This is my year to be FEARLESS. By fearless I don’t mean throwing caution to the wind, but instead overcoming reticence to voice what is right in the face of what is wrong and unjust. For women, and arguably those who have been raised with at least a hint of Southern influence, it is a conscious decision to not be silent and to roar, Katy Perry style (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CevxZvSJLk8), so that the vulnerable and less influential members of our community can be heard. Passionate advocates for positive community outcomes must be fearless, as change invariably brings hostility from those who wish to conserve the status quo. In the last year I’ve been encouraged, influenced and have come to intensely admire the following women who I believe exemplify fearlessness in the world of Kentucky politics. These are Fearless Kentucky Women to Watch in 2014.
Number one on everyone’s list is Alison Lundergan Grimes. Did you know that Kentucky has NEVER been represented by a woman in the US Senate? Sadly unsurprising, this is a streak that a fearless Kentucky woman like Ms. Grimes can and will break. Currently Kentucky’s Secretary of State, Grimes has taken on Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell for US Senator. With 30+ years as a Hill insider and wielder of unconscionable levels of influence in the US Senate, Mitch McConnell had better get ready because it’s clear that a younger, more nimble candidate is going to give him a hard run for his money. Grimes is also projected to ultimately unseat him in the November 2014 Kentucky general election (http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/12/30/obamacare-impeachment-iran-and-more-political-predictions-for-2014.html). Anyone who has met Ms. Grimes and heard her speak recognizes that she has the intellectual capacity, the passion and the fearlessness to go head-to-head with an entrenched member of the Dark Side and the Conservative Old Boy Washington DC club. By the way, she has the enthusiastic backing of the Clintons (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mwy5wGl9RGY) – and the Clintons are ALL ABOUT FEARLESS.
Elizabeth Jensen is another fearless Kentucky woman that I love – not only because she is an Emerge Kentucky grad, and I am a member of the 2014 Emerge class, but also because she is a tireless promoter of education in a state that struggles to adequately fund public education. Ms. Jensen is the Democratic candidate for Kentucky’s 6th district and is running against Republican incumbent Andy Barr. Besides being a successful business owner, she is also head of The Race for Education, a non-profit to promote academic development and financial literacy. It will take a fearless opponent to take on Mr. Barr, who despite only having been in office a short time, has deep ties to the “Party of No”. As an “educational entrepreneur” and advocate for special needs children, Ms. Jensen has already demonstrated her fearless agility (http://emilyslist.org/what/candidates/elisabeth-jensen) by delivering over $5 million in scholarships and educational programs to young Kentuckians. As the complete antithesis to Mr. Barr’s Tea Party obstructionism, anti-woman positions and general nuttery, Ms. Jensen is the fearless candidate to win Kentucky’s 6th district for US Representative. She will bring common sense and cooperative action to our helplessly paralyzed US Congress.
Elected to chair the Boone County Democratic Party in July 2013, Carole Register fearlessly took over the reins of a party who has been in the shadows for the last 20 years. Mrs. Register is a retired healthcare executive and passionate community development volunteer. She is a rock-solid strategist who is committed to re-energizing the almost 30,000 registered democrats, and 11,000 independents in Boone County – 55% of whom are women. Register is spearheading several events and projects with the county party to emphasize the importance and interconnectedness of business, education and healthcare in Northern Kentucky. Stay tuned for more details on the first annual Dialogue for Democracy, scheduled for April 3, 2014. Event information will be posted on the Boone County Democratic party website: http://boonecountydemocrats.org/.
These are just three fearless Kentucky women whom I believe will change the course of Kentucky and our nation in 2014. I truly believe that all women in Kentucky have a fearless streak and want to roar in their own way. As fearless Kentucky women, let us all raise our voices and not be silent on education, reproductive health, and income equality. These are just a few of the issues that affect us, our children, our seniors, our veterans and the future of Kentucky.