Disputed State Senate Seat from Louisville

Posted by on January 9, 2005

Let me give alittle background here for you non-Kentuckians that may be reading this. First, Kentucky is probably second only to Louisiana for our political mechinations. It’s not at all uncommon for votes to be bought with all manner of promises, contraband, and cash. It’s not at all uncommon for our Senate and House to be embroiled in various tempests. In the summer of 1999 Republicans took control of the State Senate for the first time ever in what some called a “bloodless coup”. Many trees were killed to print the rhetoric following that event. Ever since politics in Kentucky has been a rough and tumble game. In 2003 Kentucky elected Ernie Fletcher to be Governor ending 32 years of Democratic “rule” in the Commonwealth.

Now then…in the last election a Senate seat was up for grabs in Louisville. Two fine ladies ran for the office. The day before the election Democrat Virginia Woodward sues in Jefferson Circuit Court to disqualify Republican Dana Seum Stephenson; claiming Stephenson didn’t meet state residency requirements and the brawl began. Read the full story here. Meanwhile…my rant continues…

I’m a pretty firm Republican but I also call things like I see them and this just smells funny. This legislative session is going to TRY to pass a budget for the Commonwealth. A novel idea for our fair legislators…we haven’t had a Budget for about 2 years relying instead on a “spending plan” that leaves the various agencies in the lurch when trying to come up with their own budgets. Anyway, this budget will require 23 votes in the Senate. Right now there are 22 votes. The seat to be filled by either Ms. Stephenson or Ms. Woodward is the pivotal seat. This is a gross violation of plain ole common sense. The Kentucky Constitution is there for a reason. It’s been in place since Reconstruction with a few amendments along the way. The Senate Republicans led by Senator David Williams are playing word games with the venerable document that would make Bill Clinton’s attorneys proud.

I’m particularly disappointed in my own Senator, Dan Kelly of Springfield Kentucky, who said:

“She resided in Kentucky,” said Senate Majority Leader Dan Kelly, R-Springfield. “Maybe it wasn’t enough for you,” he told Demo-crats, “but it was enough for me.”

Come on Senator, four of the six required years she lived, paid taxes, and VOTED in INDIANA! Now, as much as I would LOVE to cede Louisville to Indiana, for now Louisville is STILL IN KENTUCKY and Ms. Stephenson didn’t live here for the required time. Bob Hill of the Louisville Courier-Journal has a great piece filled with dripping sarcasm.

Perhaps Senators Williams and Kelly are taking a page from Senator Clinton and Ambassador Keyes’ playbook but that don’t mean it’s a good or even LEGAL play.

Ms. Stephenson should drop this fiasco, resign, and return to her apparently beloved Hoosier state.

Last modified on January 9, 2005

Categories: Local Kentucky
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5 Responses to “Disputed State Senate Seat from Louisville”

  1. Confessions of a Pilgrim » It’s time to be transparent Says:

    […] We simply cannot endure the ethics whining about Congressman Delay, Governor Fletcher, and Kentucky Senate President David Williams. How difficult is it to play the game without the APPEARANCE of impro […]

  2. Dan Kelly Says:

    Dear Pilgram:

    I wish you had seen the entire text of my remarks. Dana Stevenson meets the technical reqirements of Section 32 of the Constitution.

    Judge Wilett was simply wrong. He applied a standard of legal Domicle for six years. The constitution only reqires that the Senator have “resided in Kentucky for six years”. There is a big difference. As you know a person may have a legal Domicile, i. e. where he or she votes and claims legal residence and not actually live in that state (e.g. Soldiers, Business people like John Y Brown, jr. prior to running for election as Kentucky Governor).

    On the other hand a person may have multple residences like many of the Florida snowbirders with homes in multiple states. These people have regularly resided in more than one state. That is what Dana Stevenson did.

    She moved her Domicile to Indiana to qualify for resident tuition during the first 2&1/2 years of the six year period. However, during that same time, she continued to maintain the residense in Kentucky she bought 10 years ago and lives in now. She has continued to work there for the last 10 years as a teacher, coach and after school tutor for ACT prepartion. She paid State property and income taxes.

    She testifed before the Senate that a typical day consisted of reporting to work at 7:30 a.m., teaching a regular class load, staying after school to teach extended school sevices for struggling students, then home to her Kentucky residense to rest. At night she came back to school to coach untill 10:00 p.m., except those nights she went to Indiana for her Master’s Degree classes. When she coached late she spent the night in her Kentucky residense. When she attended classes in Indianna she stayed in her Indianna residense. On saturdays she gave ACT prep classes in Kentucky and on Sundays she attended church at her lifelong homechurch in Kentucky.

    On vacations and holidays she and her family liked to stay at the Kentucky residense because it had a pool.

    These are the facts that were enough for me. Remember the constitution only reqires that a legislative candidates Domicile or “citizenship” be in Kentucky “at the time of the election”.

    The Governor , on the other hand must have both Citizenship and reside in Kentucky for six years. John Y. Brown was considered to have met this standard even though he had very minimal contact with the state as an adult.

    Finally, the most critical factor is that Senator stevenson won the election. this is how we select our represenatives, not by last minute court challenges.

    The story of Dana living in Indianna was broadcast all over her disdrict after the last minute press conference by her opponent who had this information from a detective she hired back in the summer. Rather than bring it out early when Dana could possibly have been replaced, she waited to the last minute and then after the press conference used professional phonebanks to call the voters in the District and she still lost.

    The voters chose Dana. She meets the minimum standards of having resided in Kentucky for the previous six years by having owned a residense, paid taxes and maintained more than substantial contact with the state during that entire time. That was enough for me.

    Unfortunately the media has never presented all of the information before the Senate. Both major papers want a new election because they hoped a Democrat would win. But the people have already spoken for this term.

  3. Confessions of a Pilgrim » Senator Kelly Responds Says:

    […] n Local Kentucky (Friday June 10, 2005 at 8:12 pm) Comments Back in January I posted about the disputed Senate seat in Louisville currently held by Dana Seum Stephenson. I’m a small […]

  4. Confessions of a Pilgrim » It seems we have a disagreement… Says:

    […] n Local Kentucky (Sunday June 12, 2005 at 8:26 pm) Comments Senator Dan Kelly responded to my piece from January with a well founded argument in support of Senator Stephenson&# […]

  5. Confessions of a Pilgrim » Blog Archive » Thank you Mike Inman Says:

    […] was made aware that this blog was blocked shortly before 8am on June 21, 2006. I had posted five articles critical of Kentucky Republicans and the Fletcher administration at that time. With the […]

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