Recently, State Rep. Denny Butler of Louisville took the bold step to officially switch his registration from Democrat to Republican. As the House Republican Floor Leader, I welcome Rep. Butler into our caucus with open arms.
I think it should be noted that Rep. Butler’s registration switch was not done for political convenience, however. In a statement released to the media, he cites a responsibility for government to be transparent and fiscally responsible. To those ends, he has continuously requested an independent audit of the KFFPF and KLEPF funds, which provide monetary resources for training and incentive pay for our fire and police departments across the commonwealth. As Rep. Butler says himself, that request was met with resistance and disregard from leaders of the Democrat Party.
In Speaker Stumbo’s bizarre election night speech, he cited that most carpenters he knows are Democrats. Yet, as any carpenter will tell you, a house can’t be built without a strong foundation. When the government’s foundation of transparency and fiscal responsibility begins eroding, so does the faith the citizens it serves has in it.
Rep. Butler has now joined a caucus dedicated to those principles. We, as House Republicans, fully understand that government is a construct of the people. We should serve as a voice and be accountable to the people who we represent. The citizens of the commonwealth of Kentucky deserve legislators who will shine light into the deepest recesses of state government to ensure that their tax dollars are being spent with care and with the same responsibility as they would their own personal finances.
The people of Kentucky are beyond frustrated, as was obvious in the elections earlier this month. They are tired of a small cadre of House Democrat leaders who obstinately refuse to address the major issues confronting our state. As tax reform studies lay dormant on shelves simply gathering dust, as state employee and teacher pension funds slowly dwindle away without proper funding, as funds which manage millions of dollars of state money go unaudited, the House Democrat leadership simply stick their heads in the sand, only occasionally popping up to propose putting our state into crippling levels of debt. Perhaps that is why Rep. Butler stated that his experience has demonstrated that accountability and transparency are both deficient within the Democrat Party and, along with a “lack of relevant leadership and a plan to move the commonwealth forward,” that is why he felt compelled to register with a political party more dedicated to putting the people of Kentucky first.
I welcome Rep. Butler to our ranks and extend the invitation to any other Kentuckian, elected or not, who is frustrated with the lack of direction of Kentucky’s Democrats to officially join the Republican Party and partner with us as we seek to address the most pressing issues and make our commonwealth a better place in which to live!
House Republican Floor Leader Jeff Hoover, R-Jamestown, is the longest serving House Republican Floor Leader in Kentucky history and serves the people of Clinton, Cumberland, Russell and part of Pulaski counties in the 83rd District. This op-ed was previously published in the Grayson County News Gazette, a Civitas Media publication.