Thursday, April 8, 2010

614. Kentucky Young Democrats come to Louisville

A long, long time ago - wait, there is a trivia question there. What early 1970s song began with those words?

Let me try again. That's not the answer although that is the name of another old song. Let me try to start again.

The Kentucky Young Democrats are coming to Louisville this weekend for their convention. It's good to have such an active group of young Democrats making themselves known here in our Commonwealth. A long, long time ago I was a Kentucky Young Democrat. We had several chapters here in Louisville which met in various places, usually at the old "Fourth Street Headquarters," the old Vienna Bakery building at 133 S. Fourth Street which was home to the Jefferson County Party for much of the mid-20th century. I belonged to the KYDs off-and-on from about 1977 to about 1986. It is where I first met people like retired Judge Tom McDonald, former Winchester mayor Dodd Dixon, Lincoln County PVA David Gambrel, former Congressman Mike Ward, Obama appointee to the USDA's Kentucky office John McCauley, and my long-time friend Mary-John Celletti.

We went to conventions here in Louisville, down in Bowling Green, over in Owensboro, several in Frankfort, a few in Lexington, and one in particular in Morehead. At one point we had rival KYD groups competing with each other. Bobby Rowe and Jack McLain both claimed to be president at the same time. We had a lot of fun straightening that out. We also went to national meetings in St. Louis, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Miami, Nashville, and Washington, DC. I once played My Old Kentucky Home on a piano in the assembly hall in Philadelphia as new Kentucky Governor John Young Brown, Jr. was about to speak. I didn't mention to him that I really wasn't happy with him given that he had laid me off from my part-time job in LRC on April 15, 1980, while I was a student at UK. Yes, governor, I still remember.

All, every one, of my memories with the KYD are good. We worked hard for candidates, we played hard at convention time, and more than a few of us went on to work either as candidates or advisors to candidates or both. And it is my hope that this group of young activists will someday takes the reins of our present Kentucky Democratic Party. I have met many of them over the past few years and am confident they will provide a strong sense of leadership whenever they do take control. The truth is I hope that happens sooner than later.

Let me offer you a string of numbers - 48, 39, 43, 47, 43, 46, 47, 46, 52, 58, 51, 63. Those numbers represent the age at which governors Combs, Breathitt, Nunn, Ford, Carroll, Brown, Collins, Wilkinson, Jones, Patton, Fletcher, and Beshear were inaugurated, respectively. I chose this group as these are the men and one woman who have served as Kentucky's Chief Magistrate during my lifetime. There is, in my opinion, a trend there which is troubling. Since the election of Brereton Jones in 1991, an election in which all I did was vote, our governors have gotten older. Paul Patton, who I supported in the Primary and General of 1995 was 58 - the oldest in many decades until Governor Beshear took office at the age of 63. The last time we inaugurated a governor in his sixties was in 1943, six days after Governor Simeon Willis (at left) had celebrated his 64th birthday.

It is my hope that this next generation of young Democrats, will like some generations before it, ascend to the highest offices of the Commonwealth sooner rather than later in their lives. It is time for people my age (like Lt. Gov. Daniel Mongiardo and State Treasurer Todd Hollenbach, all of us turning 50 this year) to help this younger group however we can. There are very able leaders within the current body of the Kentucky Young Democrats. Chad Aull (in the picture with Fayette PVA David O'Neill on his right) and Coleman Elridge are two that come to mind. When they - the entire group - leave their assembly this weekend, I would ask that each return to their home counties and look for - or go ahead and create - opportunities for themselves to seek offices, whether in the State or Federal Party, or in their home courthouses, or in the houses of the General Assembly, or even statewide, and that they do so sooner rather than later.

I ran for a few offices when I was young - I lost those races - but I also waited around for the one office I thought I wanted to hold until the incumbent retired. I never dreamt my wait would take me all the way to 2004. But it did. And, the truth is, it should not have. Our cities, counties, and state cannot afford to hang on forever to the current Democrats holding office. A quick look at the successes of the past several General Assemblies makes this point all too clear. Far too many officeholders are simply that - officeholders as opposed to public servants. Our state can only afford such leadership for so long. We need these new young Democrats in a very serious way. I want to personally welcome them to Louisville and wish them well on their convention. But I also want to challenge them, especially as we look to the 2012 Party Reorganization, to take an active role in the Party between now and then and then be prepared to take control of the Party come April, May, and June of that year.

That and enjoy your youth. It comes to an end way too damn quick.

Below is the agenda for this weekend's convention.


Kentucky Young Democrats
State Convention
April 9 & 10, 2010
Galt House, Louisville
State Convention Schedule:
Friday, April 9
7:00pm- Join us Friday night for the reception with Alice Germond, National DNC Secretary
Cost is $10 for YD’s (Included in registration for the whole weekend)
$25 for non-YD’s

Saturday, April 10
(Grand Ballroom A)
9:30am- Speaker: Daniel Mongiardo
10:00am- Presentation: Campaigning in Rural Kentucky
11:00am- Lunch Speaker: Congressman John Yarmuth
12:30pm- Break-Out Sessions: Campaign School and Chapter Building (in separate meeting rooms)
2:00pm- Speaker: Jack Conway
2:30pm- Awards/Elections


Anonymous said...

Payne’s numbers and the FEC’s numbers do not match. According to the FEC, Fischer’s only donations to Northup were $250 on 10/08/1998 and $350.00 on 10/03/2000. That equals hundreds, not thousands. Maybe Payne knows something the FEC (and the Northup campaign) don’t. If so, he should let us know.

Anyone can look up donations at the Federal Election Commission website, If you checks under Greg Fischer, you;ll find he has given more money to Democrats and the Democratic Party than any other candidate.

$1000 to Yarmuth in ‘07, ‘08, and ‘09; $250 to Heather Ryan in ‘08; $1000 to Boswell in ‘08; $250 to the DNC in ‘09; $15,750 to the KDP in ‘07, ‘08, and ‘09; $5000 to the Kentucky Victory Fund (Federal account) in ‘07; $7300 to Obama in ‘08; and $5000 to the Obama Victory Fund in ‘o8.

There’s been a lot of talk of Jim King throwing money around in this race. But he hasn’t thrown any to any Democrats other than himself lately. No other candidate for mayor has given the kind of dollars Fischer has to Democrats.

If Payne can’t get these numbers straight off an FEC webpage correct, why should we trust him to get the icemachine story correct?

Anonymous said...

Great article as always. Hate I couldn't be there. Hopefully your travels will find you in Calloway sometime this year. -Greg

The Archives at Milepost 606


Louisville, Kentucky, United States
Never married, liberal Democrat, born in 1960, opinionated but generally pleasant, member of the Episcopal Church. Graduate of Prestonia Elementary, Durrett High, and Spalding University; the first two now-closed Jefferson County Public Schools, the latter a very small liberal arts college in downtown Louisville affiliated with the Roman Catholic Sisters of Charity of Nazareth. My vocation and avocation is politics. My favorite pastime is driving the backroads of Kentucky and southern Indiana, visiting small towns, political hangouts, courthouses, churches, and cemeteries. You are welcome to ride with me sometime.