Charles Booker carries senate campaign to Pikeville

Published: Jul. 22, 2021 at 9:43 PM EDT
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PIKEVILLE, Ky. (WYMT) - Charles Booker made a stop in Pikeville Thursday, meeting with potential voters as the Democrat kicks off his campaign for the seat currently held by Republican Sen. Rand Paul.

The campaign comes after an unsuccessful attempt to replace Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell during the 2020 election, after Booker fell to Amy McGrath in the state’s primary election.

“I don’t come from politics. You know, both of my parents dropped out of high school and I’ve lived the struggle a lot of politicians talk about,” Booker told WYMT. “Running for office really is out of survival for me. I’m fighting for Kentuckians because they’re my family and I love them. And I’ll do anything to take care of my home- my granddad taught me that- including getting these terrible politicians out of office.”

He said the decision to keep pushing is less about a seat and more about a signal for change.

“This really is about a movement. It’s not just winning one office. It’s about us ending poverty. It’s about making sure that everyone can be safe in their homes and live a gainful life,” he said. “The people of Eastern Kentucky, the people of Pikeville, you deserve it. And I’m fighting for it.”

Booker met with a group of coal miners prior to a community meeting at the Pike County Courthouse, a move he said was all about learning more and diving into the critical concerns about the economy.

“For us to realize real change, we need to listen to the Kentuckians. Because we’ve been ignored for so long,” he said. “And that’s what I’m doing now. And I’m talking about structural change, how we can get more money in the pockets of Kentuckians, and how we can transform our future.”

From discussions about black lung to hearing what has the people of Eastern Kentucky fired up, Booker promised the people in attendance that, if he is elected, the woes of the mountains would be carried to the White House.

“Creating a regular process like this, where I travel Kentucky and listen to folks,” he said. “I want that to be a commonplace in my politics so that we can actually build an agenda as Kentuckians.”

He said town hall environments like the one organized Thursday give a platform for the people who live the realities of Kentucky every day.

“We have so much more in common,” he said. “If we stand together and fight together, we can win together. And we have to now. And, so, my message- from the hood to the holler and everywhere in between- is that we’re family. This moment is for the people of Kentucky.”

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