The following comment was written by Beth Silvers of Union. She is the author of I Think You’re Wrong (but I’m listening): A Guide to Grace-Filled Political Conversation and co-host of the Pantsuit Politics podcast.
All 435 members of the House of Representatives must apply for their seats this year. Conventional wisdom tells us that only 90 of these races are actually competitive. Within this category, only 28 races are considered faults by most commentators. Kentucky’s Fourth Congressional District is considered the safe seat of Republicans – regardless of the candidates’ records, experience, and skills, the Republican candidate should win. This is a travesty that is helping so many Americans feel that their voices don’t matter. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Northern Kentucky bucked expectations in Kentucky’s last gubernatorial race, and we should do it again in November.
The representative Thomas Massie has been working in this district since 2012. I really appreciate this service. Being a member of Congress has never been an easy task. The increasing polarization of the partisans, which makes the seat of Representative Massie “safe”, also makes it almost impossible for the congress to conduct the business of the people. Unfortunately, Rep Massie is leading in a way that divides, not unites, and blocks rather than encouraging the solutions. According to govtrack.us (a non-partisan organization), Representative Massie Kentucky is the least effective member of Congress. In 2019, he introduced 0 bills that were dismissed from committee fewer than his colleagues, held the lowest number of committee positions, and were the most absent from votes.
Northern Kentucky should have one of the most effective representatives of Kentucky. Fortunately, we have the option to choose a moderate Democrat to hit this moment. Dr. Alexandra Owensby has firsthand experience of many of our most pressing challenges. She is a nurse and sees patients during the Covid-19 pandemic. Before starting her career in healthcare, she worked in restaurant management and gave her an understanding and heart for small businesses. She is a single mother of two and we can count on her to make childcare and education a priority. She has experienced financial stress in her life and has worked to overcome difficult circumstances.
Dr. Owensby provides regular Covid-19 updates via email. In these updates, she’s demonstrating the kind of leadership I think she’d bring to Congress. She relies on data rather than exaggeration. She informs the local resources and shows a clear understanding of our district. It highlights the work of nonprofits like Be Concerned. It communicates clearly and in detail where it gets its information from. She speaks with respect about civil servants – both Democrats and Republicans. This is the kind of representation we need to get our children back to school safely and sustainably, to help our economy recover, and to ensure that public health information is research supported and calmly communicated.
Dr. Owensby’s consistent, competent leadership is far more representative of the northern Kentucky I know than the ineffective and often inflammatory rhetoric of Rep Massie. We should show professional commentators that no seat is “certain”, that our votes must be earned, and that Northern Kentucky values serious, collegial, and thoughtful representation in Congress by welcoming Dr. Elect Alexandra Owensby.
Photo: Alexandra Owensby (provided)