Democrats challenge incumbent Gerald Neal in 33rd Senate District race

05/13/2016 08:10 PM

LOUISVILLE — Longtime Sen. Gerald Neal, who represents Louisville’s 33rd Senate District covering most of West Louisville and parts of Shively, is facing two challengers in Tuesday’s Democratic primary.

Charles Booker — who once worked for Neal, chairman of the Senate Democratic caucus, as an aide in Frankfort and a campaign consultant — and retired Jefferson District Judge Toni Stringer, are looking to take the seat that the incumbent has held since 1989.

Booker and Stringer claim that Neal is out of touch with residents in the district, while Neal says he has been a proven champion for his district as evidenced by his work to pass numerous bills over the years aimed at helping many who live in his community.

“I sponsored the achievement gap legislation which is still effectively being used within the education system,” Neal said.

In addition, Neal points out that he was instrumental in the passing ex-felon voting rights, efforts to abolish the death penalty and protecting Kentucky State University from budget cuts in the latest governor’s budget request which, he says, would have had devastating effects for that institution.

Booker believes that he has the ability to build bi-partisan partnerships to address the areas many issues, which include, violence, drug use and unemployment.

“You have to build coalitions,” Booker said. “The economy is bad in all of Kentucky, so we have to be able to work together, Republicans and Democrats. That’s going to be able to empower West Louisville but it’s also going to empower the state.”

Stringer, who was first appointed as a Jefferson District Court judge in 2000, and served as a senior judge in Jefferson County until 2014, feels that her judicial experience will be a benefit for her in the legislature.

“I’ve seen good laws, I’ve seen bad laws,” Stringer said. “I’ve seen laws that have been manipulated because of the way they were written. So, having that perspective, I think, puts me in a position where I can share that knowledge and expertise with those who are writing the laws.”

According to the latest Kentucky Registry of Election Finance report, Neal holds a huge advantage in finances having raised $73,533.38 and spending $40,109.94.

Booker raised $17,266.64 with disbursements of $15,290.20, while Stringer had $14,510.00 and has spent $11,040.76.

The winner will take on the winner of the Republican primary match-up between John Yuen and Sherita Rickman in the November general election.


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