In a surprising move House Minority Floor Leader Joni Jenkins, D-Shively, has withdrawn from her re-election contest.
Democratic candidate Beverly Chester-Burton, of Shively, Kentucky, filed for the Democratic primary race on Tuesday, the day of the candidate filing deadline. No Republican candidate filed for the election. Chester-Burton is the first African-American Mayor of Shively, and a teacher at Stuart Elementary School and a Director within the Jefferson County Teachers Association.
“I have long advocated for a General Assembly that looks like Kentucky, so when minorities became the majority population in the newly redrawn 44th House District, I did not want to be a barrier to a person of color joining the Kentucky House of Representatives,” Jenkins said in a statement. “That’s why I withdrew my candidacy today.”
“I have loved representing my beautifully diverse district for many years, and will be forever grateful that the voters gave me the chance to serve them,” Jenkins continued. “I will finish my term the same way I started my first: Fighting for those I represent and for a better commonwealth.
“There has been no greater honor than leading this incredible House Democratic Caucus and serving with so many wonderful people over the years. It has been said many times, but your fellow legislators really do feel like family, and I’ve long known that to be true.”
Jenkins has served in the state House of Representatives since first being elected in 1994. She is the first woman to lead a legislative caucus in the Kentucky General Assembly.