Buddy Wheatley makes six family members in the May primary

By BERRY CRAIG

AFT Local 1360

Charles "Buddy" Wheatley is one of a half-dozen members of our union family that the Kentucky State AFL-CIO has unanimously endorsed in the May 22 Democratic primary.

Because Wheatley has no opposition in the primary, he will automatically advance to the November general election against the incumbent 65h District Rep. Jordan Huizenga, R-Covington. Huizinga has no primary foe.

Wheatley's website says:

"Buddy Wheatley’s 20 year career as a Covington firefighter is part of a family legacy which spans four generations.  Along with his brother, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather, the Wheatley family represents nearly 100 years of firefighting service to the people of Covington.

"Born on Pleasant Street in the Eastside neighborhood, Buddy and his family (which would eventually be a household of 14) moved to Parkway Avenue in West Covington, just a few feet from Devou Park.  After completing grade school at St. Ann’s School in West Covington, Buddy graduated from Ludlow High School in 1979.  He received his first BA from the University of Kentucky in 1983, majoring in journalism; a second BA in English from Northern Kentucky University in 1997. 

"He was an award-winning journalist with the Kenton and Boone County Recorder newspapers before responding to the call of public service, thereby switching careers to join the Covington Fire Department in 1988.  Buddy became active in the Covington Professional Firefighters IAFF Local 38 early in his fire department career, eventually serving as Secretary-Treasurer for eight years, and went on to become Secretary-Treasurer of the Kentucky Professional Firefighters.

"Buddy finished his firefighter career serving as Fire Chief of the Covington Fire Department from 2005-2008.  He attended NKU’s Salmon P. Chase Law School while serving as Fire Chief.  After passing the bar exam in 2009, Buddy launched a career as a solo labor attorney, working on behalf of public sector labor unions.  He currently serves as union co-chair of the American Bar Association’s Section of Labor and Employer State and Local Government Bargaining Committee. 

"Buddy takes inspiration from his amazing late mother, Doris Jane Wheatley.  While running a household with 12 children and a firefighter husband, Doris still managed to work full time in Covington at the Monarch Tool and Dye Co. on East 4th street.  Her unalterable commitment to family, faith, and community, and total giving of herself for others are the characteristics Buddy hopes to emulate most as your state representative."

Besides Wheatley, the state AFL-CIO Executive Board also voted unanimously to back Richard Becker, Alton Cunningham, James DeWeese, Eldon Renaud and Dave Suetholz.

Becker, from Louisville, is an organizer with SEIU/NCFO 32BJ. He is one of three Democrats seeking the party nod for the 35th House District seat being vacated by the retiring Jim Wayne, a veteran Democratic lawmaker. 

Cunningham, who lives in Benton, retired in 2016 as business representative for Painters and Allied Trades District 91. He wants to succeed 6th District Rep. Will Coursey, a Democrat, who is running for Marshall County judge-executive. Cunningham has a pair of primary opponents.

DeWeese, a Bardstown resident and UPS ground agent with Louisville-based Teamsters Local 89, is again running to be the Democratic candidate in House District 50. He faces one primary challenger.

Renaud, who is retired, was president and/or chairman of UAW 2164 in Bowling Green for 25 years and 2nd Congressional District UAW Political Chairman for about 12 years. He wants to follow to Frankfort former Democratic House Speaker Jody Richards, who represented the 20th District for many years.  Renaud has four rivals in the primary. 

Suetholz, who practices law in Louisville and lives in Eminence, is running for his party's nomination in the 20th senatorial district. He has no primary opponent. 

Said Bill Londrigan, state AFL-CIO president: “As a direct result of the attacks on unions and workers in this and the previous legislative session, union members and supporters have decided to take action to reverse the anti-union, anti-worker onslaught and run for elected office.  When union members are elected, workers and unions can count on them to stand up against those who will undermine wages, health care, job security and union rights.  I would urge all those who work for a living, are retired or giving care to others to support these candidates because they will stand with you!”