Saturday, April 08, 2006

A Fond Farewell and Endorsements

Recently Louisville lost a larger than life community leader, Anne Braden. Ms. Braden was fixture in the civil rights and social justice movement since the 1950s. Heck, she was nothing short of a legend. People seemed to either adore or hate her with equal passion. Indeed, she was a woman of passion. If there was a fight to be fought, Ms. Braden was there. No questions asked. I had the occasion to meet Ms. Braden a couple of times after moving back to Louisville in 1979 from San Francisco. I remember attending a County Commissioner meeting several years ago. Ms. Braden, who was quite petite, and some of her friends sat down behind me. She leaned over a whispered a question to me. I really can’t recall what it was. Well, one thing lead to another and we started quietly talking. Shortly, Ms. Braden asked my name. With big eyes and a wispy smile, she sat back and said “Oh, I’ve heard of you!” Slightly embarassed and barely able to subdue a smile of my own, I replied that I knew who she was too, which I thought was much more impressive! This provoked a little chuckle between the two of us. But this chance encounter cemented my impression of Ms. Braden. She wasn’t someone seeking personal glory. She was a woman trying to set things rights. And she did succeed in setting many things right.

The Greater Louisville Central Labor Council (GLCLC) has completed its candidate endorsements for the upcoming May election. Here are some of the more interesting ones I thought you might be interested in:

For Mayor, the GLCLC voted not to endorse “Mayor-for Life” Jerry Abramson (D). In fact Jerry faced some tough questioning about hiring key administrative positions from outside of the community and on local transportation issues. It appeared from his responses that Jerry doesn’t like his decisions questioned. Frankly, that’s just too bad.

While there was no recommendation taken for District 1, and no action in Districts 9, 11, and 19, Mary Woolridge (D-3), David Tandy (D-4), Cheri Hamilton (D-5), and Neville Blakemore (D-7) were all endorsed.

In Metro Council District 13, Vicki Welch (D), though obviously far less qualified than any of the other candidates, got the nod. Her Democratic opponent, John Gatton, dropped out of the race. Vicki says she’ll keep former Councilman Weston’s aide, Steve Clark on board. On the Republican side, Sharon Woodring didn’t bother to show up or even answer the questionnaire, but Renay Davis did. Renay, who has done a lot of work on behalf of some of the member unions, made a pretty good showing for herself. Renay has got the practical experience, intelligence, and energy, and she'll represent everyone throughout the District 13. For those of you living in this district, go with Renay Davis. You'll be glad you did.

In District 15, there was no recommendation in the race between Democrats Marianne Butler and Kevin Triplett. Both candidates did well in their interviews, but Kevin, who has been serving as the aide to the current councilman, did a little better. Kevin also has a stronger grasp of the needs of the district. I think Kevin would serve the residents of the 15th much better.

No action was taken in the District 17th race between incumbent Glen Stuckel (R) and William Cohan (D). To no one’s surprise, Dan Johnson was endorsed in District 21. John Sommers (D-23) was endorsed over incumbent James Peden (R), who got a good butt chewing for his failure to sign a petition to oppose current “Right-to-Work” legislation after he said he would, if he had known about it. Bad move Jim. These folks know their stuff. Political newcomer, Erin Ryan (D) will get GLCLC backing in her race against Republican incumbent Doug Hawkins in District 25. Erin has very little in why of experience, be it community or political. While she’s a delightful gal, she’ll be no match for Hawkins.

For State Representative, Charlie Miller (D-28th), Kevin Bratcher (R-29th), Tom Burch (D-30th), Steve Riggs (D-31st), Mary Lou Marizan (D-34th), Jim Wayne (D-35th), Tim Firkins (D-38th), Dennis Horlander (D-40th), Tom Riner (D-41st), Reginald Meeks (D-42nd), Darryl Owens (D-43rd), Joni Jenkins (D-44th), and Larry Clark (D-46th), Amy Shir (D-48th) all got the nod. There were no recommendations for the 32nd, 33rd, or 59th State House seats. On the State Senate side, there were no recommendations in the 10th, 26th, 36th, or 38th seats.

Mike Weaver got the GLCLC endorsement for the US 2nd District, as did current Commonwealth Attorney, Dave Stengel (D), County Attorney Irv Maze (D), Sheriff John Aubrey (D), and candidate Russ Salsman (D). For the US 3rd District, there was no recommendation. Interestingly, there was no recommendation for Property Valuation Administrator. However without a doubt, Melvin Ratchford (D) was by far the most qualified of all candidates.

Remember, the Primary is Tuesday, May 16th. Please be sure to get out and vote! We can't change the system unless you do.

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