- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Recent editorials from Kentucky newspapers:


May 18

The Daily News of Bowling Green on the Kentucky presidential primaries:

Kentucky held its primary election Tuesday. The voters have spoken, and their votes should be respected.

In the Democratic race for president between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, Clinton appears to have won a narrow victory in the Bluegrass state, although as of Wednesday morning, The Associated Press considered the race too close to call. If Clinton’s slim margin holds, she deserves to be congratulated on her victory.

Sanders and Clinton both campaigned hard in Kentucky, including recent stops in Bowling Green, and they should be commended for a hard-fought primary.

In the Republican primary for U.S. Senate, incumbent Sen. Rand Paul of Bowling Green won in a landslide against two little-known opponents, Stephen Slaughter and James R. Gould. We congratulate Paul on his victory, and we applaud his challengers for being part of the process and putting themselves and their visions and ideas out there.

In the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate, Lexington Mayor Jim Gray was the winner. We congratulate Gray on his win and also applaud his opponents, Rory Houlihan, Ron Leach, Sellus Wilder, Grant T. Short and Tom Recktenwald, for throwing their hats in the ring during this primary process and offering their ideas to the people of Kentucky.

There were also two state office primaries Tuesday in our coverage area. In the 23rd District of the state House, which consists of Barren County and the Three Forks area of Warren County, Glasgow City Council member Joe Trigg and Glasgow attorney Danny J. Basil faced off on the Democratic ticket. Basil was the winner of this race, and we congratulate him on a hard-fought race. We also commend Trigg for participating in the political process and being a candidate in this race. Former Barren County High School Principal Steve Riley and Freddie Joe Wilkerson ran as Republicans in this primary. Riley was victorious, and we congratulate him. We also applaud Wilkerson for being involved in the process by putting his hat in the ring.

In the primary for the 16th House District, which consists of Todd, Logan and Warren counties, Republicans Ami Brooks and Jason Petrie faced off. Petrie was victorious in his quest to challenge incumbent Democrat state Rep. Martha Jane King in November. We congratulate Petrie on his primary win and also commend Brooks for participating in the electoral process.

Now that the primary is over, the candidates will focus on running their campaigns into the months leading up to Election Day in November. We are hopeful all of the candidates will run respectful campaigns moving forward.

It is a real shame that only a little more than 20 percent of Kentucky voters went to the polls during this primary. By not showing up to vote, they are committing a disservice to those who have sacrificed to give them the right to vote. For those who didn’t vote, we will simply say you really don’t have a right to complain about the results.

Once again, congratulations to all the winners and also a salute to those who put themselves out there to be a part of the process.

This is what democracy is all about.




May 14

The Lexington Herald-Leader on gender identity and bathroom bills:

The movement to ban students from using restrooms that conform to their gender identity is a solution in search of a problem. There is no evidence, no data that these young people present a threat to their fellow students or anyone else.

However, it’s a solution that can cause lots of problems and a great deal of pain.

Transgender people are much more likely to be victims of sexual violence. Forcing them to use restrooms set aside for them or for those of the gender with which they don’t identify is akin to placing a target on their backs.

Henry Brousseau hated using the unisex bathroom in his public high school in Louisville before it adopted a policy allowing students to use the restroom of their gender identity. Born a girl, he had identified as a male for three years when he spoke to a Kentucky Senate panel last year.

“I was outing myself every time I had to go in there,” he said. Using that unisex bathroom put him in the crosshairs of potential harassers, marking him as something other than the “normal kid” he wanted to be.

Henry’s concerns are at the heart of the U.S. Justice Department’s battle with North Carolina over HB2, the law just passed in a special session to overrule a fairness ordinance in Charlotte and compel public schools to make students use the bathrooms of the gender identity assigned to them at birth.

The Justice Department sued North Carolina, saying HB2 violates civil rights. Friday, Justice joined the Department of Education in a joint letter to schools saying they must assure all students, including transgender students, “can attend school in an environment free from discrimination based on sex.” Implicit is that schools that violate this principle risk losing federal funding.

This is not a departure from previous federal guidance, nor is it new to many schools. Atherton High in Louisville, where Henry attended, adopted a policy in 2014 allowing students to use the bathroom of their gender identity. Atherton principal Thomas Aberli told the Louisville Courier-Journal Friday that the new policy had been a “non-issue.” ”Students feel safe and that we value the diversity in our school and see it as a strength rather than divisive.”

Aberli acknowledged that changing mindsets about gender identity can be difficult but “as leaders we must do our research” to understand the issue and the impact of discrimination on students.

Not feeling accepted takes a tremendous toll. Transgender kids attempt and commit suicide at a greater rate than their peers, and they miss school more often.

If it weren’t so serious, these bathroom bills would be ridiculous. Politicians whine that a bullying federal government is trying to force its values on states while state legislatures try to force their values on their own cities.

And of course these laws are unenforceable. Would a bathroom monitor stand outside every door, demanding a valid copy of a birth certificate or inspect genitalia before kids can enter? Or should students use their cellphones to spy on their peers inside stalls?

But neither human dignity nor common sense is enough to stop those who want to raise money or bolster political careers by demonizing transgender students who just want to be themselves.




May 13

The Daily Independent on Ashland Community and Technical College

The record number of 710 students who received degrees or certificates from Ashland Community and Technical College last week not only is excellent news for the new graduates, but also for this community that continues to have a shortage of residents lacking at least some college education. That one statistic has a tremendous negative impact on efforts to attract industries that offer high-paying jobs with benefits but also require an education beyond high school.

The record number of graduates also is a bit surprising because ACTC and most other community and technical colleges in Kentucky have experienced declining enrollment in recent years. The fact the local two-year college is producing more graduates with fewer students is an indication students with the desire and ability to succeed in college are remaining in school while more marginal students are either dropping out or not enrolling.

Because they offer open enrollment to anyone who graduated from a Kentucky high school, the community and technical students have always attracted students who lacked the skills to succeed in college. Many are simply attending because they can get government money to do so or they have been unable to find a decent job. With remedial education classes and a lot of work and determination, some of these students overcome their deficiencies and become successful students. However, most don’t and leave school with more debt and little to show for it.

The record 710 students who received degrees or certificates are those all colleges most want. They have used their time and money wisely in school and we hope they are rewarded with a good career. Every graduate is an asset to this community. We congratulate them.



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