New Democratic Senate leaders say they will be more engaged in 2015

12/01/2014 06:35 PM

It will not be business as usual for the Senate Democrats, that was the message on Monday as Senate Democrats elected a new leadership team.

Sen. Ray Jones, D-Pikeville, replaces R.J. Palmer as Minority Floor Leader, Sen. Gerald Neal, D-Louisville, replaced Sen. Johnny Ray Turner, D-Prestonsburg, and former governor and current Senator Julian Carroll, D-Frankfort, replaces retiring Senator Jerry Rhoads, D-Madisonville.

Palmer was defeated by Dr. Ralph Alvarado in the general election while Turner did not seek to continue as Minority Caucus Chair.

All three incoming leaders were elected unanimously by acclamation. The group was first identified by Pure Politics in mid-November.

“We plan on working with Republicans on issues where we can find agreement,” said Jones. “On issues where we can’t, we’re going to be much more vocal, a much more effective voice against their agenda on these issues.”

Jones says Democrats will see a major difference with the new leadership team.

“The differences you’re going to see with our caucus is stepping up to the plate for those issues for our key constituents that, in times in the past, we have not done as effectively as we should have,” said Jones.

Neal says that Senate Democrats plan to be more engaged in the discussions with their Senate majority counterparts.

“When they put everything on the table and try to sell it, it’s our job, in the minority or in the opposition, to call them out and we’ll be doing that,” said Neal.

Sen. Carroll likes the fact the Senate Democrats go into the 2015 session united with their leadership team.

“We may be somewhat smaller in number, but we’re going to make up for the fact that each of the members of our caucus are going to be engaged in working together,” said Carroll.

There are currently only 11 Senate Democrats, but there is a good chance of gaining possibly one more seat in a special election yet to be called to replace Sen. Walter “Doc” Blevins, D-Morehead, who won a bid for Rowan County judge-executive.


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