Op-Ed from Republican Party of Kentucky Chair Mac Brown
On a cold day in March 1854, a small group of activists met in Ripon, Wisconsin to start a political movement. It began as most political coalitions do: a group of people with diverse views, but united in opposition to the status quo: a Democrat Party dominated by pro-slavery interests. This small, yet strong, group of people, motivated by the Founding generation’s ideas about American liberty, reached back to the Founders for their name. They called themselves “Republicans.”
This has been a banner year for the Kentucky contingent of those Republicans. During this year’s legislative session, Republicans passed an income tax cut for Kentuckians, allowing them to keep more of their hard-earned paychecks during Democrat-caused inflation. It put Kentucky on a responsible path to eliminating the income tax entirely, provided the state meets certain budget triggers. Additionally, Republicans passed ethics reforms to strengthen accountability in government, made historic investments in public education while expanding educational opportunities for students, and invested into the Budget Reserve Trust Fund so that our state has the necessary resources in the future to navigate the many needs of our people when pandemics, tornadoes, and floods strike.
This year, Republicans in Kentucky hit a significant milestone for Mr. Lincoln: we finally outpaced Democrats in voter registration for the first time in the history of the Commonwealth. This did not happen overnight; it has been a long time coming. In 1984, when voters first sent Leader McConnell to the United States Senate, the state had 1.3 million registered Democrat voters, compared to 525,000 Republicans. That was more than a two-to-one voter registration advantage for Democrats, otherwise known as “a steep hill to climb.” For generations, Republicans in Kentucky were like the Republicans in Ripon in 1854: lost in the political wilderness. But after many years of work, we’ve grown Republican voter registration and, as of this month, we now have 30,000 more registered Republicans than Democrats.
If there was any question about whether Kentuckians liked what we were doing, they answered it this November. In this fall’s election, we didn’t lose a single incumbent Republican in the state legislature, and we defeated 5 incumbent Democrats in rural, urban, and suburban areas of Kentucky. By improving our supermajorities in the state legislature, Kentuckians have put their faith in our Republican values and our Republican leaders to keep up the work of transforming our state. We also re-elected all members of our congressional delegation and elected a historic number of county judge executives and magistrates at the local level, growing Republican leadership across the state.
Even with these milestones behind us, we know we cannot rest on our laurels. Democrats should be on notice. After decades of Democrat rule, Kentucky Republicans are committed to putting Kentucky on the right track by advocating common sense, conservative solutions, and putting our ideas to work for Kentuckians at every level of government. With inflation roaring and our workforce participation rate sagging, we need Republican policies now more than ever.
As we look ahead to the new year, we turn our attention to electing Republican candidates to every office in 2023 and electing a Governor who will work with the legislature to move our state forward. Then, like the Republicans in Ripon, we can continue delivering solutions for the families, businesses, and workers of Kentucky.
Mac Brown serves as Chairman of the Republican Party of Kentucky.