According to Kentucky First Lady Jane Beshear, this year’s election “couldn’t be a more important election for the people of Clark County.”
Beshear made an appearance Thursday night at the annual Clark County Democratic Rally at the Fish and Game Club, speaking on behalf of Rep. Ben Chandler and JoEllen Reed, candidate for the Kentucky House of Representatives.
Beshear praised Reed for her 20-plus years as an educator in Clark County, and encouraged voters to seek candidates who are strong supporters of education.
She also presented Reed with a $10,000 check from the Democratic Party for campaign expenses.
Reed thanked those present for their support, and praised the people of Clark County for being an encouragement throughout her life.
“Each person in this room has personally touched me. I’m running so I¿can give back to Clark County what Clark County has given to me,”¿Reed said. “The word ‘representative,’ I will do exactly what that says, I will represent you.”
Chandler made an unscheduled visit to the rally, as well, and, like Beshear, encouraged Democrats to visit the polls Nov. 6.
“We didn’t get it done in Clark County in 2010,” Chandler said, referring to losses by incumbents R.J. Palmer and Don Pasley. Palmer, state senator for District 28, won the election overall, but trailed Republican challenger Dr. Ralph Alvarado in Clark County.
Pasley was unseated by State Rep. Donna Mayfield, who will face off against Reed in November.
“This is a tenuous time here in Clark County,”¿Chandler said.
He also spoke about his own race against Andy Barr, which Chandler said he expects to be close.
“There is an enormous difference between the Democrat Party and the Republican Party. ... They have gone to the extreme now. They’ve gone off the right end,” Chandler said.
He criticized the Republican plan to replace the current Medicare system with a voucher system, and what he believes is the Republican agenda to eventually do away with all social welfare programs.
“I’m giving it my all,” Chandler said of his own campaign. “I’m in four or five counties every day.”
Like Beshear, he encouraged voters to support Reed, who he called a “close, personal friend.”
Kentucky’s Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes was the featured speaker for the evening. Grimes was elected in 2011, defeating Elaine Walker who was appointed by Gov. Steve Beshear to fill the office vacated by Republican Trey Grayson when he resigned to accept a position at Harvard University.
“We need more women in Frankfort, and I need JoEllen Reed,” Grimes said. “She brings out the best in me every time she comes to Frankfort.”
Grimes is the only female constitutional officer in Kentucky.
“I think we’re at a critical juncture. We’re either going to go forward or go backwards,” Grimes said.
Although Grimes is not up for re-election this year, she spent much of the evening meeting local voters, campaigning for other Democrats.
LaDonna Stamper, president of the Democratic Woman’s Club, praised Grimes for her efficiency in office, speaking from personal experience as a long-time employee of the Clark County Clerk’s Office and daughter of Clerk Anita Jones.
“We immediately started seeing changes (when she took office),” Stamper said.
The evening was a joint effort between the Democratic Woman’s Club, the Clark County Democratic Executive Committee and the Young Democrats of Clark County.
The rally is an annual event to raise money for Democratic candidates, and to give local Democrats an opportunity to meet political figures.
“Regardless of your age, disability, your voice matters,” Grimes said.
Contact Rachel Gilliam at email@example.com.