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Youth Vote is stirring in West Kentucky
Dean Anthony spoke for candidate Jeff Taylor

On a bright sun lit Saturday morning last week, the dynamics and landscape of the embattled Democratic Party shifted. The scene was the Little Café in Lone Oak KY. Over hot coffee, eggs, biscuits and gravy, the young, middle aged and seniors discussed how to make a come back in local politics.

Some 38 good spirits of the local McCracken Democratic Party Executive Committee sought out ideas to fight against the newly elected Republican Governor, his cabinet, and local, regional Republicans.

Get the vote out, new types of mailers, helping with challenges to Senator Rand Paul, State Representative Steve Rudy, and the battle for Paducah mayor were major topics talked about.

I came as a media spectator to this event. I left as someone empowered with hope for a new type of two party system in Kentucky. For the 40 years of watching and being a part of politics and government in Kentucky, on this morning I witnessed a new chapter forming in the ranks of Kentucky political history.

What I saw was out of the 38 Democrats at this meeting, 14 of them were young people between 20 and 35. That's 37 % of the people in the room.

Dean Anthony, an MSU student, spoke on behalf of Jeff Taylor who is running for the seat vacated by John Tilley. Anthony said that most people don't know there's going to be an election on March 8th in Trigg and Hopkins Counties, so turn out will be key. He said that "we have to be active to win this election."

Democrats like Wesley Bolin of Murray, who ran last year against Republican Congressman Ed Whitfield and lost. Now he is running for Murray's city council. With 12 candidates and twelve seats, Bolin is on his way to becoming a city councilman.

Travis Scott, a young man from far Eastern Kentucky came to discuss upcoming plans for how the Kentucky Young Democrats can help make the fight happen in the Jackson Purchase.

Brandi Harless spoke to the group about her race for mayor of Paducah. She is a great example of Emerge Kentucky, an organization that has been coaching women across Kentucky to become more involved with local, regional and state politics. The race for mayor is nonpartisan.

At right, Brandi Harless listens to Travis Scott speaking.

After about 2 hours, the meeting broke up.

As I was leaving the room, I looked back over my shoulder and saw that all the young Democrats gathering around their leaders.

They were talking about how to fight for their Party. I left the building with a renewed and warm feeling that there was still hope in the system of political debate and struggles over ideas that our fathers and grandfathers had fought for, in the name of the poor, disable, struggling middle class, and those who sought a better life by going to college.

Wow. What will happen to Kentucky if the youth decide it is their time?

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