OWENSBORO, Ky. – It may be autumn across Kentucky but it feels like spring with the election of Steve Beshear as governor and Daniel Mongiardo as lt. governor, Nov. 6. They won the gubernatorial election despite the robo-calls sponsored by the GOP with singer Pat Boone endorsing Republican incumbent Gov. Ernie Fletcher and telling Kentuckians that Beshear supports gay rights. Robbie Rudolph, Fletcher’s running mate, whipping up homophobia called the Democratic team of Beshear /Mongiardo the “San Francisco treats.”

Beshear has been a friend to the LBGT community in the state and is a supporter of equality for all Kentuckians. On Election Day, Kentuckians voted against bigotry and for a pro-labor candidate.

Beshear/Mongiardo are pro-labor. Beshear says his cabinet will include a union secretary of labor. The flowering of union activities comes after a seemingly long winter of the Fletcher administration where union activities seemed to wither. Kentuckians, by their vote, seem to welcome the flowering of a new season.

Owensboro is a microcosm of the rest of Kentucky. In Owensboro, wages are kept low and people have been cautious about union activities for fear of losing their jobs and through misinformation. The winds of change are in the air and blowing within these gusts is the hinting scent of a new future.

In Owensboro (western Kentucky), the largest employer is Owensboro Medical Health Services (Owensboro’s only hospital), employing over 3,000 employees from Metropolitan Owensboro and the surrounding area. Besides OMHS there is Green River District Health (the Health Department), River Valley Behavioral Health (Mental Health Facility), numerous convalescent and senior facilities, and many other health field services. The medical profession dominates this area. Is it time for unions such as Service Employees International Union, the union that specializes in organizing hospital workers, home healthcare workers, and others, to begin their organizing activities? There is a potentially great harvest in this area.

Kentuckians grew tired of the pat and patronizing letter responses from the Fletcher administration to progressive petitions. We grew tired of neither being heard nor feeling respected. Kentuckians voted for change. We look to the future for responsible leadership.

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