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Talking with Kentucky’s Youth Advocate and State House of Representatives Candidate Keturah Herron

Ready or not, the 2022 election cycle starts right now, ya’ll!

That’s what I realized when I sat down to talk with Keturah Herron, who is running in the special election for the Kentucky House of Representatives in District 42. Election Day is coming up Tuesday, February 24, but you can vote early starting February 17. (Note: If you aren’t sure if you live in Louisville’s House District 42, you can check if you’re eligible to vote in the special election on the County Clerk’s Election Center website.)

Keturah is an activist I’ve been wanting to meet. She’s famous in her home state for serving the needs of young people and fighting for our civil liberties as an ACLU strategist. She has worked closely with local and state Republican and Democrat leaders on some of the most important legislation of the past few years, including Breonna’s Law, which bans no-knock warrants in Louisville and was passed unanimously in just 17 days. Keturah is now advocating for a similar law across all of Kentucky. She has also worked with legislators on both sides of the aisle on school safety for children and restoration of voting rights for non-violent offenders.

Keturah Herron, candidate for House of Representatives in Kentucky’s 42nd District

Keturah Herron, candidate for House of Representatives in Kentucky’s 42nd District

Keturah is backed by labor unions, including IUE-CWA and CWA Local 3310 in Louisville because she cares about workers’ rights and fairness for all Kentuckians. Last week, I had the pleasure of talking with Keturah about her history and her vision for Kentucky’s future. Here are a few excerpts from our conversation.

It’s great to meet you, Keturah. Is this your first run for office?

Yes! This is my first time running, but I have been engaged deeply in the community for years, from my time with the ACLU to working with families impacted by the legal system and Social Services to working with kids in foster care and the juvenile justice system.

What sparked your interest in becoming a candidate?

Well, 2020 was such a year of powerful events, including the murders of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd. I thought about what I could do, and I knew that working close to home to change policies in Louisville was the best place for me to start. When we succeeded in getting no-knock warrants banned, I had young people, elected officials, and business leaders telling me I should consider running for office. I’d never thought about it before, but then I heard Reginald Meeks — who has represented Louisville’s District 42 for more than 20 years — was retiring. At that point, I began to seriously consider the possibility, and now here I am.

It seems that 2020 was your “aha” moment, when you got more involved than ever in making change happen politically. If you could say anything to the younger generation, including the CWA Next Generation members I work with, about why they should get involved, what would you say to them?

Well, the famous Black activist Angela Davis once told me something very true: “We can’t sit back and just wait.” We’re the ones responsible for making the change that we want to see in our communities, in the Commonwealth of Kentucky, and across the nation. I think we all have things we are passionate about, and we all have special talents. It’s our duty to use our passions and talents to help our communities. You can do workshops and teach young kids, you can join with others and pick up trash in the parks, or you can get into politics. In this country, everyday individuals hold the power to make change, and NOW is the time to use it.

What’s your personal history? Did you come from an activist family?

Well, my mother always tried to instill activist, generous values in me. She said it’s important to help others and help your community. My college degree is in Sports Administration, and I fell in love with working with young people when I was a volunteer at a sports camp for girls. Later, I worked at a juvenile detention center and ran an after school program in Lexington, Kentucky. I’ve been involved with programs for the homeless and runaways and worked in mental health facilities and in schools. All of those experiences have helped me understand the problems real people are facing. And they’ve helped prepare me to represent my community as an elected official.

What obstacles have you faced as you’ve moved into the political world?

I face the same obstacles we all face. I feel we’ve been moving backward in terms of some of the important issues in our country, and we need to find better ways of motivating and activating people. I think there are people across the state of Kentucky who believe in democratic and progressive values, but politicians aren’t speaking to them. We’ve lost our understanding of how to build community and connection, and I want to bring that back.

If you become a Representative for District 42, what are you looking forward to doing the most?

I am looking forward to inspiring people, engaging people, and activating more people! I can’t get the job done by myself, and I want to build a pipeline of leaders who are ready to engage on all the tough issues we’re facing in Kentucky. This summer I plan to create a youth program focusing on getting young people registered to vote and educating them about how important their votes are. I really have a lot of things I’m excited about, and I’m ready for the next step!

ATT SE 2015 Bargaining Team

I want to thank Keturah for taking the time to talk with me in the midst of her campaign. If you are in Kentucky District 42, please take a look at the issues Keturah Herron supports on her website or on Facebook. I believe she’s a powerful voice for young people, workers, and all Kentuckians. Get out there and vote! Early voting starts Thursday, February 17th, and runs through February 19th. Special Election Day is Tuesday, February 22. You can find more information here.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Amanda Bratcher is a proud member of CWA Local 3808 and District 3 Lead Activist for CWA Next Generation, the union’s program for young members.