Community Partner Spotlight: Kentuckians For The Commonwealth
We’re gearing up for Election Day tomorrow (caffeinate and vote!), which means it’s the perfect time to spotlight our friends at Kentuckians for the Commonwealth (KFTC).
They’ve been working hard this election season to increase voter participation; organizing rides, working towards restoring voting rights, and educating Kentuckians about voter issues. The Jefferson County chapter was a sponsor of the Metro Council candidate debates earlier this year, and released their voting guide so voters can read more about their state and local candidates.
But getting out the vote is just one of the many things KFTC does for Kentuckians.
We caught up with Ryan Fenwick, who’s been a Jefferson County chapter member for four years, to talk about the organization,“Working with KFTC is great because it really amplifies your individual effort. I volunteer a few hours every week, but because it’s a statewide organization it ends up making a much greater impact.”
As the Executive Committee Representative, he’s worked on many of the local projects around Louisville, including the Vision Smoketown report, “I felt like at the beginning it [the report] was really very ambitious.”
But after going door-to-door to survey neighbors, Ryan was excited by the progress he felt the report was making. “It was pretty obvious that we had hit on something, because people seemed happy that we were doing what we were doing. The final product came together well – seeing the Smoketown Neighborhood Association become such a force for the neighborhood, is really exciting.”
Another of KFTC’s Louisville-local projects is the annual Smoketown GetDown for Democracy. “The GetDown every year is a fantastic event!” says Ryan.
For the third year, the block party has been a celebration of Smoketown’s legacy and residents, and Heine Brothers’ has been able to participate along with other food venders, music, dancing, and art. KFTC was also taking the opportunity to register voters and even found some new members!
“I think a lot of people don’t know that there are so many progressives throughout the state. It’s easy being from Louisville, to think we’re the only ones who care about progressive topics. There are a lot of people doing innovative things in the rural areas of the state and small towns. Louisville is actually learning a lot about clean air and clean energy from one of the smallest towns in Kentucky right now,” adds Alicia Hurle, the Jefferson County Community Organizer.
For more than three decades, since 1981, KFTC has worked to empower ordinary Kentuckians’ stake in their local government and environment. Starting with their work in Eastern Kentucky’s Appalachian region, the first KFTC members were able to help make reforms to a tax structure that before had favored coal companies over landowner rights. One of the group’s high profile accomplishments was their work in reducing the use of mountaintop removal mining techniques in used to extract coal.
In addition to issues around coal and water pollution, KFTC works on many different problems facing Kentuckians across the state. The organization works on restoring and expanding Voting Rights for Kentuckians, like restoring the ability to vote to those no longer incarcerated. They also deal in economic justice issues and tax reforms, as well as working on new clean energy development by supporting rural clean energy co-ops.
Kentuckians For The Commonwealth is a community of people, inspired by a vision, building New Power and a better future for all of us. Together with Kentucky citizens, they organize for a fair economy, a healthy environment, new safe energy and an honest democracy.
Ryan wants people to know, “KFTC is a really accessible way to get involved in the community, and to make a serious impact.” To become a member of KFTC or make a donation during our fall membership and fundraising campaign, visit: www.kftc.org/donate.
As for his coffee preference? Ryan is a purist – double shots and nothing more.
To access the full KFTC Voting Guide, including Candidate surveys: http://kentuckyelection.org/
To join Kentuckians for the Commonwealth: http://www.kftc.org/renew
To find out more about what our local Jefferson County Chapter is working on: http://www.kftc.org/chapters/jefferson-county