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East meets West: Kentuckians for the Commonwealth comes to Paducah

Kentuckians for the Commonwealth sent two staff members to Paducah Kentucky Thursday night. Molly Kavier, staffing the KFTC Southern Kentucky Chapter, drove 2 ½ hours from Bowling Green. Tyler Offerman, the tax justice organizer, came from Louisville. They came at the encouragement of local residents interested in getting a chapter started in Western Kentucky.

The informational meeting drew over 100 from around the Purchase from as far east as Marshall County to Fulton County in the south. A large contingent came from Calloway County.

Offerman told the standing room only crowd that he had planned to divide them into small groups around the room. "But this group pretty much fills up the room."

Kentuckians for the Commonwealth is the successor to an earlier organization Kentuckians for Fair Tax Coalition. That older KFTC was born in Eastern Kentucky to fight the practice of broad form deeds. The practice of buying the mineral rights then lying doggo for years until taking the property and extracting the minerals, usually by strip mining was loathed by residents. It took ten years for small groups to coalesce to get the process banned.

The organization which has at its heart local control spread over the past thirty five years to thirteen chapters from Pike County to Bowling Green. Until last night, KFTC had not attempted organizing in the Purchase.

Leading the discussion, Offerman and Kavier asked those attending to share their vision of West Kentucky. Then think about how to get there.

Answers ranged from environmental safety to better representation. (See charts)

To begin a chapter, organizers need fifteen members, elect two leaders, meet monthly, send one representative to the state steering committee and raise $500. When asked if there was interest in beginning a chapter, virtually every hand in the room went up. Several folks volunteered to be leaders.

The question on the table is where in the Purchase a chapter or chapters will organize. Murray and Paducah seem to be choices. When asked for his advice on organization, Offerman said that while he "didn't want you to dilute your membership" that the group would have to decide what its goal would be and organize around that goal.

One person told the organizers if this meeting had been held in October, very few would have attended, an obvious reference to the November election. Those attending were there with a "need to do something."

For more on Kentuckians for the Commonwealth, click on "More."

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