McKenzie Cantrell ready to take on opponent's family name, advocate for families in 38th House Dist.

10/07/2016 11:48 AM

Political newcomer McKenzie Cantrell is competing in one of Kentucky’s hottest House races of the fall against Democrat turned Republican Rep. Denny Butler in south Louisville’s 38th District.

Cantrell, an attorney for the non-profit Kentucky Equal Justice Center, is running for the seat to advocate for a statewide minimum wage increase, keeping families safe as drugs creep into the area, protect public schools and fight for unions as some in the legislature seek a “right to work” law.

“That’s what this race is about to me. It’s about the people in my district who a lot of those issue directly impact them,” she said. “We’re working people. We’re middle class people and we need all the help we can get in today’s economy.”

If elected to the General Assembly, Cantrell said she would balance co-sponsoring existing bills that fit into her advocacy platform.

Watch the full interview below for a discussion with Cantrell about those issues as well as the uptick in heroin, tax reform, healthcare and school choice.

Thousands of PAC dollars are already pouring into the district in support of Cantrell’s Republican opponent in the race via television ads.

Cantrell acknowledged the “Butler name” as a major political name in Louisville’s south end. The first time candidate beat “a Goliath” in Metro Councilman Dan Johnson in the Democratic primary, and now she’s “having to beat another big name this time around.”

“I do think you’re seeing an unprecedented amount of money dumped into this district, and so far you’ve only seen it from Republican interests, and I really hope voters in my district realize where this money is coming from,” Cantrell said. “Gov. Bevin has raised a substantial amount of money for Rep. Butler. That Sen. McConnell has raised a substantial amount of money for Rep. Butler, and that people know where this money is coming from and where it’s being used.”

The Louisville lawyer said she will have the resources necessary to counter the support Butler is receiving.

Much of Cantrell’s strategy is based around a shoe leather campaign that includes coordinated help from the party, and unions who are energized to get out the vote in her favor.

Nick Storm

Nick Storm is the Anchor and Managing Editor of Pure Politics available exclusively on Spectrum News. Pure Politics is the only nightly program dedicated to Kentucky politics. Nick covers all of the political heavyweights and his investigative work brings to light issues that might otherwise go unnoticed, like his coverage of the backlog of DNA rape kits waiting to be tested in Kentucky. Nick is also working on a feature length bio documentary Outlaw Poet: A documentary on Ron Whitehead. Pure Politics airs weeknight at 7 and 11:30 on Spectrum News. Follow Nick on Twitter @NStorm_Politics. Nick can be reached at 502-792-1107 or


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