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State Representative Charles Booker announces intent to challenge McConnell in 2020 Senate race

By Tom Latek
Kentucky Today

A freshman state lawmaker from Louisville is the latest Democrat to announce their intent to explore a run against U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell in the 2020 race.

State Rep. Charles Booker was elected to the House in 2018, becoming the youngest black state legislator in 90 years. During his term, Booker has championed gun reform, voting rights, labor laws, and criminal justice; and passed bipartisan legislation to help Kentuckians get insulin in emergency situations.

State Rep. Charles Booker

“Since we sent Mitch McConnell to Washington, he’s become one of the richest politicians in America, but Kentucky has been left behind,” Booker said. “The more power Mitch McConnell has gained in D.C., the more we’ve lost here at home. But really, this isn’t about McConnell. This is bigger than any one person. This is bigger than party or politics. This isn’t the start of a campaign. This is the beginning of a movement. A movement of the people taking on the powerful. A movement of Kentuckians whose voices haven’t been heard.”

Booker, 35, grew up in one of the poorest zip codes in the state, and according to his campaign, understands the struggle just to get by. Both of his parents had to drop out of high school to take care of their brothers and sisters, and his mom often went without eating so he wouldn’t have to. As a diabetic paying as much as $1,000 a month for insulin, he also knows firsthand the healthcare crisis facing our country.

A graduate of the University of Louisville, Charles was faced with the stark reality of student debt, as he and his wife struggle to pay off their own loans before it’s time to pay for the education of their two daughters.

“For too long, big money has corrupted and distorted our politics, but we’re going to show that money can’t replace the power of people,” Booker said. “We’re going to show that Kentucky is not for sale. I’m here today to tell you that no matter where you’re from, or how much you have in your bank account, your voice matters, because we know, deep down, that we are truly all in this together.”

Booker announced he will hold a rally in Louisville on Tuesday, and that he plans to travel the state, meeting with Kentuckians, talking about real issues, and listening to their concerns as he decides about a run for Senate.

He says if he becomes a candidate for the U.S. Senate, he will be running on ideas like a Green New Deal, Medicare for All, breaking the cycle of generational poverty, giving workers the dignity of a living wage, and taxing billionaires. A steadfast ally of organized labor, Booker says he will always fight to give workers the power to bargain for a fair share of the wealth they create.

Other Democrats who have announced a campaign for the U. S. Senate are retired Marine fighter pilot Amy McGrath, retired Marine and farmer Mike Broihier, mental health counselor Jimmy Ausbrooks, health care advocate Steven Cox and Bennie Smith, a musician, promoter and event planner.

Kentucky Sports Radio host Matt Jones is also considering a run.

The only GOP opponent faces thus far is former State Representative Wesley Morgan of Richmond.

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