With limited in-person access to state lawmakers and large rallies out of the picture due to the coronavirus pandemic, activists and lobbyists have had to get imaginative to attract elected officials’ attention to their causes during this year’s legislative session.
This week we saw two great examples of creativity in action at the Capitol.
Kentuckians for the Commonwealth — a grassroots organization that advocates for cleaner and safer forms of energy, tax reform, restoration of voting rights, social and economic justice, and environmental protection — hosted an event Tuesday called “With love, Kentucky.”
Originally scheduled around Valentine’s Day, participants made their opinions known through artistic yard signs and poems placed on the Capitol lawn Tuesday.
“It’s so important to lift all these topics up; it’s a big load of them, but maybe one will get through. The signs that people have made are either pro or con, to let the legislators know that we are here, we still have a voice,” said Frankfort resident Debra Graner, who is a member of the group. “Even if we can’t get in the building, we can make an impression.”
Hoping to appeal to state legislators’ sweet teeth, the Kentucky Infrastructure Coalition dished up rocky road ice cream with a message: “Stop serving us rocky roads, invest in Kentucky’s transportation.”
Composed of manufacturers, farmers, engineers, local leaders and more than 40,000 transportation workers, the Kentucky Infrastructure Coalition supports long-term, sustainable funding for all modes of transportation to maintain current infrastructure and future builds.
The group said the winter was hard on roads, creating potholes across the commonwealth, and it is advocating for lawmakers to increase the gas tax 10 cents per gallon. Currently, the state's gas tax is 26 cents per gallon. Kentucky's road construction fund receives 24.6 cents for each gallon pumped.
“We are not usually big on increased taxes, but in this case, we really feel like our roads are in bad shape and if we want to compete with other states in attracting investment in our economy, then we really need to increase that investment,” said John Cox, a coalition member.
Kudos to both of these two groups for showing that sometimes to get your point across you have to think outside of the box.