Central Kentucky Democratic Socialists of America

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Central Kentucky Democratic Socialists of America was a Lexington based affiliate of Democratic Socialists of America.

Galbraith connection

In late 1989, Gatewood Galbraith, Lexington attorney and gubernatorial candidate, discussed his platform for the 1991 governor's race with members of Central Kentucky DSA and University of Kentucky DSA in Lexington.[1]

1990 events

Circa April 1990 Central Kentucky DSA and the University of Kentucky DSA heard Lisa Smith-Peters, a member of the American delegation of election observers, speak in Lexington on "The Nicaraguan Elections - What Happened?"

Central Kentucky DSA also heard Jim Embry speak on "America's Future: An African-American Perspective."[2]

Environment meeting

Liz Natter of the Kentucky Resource Council spoke at Central Kentucky Democratic Socialists of America's January 1991 meeting on environmental issues.[3]

1991 membership meeting

Central Kentucky DSA held a successful membership meeting and forum on "The Aftermath of War: America and the World," with speakers Ann Patterson, Ernie Yanarella and Richard Mitchell.[4]

Health Security Network

Circa 1992, the DSA local in central Kentucky, striking while the health care issue was heating rapidly, initiated a political coalition , the Health Security Network of Kentucky, which "played a major role in one of the most closely watched health reform movements in the nation."

The Health Security Network, embraced nine organizations including the Christian Church in Kentucky, League of Women Voters, Community Farm Alliance, Kentucky Association of State Employees(AFT, AFL-CIO), and the Kentucky Disabilities Coalition.

Like Senator Harris Wofford in Pennsylvania, Governor Brereton Jones was elected in Kentucky in 1991 in large measure on the health care issue. Less than three months after Jones took office, DSA National Director Michael Lighty came to Lexington during an organizational tour. The Central Kentucky local hosted a small meeting of community activists at which Lighty spoke persuasively about the urgency of the health crisis and the virtues of the Canadian single payer plan in providing universal coverage at the lowest feasible cost. The formation of the Health Security Network followed quickly.

Its first major event was an open-microphone town meeting on reforming health care financing held on April 23, 1992. This was a notable achievement because it gave those attending the confidence and enthusiasm that later produced an overflow crowd, twice as large as expected, at a public hearing held by the Governor's Task Force on Health Reform the next month.

DSA would not have been able to enlist organizational allies in the Health Security Network had it not already developed a reputation as a reasonable and responsible partner in previously established coalitions. DSA's leadership in health care was built on a history of cooperative endeavor in such groups as the Central Kentucky Council for Peace and Justice and the Pro-Choice Alliance. No one was as responsible for this record of dependability as Jim Ryder, who had served as co-chair not only of the DSA local but also of the Peace and Justice Council.

After the governor announced that he would call a special session of the General Assembly devoted to the issue, the Network convened a statewide conference in the state capital,Frankfort, under the title "Citizens' Special Session on Health Care Reform."

Delegates representing 40 organizations agreed to a statement of principles that emerged from the session.

Spokesperson Richard Mitchell, a professor at the University of Kentucky school of Dentistry,urged legislators to be guided by four principles of reform: universal and equal access, cost containment,funding through progressive and equitable taxation, and consumer choice among health care providers.

On February 20 1993, about a month before the special legislative session was scheduled to begin, the Network conducted an all-day conference in Frankfort to train interested citizens in the complexities of health care issues and the lobbying techniques that can be most successfully employed in personal contacts with legislators.

More than 100 people attended workshops and heard a wide variety of speakers including State Representative Leonard Gray,who has introduced a single-payer health bill in the Kentucky General Assembly, and State Representative Marshall Long, who chairs its Appropriations and Revenue Committee.

According to Lexington DSAer Chuck Sohner For whatever reasons, Governor Jones's most recent proposals "have moved toward those advocated by the Network in several important respects....[5]


In 1993 Kentucky DSA produced a magazine - the Kentucky Socialist Banner.


Central Kentucky Democratic Socialists of America elected Lisa Laufer and Ernie Yanarella as co-chairs for 1985.[6]

DSA connection

In 1989 Julie Burns, a field organizer for Kentuckians for the Commonwealth, discussed the recent upsurge of Klan activity in Kentucky and the left's response to it at the Central Kentucky Democratic Socialists of America May meeting in Lexington.[7]


  2. DEMOCRATIC: LEFT MAY-JUNE 1990, page 8
  4. DEMOCRATIC LEFT MAY/JUNE 1991, page 13
  5. Dem. Left. March./April. 1993
  6. [1]
  7. [2]