Friends reunited: Rep. Attica Scott, Denise Gray and Charlotte Goddard. All three are Emerge graduates.
Rep. Attica Scott, (D-KY House 41) was the keynote speaker at "Black Women in Politics" a celebration of Black History Month in Mayfield last Sunday, February 24th The program was cosponsored by the City of Mayfield, Mayfield/Graves County and Citizen Volunteers. First Church of the Nazarene has hosted the event for several years.
Before Scott took the microphone, a joyful collection of singers and one trumpet playing minister, entertained a crowd of 160. Church of the Nazarene Pastor Steve Melvin, shown at right, blew his own horn through "Danny Boy."
The church's Apostolic Praise Team sang several selections that brought the crowd to their feet clapping and swaying.
Stannisha Stubblefield, shown at right, sang her heart out in "For Your Glory." Cora Stubblefield joined the Team for "Oh Happy Day" the gospel song made famous by Whoopie Goldberg's fictional choir in "Sister Act." Two young black women, Kaya White and Chelsea Carter, read original poems on the black experience. The music and shared messages readied the crowd to hear from a black woman in the middle of politics.
Rep. Attica Scott said that she was born to a teen mother. "I attended my mother's high school graduation as a five month old baby." When she was sixteen, her mother died of a drug overdose. Running for the Kentucky House was not her first election. She served on the Jefferson She spoke of how she won her election, defeating a long serving member. "I knocked on every door." she said.
Scott gave a succinct report on what is happening in the short session of the General Assembly. Scott, nor any African American serving in the Legislature has had a bill make it into a committee hearing or to the floor for a vote in the Republican dominated legislature.
Rep. Scott is especially interested in restoration of civil rights to former felons. She firmly believes that "People deserve a second chance." The statistics are disheartening: One in four black men doesn't have their rights back after incarceration. That's a barrier to jobs, credit, housing, political participation.
She urged the audience to contact legislators. Even if they don't agree with you, they need to hear from you. "Stand up. Speak out. There are good people working for you."
There are bills she hopes make it out of this session. One is taking sales tax off feminine hygiene products. "Periods are not optional." Another is supplying feminine hygiene products to women in jail.
"It doesn't matter why they are incarcerated. That's no excuse not to take care of basic human needs."
Bills that she did not support were the enhanced sentencing and gang bill which she said disproportionately targets Latino and African American young men.
Rep. Scott thinks a workable bill on pensions may come out of this session. She said the bill, House Bill 504, was filed by legislators with education backgrounds She knows one well. Rep. Brenda, (R- House 71) her seatmate is a math teacher. Other sponsors include Rep. Goforth, (R-District 89) who is running against Governor Bevin in the GOP primary, Rep. Jim Glenn (D- District 13) and Rep. Scott Lewis (R- District 14).
Scott serves on the Education Committee. She isn't excited about House Bill 1, the school safety bill. The bill doesn't address the issues she sees in Jefferson County. "Making our schools safer doesn't make our children safer. They spend more time coming to and from school. Neighborhoods need to be safer. We need common sense gun legislation."
This session won't address any funding because it's not a budget session. That means charter schools, programs for drug abuse will be discussed but no money will be allocated.
Rep. Scott, a graduate of the Emerge Kentucky program, is seen as a rising star in the Kentucky Democratic firmament. She was urged by supporters to run for governor in the May 2019 primary. She declined to do that, citing family and financing issues.