your comments, questions and speaking inquiries. Follow her @tcbstef on Twitter and Instagram.