Ins, maybes and likelys

By BERRY CRAIG

AFT Local 1360

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times" must be the most versatile line in world literature. You can apply it to almost any situation.  

Charles Dickens' immortal opener from A Tale of Two Cities is an apt description for the current state of national and Kentucky politics, if you pack a union card as I do.

But I can think of two other memorable quotations that fit the Bluegrass State: 

"These are the times that try men's [and women's] souls." -- Thomas Paine.

"Now is the winter of our discontent" -- The future Richard III in Shakespeare's famous tragedy.

-- The Republican union-busters clung to their state House and Senate supermajorities on Nov. 6. The Democrats netted only 2 House seats; the GOP flipped a Senate seat.

-- By a 4-3 vote on Nov. 15, the state Supreme Court rejected the union challenge to Kentucky's "right to work" law.

-- It looks as if the GOP juggernaut is gassed up to roll over unions, workers and public education when the General Assembly convenes next month.

"The Kentucky Supreme Court and the Kentucky General Assembly are not going to determine the fate of Kentucky’s unions and workers, who will continue to fight for fair wages, benefits and job security,” warned Bill Londrigan, Kentucky State AFL-CIO president.

No doubt, the Republican union-busters would scoff at Londrigan or accuse him of whistling past the graveyard.

But Republicans who think unions are toast would do well to recall a famous quip attributed to Mark Twain: "The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.”

The union-busters have been preaching our funeral for years. But we're still here.

Anyway, it won't be long until newspapers and TV news shows start running year-end wrap-up stories. We decided to get an early start. 

"IT WAS THE BEST OF TIMES, IT WAS THE WORST OF TIMES"

BEST: The Democrats flipped the U.S. House and will thus be able to thwart the Trump-McConnell anti-worker agenda. 

WORST: Mitch McConnell is still Senate majority leader.

BEST: Kentucky State AFL-CIO-endorsed Rep. John Yarmuth, D-Louisville, Kentucky's only Democratic lawmaker in Washington, is in line to chair the House Budget Committee. Yarmuth is one of labor's best friends on Capitol Hill. 

WORST: Donald Trump is still president. 

BEST: Union-hating Republicans Jonathan Shell of Lancaster and Phil Moffett of Louisville lost their Kentucky House seats--Shell, the House GOP leader, came up short in the primary; Moffett, on Nov. 6.  

WORST: The nationwide Democratic tsunami was barely a trickle in races for the Kentucky legislature.

IN, MAYBE, LIKELY

IN: Koch Brothers-backed, union-despising Republican Gov. Matt Bevin says he's game for a second term. (Apparently, though, he's looking for a new running mate.) Attorney Gen. Andy Beshear and House Minority Leader Rocky Adkins are the Democratic candidates so far. Beshear and Adkins have enjoyed strong union support. 

MAYBE: Democrat Amy McGrath, who lost to U.S. Rep. Andy Barr, R-Lexington, on Nov. 6, is supposedly mulling a shot at the governor's mansion. But she might not meet the residency requirement.

MAYBE: Last summer, state Rep. Attica Scott, D-Louisville, said she was "seriously considering" a try for governor. Likewise, Democrat Colmon Elridge, executive assistant to former Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear (Andy's father), declared he's "seriously considering" a bid. A Scott or an Elridge candidacy would be historic; they are African Americans. 

MAYBE/LIKELY: Former state auditor Adam Edelen is reportedly poised to join Beshear and Adkins for the gubernatorial primary.

INS AND MAYBES FOR AG

Former Democratic House Speaker and Attorney Gen. Greg Stumbo, a native Floyd Countian, is "looking at" a campaign for Andy Beshear's soon-to-be finished job. State Sen. Whitney Westerfield, R-Hopkinsville, has said he'll run for AG. Beshear beat him in 2015. 

The Democratic Attorney General's Association reportedly has, or maybe has, contacted, at least a quintet of Kentuckians with "esq." next to their names: Rep. Chris Harris, Pikeville; Sen. Morgan McGarvey, Louisville; former Rep. Sannie Overly, Paris; Jennifer Moore, Louisville, founder and chair of Emerge Kentucky; and Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes. (She and Beshear are term-limited.)

Stumbo was AG in 2004-2008 and was a burr under scandal-plagued GOP Gov. Ernie Fletcher's saddle blanket. Doubtless he or any other Democrat would relish the chance to hold Bevin's feet to the fire.  

Candidates for the Democratic and Republican primaries have until 4 p.m. (Frankfort time) Jan. 29 to file. 

The primary is May 21 and the election is Nov. 5.