The New Kentucky Project may have dipped off the radar in the months following its formal debut, but one of the founders, former Democratic state auditor Adam Edelen, says the group remains hard at work behind the scenes.
The brainchild of Edelen and Kentucky Sports Radio host Matt Jones, New Kentucky was formed last year with an eye toward rehabilitatng Democratic politics in a state that’s grown redder with each recent election.
Edelen reports the project has plenty on its docket.
"We've got a lot going, and it's all about trying to take the information that people need to win the kitchen counter debate, getting it to them," he explains. "It's about training people to step up and be the next generation of leaders in Kentucky because Lord knows we need them."
The goal is to rebuild grassroots efforts in all 120 counties, branching outside of the state's two remaining islands of blue in Lexington and Louisville. Edelen and company maintain voter discontent is reaching levels that demand a response.
"We are seeing dramatic interest because, I think, one of the natural reactions of the politics getting so extreme in Kentucky and nationally is that a lot of people who are moderate or progressive know that it's time to reengage and I think the New Kentucky Project is a useful vehicle for that engagement," he says.
In the pipeline is a statewide blog coming later this summer, along with training for members ahead of an expected special session on tax reform. Former independent gubernatorial hopeful Drew Curtis will begin the group’s series of “Tomorrow Talks” at the Lyric Theatre with a presentation on the impact of new technology.
Edelen says New Kentucky has attracted over 2,000 members while about 16,000 people have signed up for the group’s listserv.