Democrats say unintended consequences of pension and tax reform legislation will result in Democrat gains in November

06/01/2018 02:50 PM

NEWPORT – House Democrats believe that the unrest during the 2018 legislative session will result in more voter participation in the general election which will lead to positive vote counts for numerous Democratic candidates across the state of Kentucky.

House Minority Caucus Chair Rep. Dennis Keene, D-Wilder, believes that the process by which pension and tax reform was done has left a bad taste in the mouths of numerous middle class Kentuckians and that will result in consequences for many of the GOP legislators who supported the measures.

Keene said that the first example of that was Rockcastle County High School math teacher R. Travis Brenda’s upset win over House Majority Floor Leader Jonathan Shell, R-Lancaster in the District 71 GOP primary.

A result Keene admits surprised just about all Democrats.

“I think it was a shock heard all the way around the state,” Keene said. “Nobody saw that coming but I think that there’s a grass roots movement out there like we’ve never seen before. I wouldn’t say that it’s a Democrat thing or a Republican thing, I think it’s the middle class people that are starting to network through social media that have the same causes and they’re garnering up and I think that’s what he got hit with.”

As Keene has traveled around the state, he’s noticed a trend that’s been somewhat different than past years in as far as Democrat House candidates.

“We’re seeing candidates pop up that we never have spoken to,” Keene said. “There’s truly a grass roots out there and you’ve seen it in the primary. In Marshall County, we saw a teacher defeat who we thought was going to win that, and she’s going to be a great candidate.”

Keene believes that Democrats learned a lesson in 2015 in having only one major candidate for governor and believes that the 2019 race will bring a number of “heavy hitter” gubernatorial candidates to the table, but first, he believes that November 2018 needs to be top priority.

“The most important races I think are these House and Senate races that are coming up and they’re going to be the momentum of what happens in ’19,” Keene said. “I think my colleague Rocky Adkins has been discussing it, now we’re hearing Allison Grimes and there still may be some people out there that we’ve never heard of before.”

Keene thinks Democrats need to maybe educate voters a little better from the standpoint of where they stand on the issues .

He believes that the GOP sold voters in 2016 that change is good without going into a lot of depth as to what those changes would be.

“When it starts taking the change out of your pocket book, then it’s not the change that you want,and they’re realizing that,” Keene said.

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