Wowsers — a tip o’ the hat to Barefoot & Progressive for highlighting Mike Slaton, one of the very very few Louisville progressives who may have a viable shot at winning elected office in the Commonwealth. Slaton’s aim is the 41st House District, and plans to run against 27-year incumbent (and atavistic Kentucky DINO) Tom Riner in the May 2010 Democratic primary, which should be fun to watch.
So who the hell is he?
The wunderkind is an employee of Metro Parks, is a history graduate from the University of Louisville and worked for the Fairness Campaign as an organizer. He also happens to be openly gay (he even tells us on his website!), and has some pretty crazy ideas for his district, Louisville and beyond: Increased spending in the social sector as well as funding for arts and education; urban-conscious environmental conservation and infrastructure improvement; green technology investment; regarding substance abuse as a disease, not a crime; prison reform; and whatever else the kids are into these days.
The 41st district encompasses the liberal neighborhoods of Butchertown, Crescent Hill, Clifton Heights and Phoenix Hill — which Slaton calls home — as well as more the “economically depressed” nabes of Portland, California and Russel. Married with Slaton’s rhetoric, the combination of East-End liberal financiers and social outreach and organizing within Louisville’s poorest neighborhoods could mark the beginning of something fundamentally new.
Slaton also appears to be about 13-years-old, which is another huge positive if you think about it. The problem with most of Kentucky’s politicos stems from a “barnacle effect,” whereby the longer one of them serves, the harder they are to remove once they’ve stopped being of any real use to anyone other than their friends, family and campaign contributors. Usually a blowtorch and a pair of pliers does the trick, in a pinch.
We will be keeping our eye on this guy.