THE NEW DEALER: Charles Booker is the candidate for eastern KY

By TJ Hensley

Well friends, politics is the sport with a clock that does not run out. We are now just four months into the Biden-Harris administration, but many are already thinking about the 2022 midterm elections. In addition to local, and state elections, the entire House of Representatives, and one-third of the U.S. Senate will be on the ballot come election day next year.  All of these races will be nail biters, because each race—both in the House and in the Senate—will be very important in determining whether the Democratic Party will keep their control of the government. With that in mind, let’s turn our attention to the 2022 Senate race right here in Kentucky, because it is shaping up to be a real barn burner.

Incumbent Senator Rand Paul appears to be abandoning his “libertarian” convictions, as he is running for a third term in the Senate. He is doing so despite the fact that his own Senate website, and his re-election website from 2016, both call for placing term limits on Senators and Representatives—but more on this later. Senator Paul is almost guaranteed to win the Republican primary, but as of this moment, no candidate has officially declared to seek the nomination of the Democratic Party to run against him in the general election. That being said, the Democratic Party already has their candidate, and so does eastern Kentucky.

Former State Representative Charles Booker—who just last year came within a hair of winning the Democratic nomination to run against Senator Mitch McConnell—has formed an exploratory committee to determine whether or not he will seek the nomination of the Democratic Party in 2022 to run against Rand Paul. Although forming such a committee is not the same thing as an official campaign announcement, doing so is often seen as the first step that candidates take before they officially announce a run for office. Although Rep. Booker has not officially declared his candidacy, he should do so, because he is the candidate for eastern Kentucky, and for all of Kentucky.

Charles Booker would bring the same work ethic, and the same concern for ordinary people—which we all saw from his service in the General Assembly—to the United States Senate. Over his two-year term, Rep. Booker worked tirelessly to make life better for all Kentuckians. He sponsored almost one-hundred and sixty Bills in the General Assembly. Among these bills, House Bill 39 would greatly increase wages for retail and service workers—who have helped keep or economy afloat during the pandemic. Rep. Booker co-sponsored House Bill 12 with one of our own Representatives—Rep. Adam Bowling—which capped the prescription cost for insulin at one-hundred dollars per month. His legislative record clearly shows him to be a lawmaker who is concerned with bettering the lives of working people, and others.

Charles Booker has not only proven to be an accomplished lawmaker, but he has also shown that he truly does care about the people in this state, including us right here in Harlan County. Two years ago—even before his first Senate campaign—when our miners and their families were protesting for their due pay, and against unfair treatment by corporate giants, Charles Booker was there handing out water, and encouraging us to keep up the fight. When he did run for Senate in 2020, Charles Booker didn’t ignore eastern Kentucky—the way that so many other national politicians have—he embraced us.

He took his campaign all across this region, to Corbin, Pikeville, Prestonsburg, Estill County, Letcher County, and more. He listened to our concerns, and he understood our struggles because he himself has felt the same pain that so many of us have felt. He understood that the same challenges which face his neighborhood in Louisville’s West End—high unemployment, lack of access to clean water, utilities that are almost unaffordable—are the same challenges which we in eastern Kentucky face today. He recognized what establishment politicians do not, that we in eastern Kentucky deserve to be part of the conversation, and that we deserve to have our needs met. We deserve to have our Senators actually work for us, not use us every six years to get votes so that they can keep their power.

That is why I believe that Charles Booker should declare his candidacy for the nomination of the Democratic Party to take on Senator Rand Paul in 2022. Charles Booker has proven that he is not some power-hungry politician, but that he is a dedicated public servant. Charles Booker would work for all of Kentucky—as he says—“from the hood to the holler”. Charles Booker is the candidate for eastern Kentucky.