AG candidate Stevenson hits the stump in Jessamine County

Published 9:55 am Wednesday, September 27, 2023

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Last weekend, nearly every Democrat on the Kentucky General Election ticket showed up to Jessamine County’s Blue Building for the county’s first Democratic political rally of the season.

The event had a healthy crowd that was louder than its size, throwing fists in the air and becoming louder with every action statement made by the governor and other state candidates.

Gov. Andy Beshear and his Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman gave fiery speeches with a unique energy reserved for events like these, only 40-something days away from election day.

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Beshear encouraged those in attendance to vote for Democrats down the state ticket, including himself and Coleman, Michael Bowman for treasurer, Kim Reeder for state auditor, and the woman of the hour, Pamela Stevenson for attorney general, who faces Republican challenger Russell Coleman in November.

Pamela Stevenson is finishing her second term as state representative of the 43rd district in Kentucky. She is the first Black woman to be nominated for Kentucky Attorney General. With four generations of Kentuckians in her bloodline, she calls herself “Kentucky’s daughter.”

Stevenson has a long list of qualifications for the position of attorney general, also known as the state’s top prosecutor. Her campaign website states Stevenson is one of the most qualified candidates to ever run for the position.

She has a legal career that spans four decades and several continents. She is a retired Air Force colonel and worked as a J.A.G. attorney, advising army commanders on domestic and foreign laws that influence military operations. A J.A.G. attorney also reviews plans and guides the laws of war and the rules of engagement. She is also an ordained Baptist minister and has a nonprofit offering free legal service to veterans.

“I have been a public servant all of my life. From high school, we didn’t have a ballet school in west Louisville. I started one in my parents’ basement– to the Air Force and back to coming home from the Air Force and opening up a nonprofit. My parents have taught me that we must make the community better. Kentuckians deserve the best, and I am the best. I practice internationally, nationally, state and local. And I have a heart for the people. I focus on one question: What will make Kentucky families thrive? For me, it’s not about power or money. It’s about Kentucky continuing the trajectory that it’s going on with Gov. Beshear,” Stevenson said.

Stevenson has previously stated that she believes in fighting for all rights, even the ones she does not like.

This is a pillar of her platform- protecting all of America’s rights – including the right to privacy for all people, including transgender people and women and the right to bear arms.

“I believe In the whole Constitution—all of the Bill of Rights. The government was built for the people by the people to serve the people. It was never intended that the government would tell you how to live your life. It was to provide a structure for us to all live together. So, millions of military men and women died for the promise of America. We take an oath every year to defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic,” Stevenson said. Every year, little kids across America pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, which stands as one nation under God, indivisible with liberty and justice for all. Those principles are the bedrock of who we are as Americans, and we must line our actions up with those words.”

Stevenson has also focused on doing anything she can to work on Kentucky’s substance use issue and, more specifically, the opioid problem. She said state politicians must first listen to every county’s county attorney and jailer because “It’s not a one-size-fits-all all problem.”

Recalling a tour of a recovery center in Morehead, Stevenson said that some of the individuals in recovery told her they were “grateful for a second chance” and that they “wanted to live their best lives.”

“We have to have a short-term plan to cover the recovery needs of people who are addicted and a long-term plan to make sure it never gets that far,” she said.

Another pillar of Stephenson’s campaign is partnering with state, county and city law enforcement agencies.

“We have got to make sure that the police forces of today are trained, have money, and get the right salary, so they can do the things that are needed today, not the police force of 100 years ago, the police force of today. And that takes a little bit of money and a little bit of training. Things are different now. When I was in elementary school, the biggest thing I had to worry about was a spitball. And now we have elementary school children taking D.N.A. tests in case their parents have to identify them because of a mass shooting. We’ve got to update what police officers have and secondly, we have to have wrap-around services. We don’t have enough mental health services. We don’t have enough medical services. Every person is entitled to food, shelter, medical care, and education. That’s all. Anything else you can get. But if we put a man on the moon, then we ought to be able to provide every Kentuckian with those four things,” Stevenson said.

If Stevenson were elected attorney general, this would make her Kentucky’s first Black woman elected to the office. While reflecting on this possibility, Stevenson recalls every other obstacle she’s faced to get to where she is today, having many firsts under her belt.

In the military, Stevenson served for 37 years in 11 counties.

“I went to places in war zones, I went to the Middle East where they didn’t necessarily appreciate short black women, I went to places where I didn’t speak the language, and I could not say, ‘they don’t like me, so I can’t get what America needs.’” Stevenson said. “I’ve been experienced in listening for what it takes to create a viable solution, not just any solution to say you did something, a viable solution. And each and every time in all of those circumstances in the Air Force, I was the first Black this, the first Black that, and the only reason that’s important is so that there can be 20. When my great-great-great-grandkids are talking to their kids, they can say, ‘Your great-great-great-great-great-grandmother was first, but now we’ve had 20!” this world was built for every voice to be heard, and when everybody comes to the table, and we craft solutions that fit the community, everybody wins.”

Several members of the audience said they were enthusiastic to cast their vote for Stevenson.

“I thought it was wonderful. I thought everybody I heard had such good ideas and such good enthusiasm, and I wish a larger crowd could have been here,” said Grace Woods, who commented to Stevenson. “Well, I know who I’m voting for. Well, I just liked (Pamela Stevenson’s) enthusiasm, sincerity, transparency, and I think she’d do a great job.”

Another individual said he did not know who Stevenson was before attending the rally, but he had opinions after hearing her and the rest of the candidates speak.

“I’ve been to events here before for Democratic candidates, and I’ve never seen this level of enthusiasm. It was encouraging.” Gregg Clendenin said.” I’m concerned about the tone of political talk in this country, and I share (Gov. Beshear’s) concern about the emphasis on hating people rather than helping people that he mentioned. I didn’t know Pam Stevenson before today. She seems like an excellent candidate for attorney general, and she’s outlined her qualifications. I believe that any candidate that doesn’t question the national republican party’s tone and the character of their former president and future candidate shouldn’t be voted for cause it would just be enabling of the tone set in the national campaigns.