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Frankfort Labor Leadership Dumps Rudy--Supports Lawrence House District 1
Frankfort Labor Leadership Dumps Rudy--Supports Lawrence House District 1

By Ivan Potter

Reader be Warned--the following views and analysis are the product of an editorial feature and not a normal news story. Anyone who may submit another point of view will have their comments published in equal space.

Kentucky State AFL-CIO leadership selected their political battles for 2008 this past weekend. Most of their choices were predictable. Some were surprising. One was shocking. The shocking one was in the House District 1 comprising the counties of Ballard, Carlisle, Hickman, Fulton, and parts of West McCracken. In this race, the powerful union is supporting Mike Lawrence D-Paducah over the two term incumbent Steve Rudy R-Paducah.

In 2006, the union selected Steve Rudy R-Paducah over Tom French D-Hickman county. Their logic was clouded at this time. They had decided, much like the Kentucky Education Association (KEA), to back the legislative incumbent. They were going to play safe and support the insider against their natural base of Democratic workers' values.

They, like KEA, played right into the strategy of Senator Mitch McConnell, the Republican god Father of Kentucky. As Ernie Fletcher was fighting for his political life, McConnell was lining up supporters for his new and expanded power base. This power base did not include Governor Fletcher.

It had room only for those individuals who would bow down to McConnell’s marching orders. State Representative Steve Rudy was such an individual. He stood with Congresswoman Ann Northup in her Republican Primary fight against Republican Governor Ernie Fletcher. In this Republican insider chess game, Rudy was used as a pawn by McConnell.

Over the past two years, the union leadership has matured in its view of fighting against the Republican War machine of Mitch McConnell. They now understand that Mitch McConnell has targeted Paducah as one of his strong points across Kentucky to establish a conservative vote margin over the Democrats. McConnell is banking on getting Democratic voters to cross party lines and vote for him.

Bill Londrigan, State President AFL-CIO, knows all too well that West Kentucky is going to be one of the fiercest political battlefields ever seen in modern statewide elections.

Londrigan has spent a career in shaping political strategy, both within the union and outside, impacting key elections in modern Kentucky. He is no stranger to fighting for higher wages, more health care, better working conditions for his members.

Yet, during the past decade, Londrigan and the unions struggle for working family valves has been trumped by vast amounts of Republican campaign monies and hate radio attacks on the unions leading Democratic candidates.

Now, in the elections of 2008, there is a host of new parameters for change. The working class voters are beginning to stir. The new empowered unions are stirring as well. They have found a new lease on life. They are reaching deep into their history to find age old truths about power and how power corrupts to point to the economic realities of the Bush agenda and the Republican disregard for the American working families.

As vast a wave of future shock and change that is tearing through America in 2008, the Unions know that all politics is local. In that regard, the choices they made this past weekend will prepare them to take a total statewide battle to the Republicans.

In the power struggle for Kentucky House of Representative District N0. 1, the AFL-CIO has selected Mike Lawrence to be their knight to run against the Republican pawn Steve Rudy, in the political chess game for West Kentucky.

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