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A Letter to America from a Kentucky Organizer

Ysa Leon, Kelsey Sanders and Lucy Calderon attending an event for Charles Booker | Source: Lucy Calderon
Ysa Leon, Kelsey Sanders and Lucy Calderon attending an event for Charles Booker | Source: Lucy Calderon

Dear America,

When Hillary Clinton lost to Donald Trump in 2016, she said, “This loss hurts, but please never stop believing that fighting for what’s right is worth it.” She said, “It is--it is worth it. So we need you to keep up these fights now and for the rest of your lives.”

I have been trying to live by Clinton’s words, keeping it close and safe as a mantra to keep fighting. However, it is hard to do in a state like Kentucky which needs help more than most.

Not only is Kentucky one of the poorest states, but it also has two U.S. Senators that are doing nothing to help their constituents. Because of this, I have been working tirelessly to vote these two senators out and replace them with people who will actually listen.

In 2020 I took a gap semester to work for Amy McGrath, who ran against the infamous U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell.

Lucy Calderon with Amy McGrath | Source: Lucy Calderon
Lucy Calderon with Amy McGrath | Source: Lucy Calderon

The loss was heartbreaking. I felt embarrassed, helpless and scared for my state.

I said I would never give up on Kentucky, and that when it was time for our other infamous U.S. Senator, Rand Paul, to be up for re-election, I would be ready to fight again. This year, I worked on Charles Booker’s U.S. Senate Campaign to unseat Paul.

Lucy Calderon with Charles Booker | Source: Lucy Calderon
Lucy Calderon with Charles Booker | Source: Lucy Calderon

I learned from both campaigns the wants and needs of Kentuckians. There is so much you can learn from talking to hundreds of Kentuckians a day for months.

I learned that many Kentuckians don’t have the resources to know what is good for them politically. Many Kentuckians don’t have internet access. Or they’re struggling to put food on the table, to survive, that they don’t think about voting, but how can they when their basic needs aren’t being met?

I learned that Kentuckians feel helpless. They believe politics are already corrupt and working against them, so it is not worth getting involved.

I also learned a significant difference between the two campaigns.

People poured millions of dollars into McGrath’s race that when she lost so devastatingly, you all decided that Kentucky was “unwinnable” and that we are not worth it. You looked at polling numbers and then looked away. I believe the lack of support for Kentucky elections monetarily and socially were two reasons why Booker lost last week.

People say on social media that Kentuckians deserve their suffering because they voted for McConnell and Paul. That we deserve the flooding disaster that is still impacting Eastern Kentucky. As a Kentuckian that is trying to help, this is heartbreaking…where is humanity?

When Booker lost, I was embarrassed, devastated, and again in a state of grief.

I read a Tweet that said Kentucky is not a “red” state, it is a voter-disenfranchised state. It is a state that lacks resources. When the nation does not believe that Kentucky is “winnable,” Kentuckians tend to think it, too.

It is hard to keep fighting when everyone is counting us out. Still, I believe with each election cycle Kentucky improves. We are getting there.

I continue to live by Clinton’s words, and I still believe that Kentucky is worth fighting for.

But we cannot fight alone. Next election, please fight with us.


A Kentucky Organizer

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