Senator Kelly Responds

Posted by on June 10, 2005

Back in January I posted about the disputed Senate seat in Louisville currently held by Dana Seum Stephenson. I’m a small little blog out here so I honestly didn’t expect a response from either Senator Williams or Kelly. I was also depending on RELIABLE news from the various media outlets. My normal approach is read as much as I can, find the common threads, read between those lines, and PRAY that something is accurate amongst them. Apparently this time I was misled in my practice…tortured as it is. Senator Kelly sent me a comment! Thank you Senator! Allow me to respond a bit here…

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

I also wish I had had your comments in context. The way the media presented it you sounded like a smug politician playing fast and loose with your power. I was shocked at the time that you would be that cavalier with the position that we, your constituents, had entrusted you with. I didn’t think that was you. We’ve never met but I follow you on the Senate floor and those comments, as presented, were quite a suprise.

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

That is an excellent differentiation and your reasoning is sound. Former President Bush did the same thing having legal domicile in Texas while having a residence in Maine.

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.

This is where we may diverge on our opinions. While I understand the reason she did it I’m not sure I agree with that reason. Ms. Stephenson had to know she was interested in maybe running for the Senate or some elected office. I’m all about transparency these days since the “loyal” opposition seem to be gunning for anything even remotely conservative. Just as Governor Fletcher has failed the transparency test with this Transportation debacle, Ms. Stephenson also failed the test. As you well know Senator, in politics there’s the TRUTH and there’s the TRUTH as the media will spread it. Since the media “informs” the public of a candidates positions and short comings, both Governor Fletcher and Ms. Stephenson should have known that they had to be as clean and proper as possible. Ms. Woodward’s tactics surprises no one. She saw an opportunity to sway things her way and she took it, probably under the advice from someone out on US 60 ( that’s where the Ky Dem Party HQ is for you non-Kentuckians).

From what you have told us Ms. Stephenson was perfectly legal and moral in her decision to take advantage of resident tuition in Indiana. Unfortunately it opened her up to a mess. A mess that could have been avoided.

Governor Fletcher was doing the same thing that every Governor before him has done. A new governor wants people he trusts in positions of authority. No problem there. Unfortunately, it has always had the stench of favoritism whether it was Governor Shelby or Governor Patton. Governor Fletcher had to understand that the “loyal” opposition was going to be gunning for him. Particularly when one considers who was elected to the positions of Auditor and AG. Everyone in Frankfort knew that something exciting was going to happen. Why couldn’t the Governor keep things squeaky clean? No appointments of friends without some form of open screening of the candidates. The latest appointment is the General Counsel John Roach to the Supreme Court. I’m sure there is no doubt to Mr. Roach’s qualifications for this post. Would there have been a huge problem by allowing Mr. Roach to go through a process similiar to any other State Employee for the purposes of determining fitness and merit? Perhaps a nod from the KBA?

Ah well…that’s for another post entirely…moving on…

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”.
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.

In light of what you have revealed to us, I agree. This was a typical tactic of the “loyal” opposition. US Senator Boxer would be proud. I apologize to you for placing your name in the same column as President Clinton. I’ll have to drive to Springfield and mow your lawn or something. 😉

Your last paragraph is beautiful and really hits the nail on the head for so many of the tempests that swirl around Frankfort:

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

And here’s hoping they continue to speak Senator. Thanks for stopping by!

Last modified on June 10, 2005

Categories: Local Kentucky

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3 Responses to “Senator Kelly Responds”

  1. D.C. Finegold Sachs Says:

    I’m afraid that you have been duped by the senator. He has used a common rhetorical trick, replacing one word with a similar word, to try to get around a complex legal issue.

    As an attorney (although not licenced in KentuckY), a political reporter, and someone who has argued residency cases before a state supreme court I can tell you without doubt that Stephenson is not was legal residence for the required period of time. Residency is a two part test. You have to have domicile and place of abode. A place of abode is simply a place to live (a house, apartment, or even a card board box in some states) and domicile is the intent to stay. One can have multiple places of abode, but can only have one domicile at a time. That reason Stephenson did not meet the constitutional requirement is because she did not meet both conditions.

    By requesting in-state tuition, for a that period of time her domicile was in Indiana and not Kentucky. Even if her long term goal was to return to Kentucky, for that period of time, her domicile was Indiana.

  2. Dan Kelly Says:

    Sorry Fiengold, you made the same mistake as judge Willet. Section 32 does not require legislative candidates to have both Domicile and to “have resided in” Kentucky for the six year period.

    I have a challenge for you. Look at the residency requirement for a candidate for Governor which requires that the candidate be both a “citzen and resident of kentucky” for the six year period. then look at the language in section 32 regarding legislators which only requires that the candidate be a citizen of Kentucky “at the time of the election”, and explain the difference.

    As a lawyer, you are aware of the legal maxim that statute writers don’t use different terms unless they intend a different meaning. Also, the language regarding legislative candidates was once the same as the governor, but was specifically changed in the latest version of the constitution. Again the maxim is that the words weren’t changed unless the legislators intended a different meaning.

    I can easily imagine a circumstance that led to the change. A Kentuckian may have lived in the state for a decade while still maintaining a citizenship (domicile)in our mother state of Virgina. the constitution writers felt that such an individual should be able to run for the Kentucky Legislature so long as the citizenship(domicile) was officially changed by the “time of the election”. Under the Kentucky constitution if you have resided in Kentucky for six years you can be a candidate so long as you have legal domicile at the “time of the election”.

    Senator Stevenson restored her domicile to Kentucky three and a half years prior to the election, and has continuously “resided in” Kentucky all of her life. Her residential contact with Kentucky was far greater than that of Governor John Y. Brown Jr., and he had the higher standard under the constitution.

    There is no intent to dupe anyone here. If you don’t think Judge Willet can get it wrong, read Justice William Kellers opinion in the Kentucky Supreme Court. He is a highly respected Jurist from Lexington, appointed by Governor Patton, and has written the only opinion so far by a Supreme Court Justice. He says both Judge Willet and Judge Graham got it dead wrong when they ignored 100 years of clear precedent and took jurisdiction of the case after the election was over. He agreed with the Senate in our claim that once the voters have chosen their legislative candidate only the Chamber to which the candidate has been elected is entitled to judge ” the elections, returns and qualifications” of the presumptive winning candidate.

    If Judge Graham and Willet had followed the constitution as Justice Keller plainly sees it we would not be in the mess we are in now and the person elected by the voters would be serving as a fully qualified Senator in accordance with the decision of the Senate.

  3. Confessions of a Pilgrim » Kentucky State Government blocks access to some blogs Says:

    […] Notably, who has been very critical of the Fletcher Administration because of the Merit System scandal. I haven’t been exactly friendly to this administration either because of the same scandal and my blog is no long accessible within the state’s network. […]

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