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Tom FitzGerald

1600 Dundee Way Louisville, KY 40205

(502) 451-2492 e-mail

My dear friends:

It is with a heart full of gratitude that I write to tell you that I will not be a candidate in

the Democratic Primary for the United States Senate seat now held by Senator


I arrived at this decision after much reflection, soul-searching, prayer, and conversations

with family, friends, and with those more familiar with electoral politics (which is a quite

a large universe, as you who know me can attest).

Since it became public that I had been asked in early May to consider such a campaign, I have received hundreds of letters, emails, and calls of support from all across this remarkable Commonwealth from Paducah to Pikeville, Florence to Fulton - and across the political spectrum, from diehard Democrats to dyed-in-the-wool Republicans (with more than a few libertarians sprinkled in for good measure).

The idea of leaving almost thirty years of environmental advocacy as Director of the Kentucky Resources Council - thirty years of working with and for folks who live downhill, downstream, and downwind of natural resource extraction operations, factories, factory farms, and other sources of pollution - in order to try to reclaim the Senate seat for the people of our Commonwealth was both exciting and daunting, a little heady and very humbling.

Yet each day’s phone calls, frantic emails, and hand-written letters since then from Kentuckians whose lives, families, homes, and health have been put at risk by the negligence, carelessness, or avarice of others, and who seek help, guidance, or representation that they cannot find elsewhere, tell me that it is not time to step away from my current work. As the Board of the Council and I prepare next week to map a strategic plan for the Kentucky Resources Council, and to shore up the Council’s finances so that it may continue for the next thirty years to be an unrepentant voice with and on behalf of those who seek environmental justice, I beg the privilege of using the last two of my “15 minutes” in the spotlight to offer my personal observations and an unsolicited cautionary note or two regarding the upcoming Senate race.

There is, among Kentuckians with whom I have talked, a great hunger and thirst. A hunger for representation by elected officials who wake each day with the goal of helping Kentuckians of all ages, races, ethnicities, sexual orientations and identifications, to find justice and the opportunity to lead full and rewarding lives. A hunger for elected officials focused not on increasing their power and position while supping at the public trough, but

on assuring that no child in the Commonwealth goes to bed at night hungry or homeless.

A hunger for representation grounded in producing results, not in obstructing needed

reform. For representation that will work to right our listing ship of state without throwing overboard the poor, the elderly, the working class, students, and our children’s hopes for a good education, rewarding work, and a healthy economy.

Kentuckians thirst - for clean water to drink, clean air to breathe, healthy and safe neighborhoods, and a fair shot at a decent wage and a secure retirement. They thirst for leaders who offer hope and a path forward, not obstruction and division.

They want representation that will help rebuild our communities, our infrastructure, our shared future; not representation focused on tearing holes in the social fabric that weaves us together as a commonwealth. They want leaders who recognize that, in answer to Cain’s question, that we are our brother’s (and sister’s) keepers – accountable to each other and before God for how we treat each other and God’s creation.

This election cycle presents a real opportunity to bring Kentuckians together to begin to chart a new course to leave behind the policies and politics that have led to the state’s dismal rankings of children in poverty, in health, in education, and in median income and to renew our commitment to each other and to the generations to come as people of good will, of good faith, of creativity, and of hope. Another cycle of cynical politics of personal destruction, of gutter politics intended to destroy and divide rather than to unify and inspire, is something we can ill-afford as the fourth poorest state in the nation. It is something that will backfire on the SuperPACs who traffic in the politics of fear and smear. Kentuckians deserve leaders and candidates who will take the high road.

I wish fervently that Senator McConnell does some soul-searching and finds within himself the moderate, caring reformer that he once aspired to be; and that the candidates for the Democratic primary find the strength within themselves to stand for justice in all

its facets economic, racial, environmental, and social and to present a real alternative

to more of the same from Congress.

Let me end by again thanking those who reached out to me with offers of support, pledges of money, and the gift of their time and opinions. Let me publicly express my undying gratitude to my ever-patient, supportive, and wonderful wife Patty, my three sons Garrett, Luke, and Sean, my extended family, those whose counsel I sought who have been so generous with their time, my good friend Art Williams, and the irrepressible Christy Brown, who has done so much for Louisville and the Commonwealth.

As I return to my work with the Council and take my last toe out of the political waters, let me share with you a prayer written by children’s advocate Marian Wright Edelman:

Lord, help me not be a taker but a tender Help me not to be a whiner but a worker Help me not to be a getter but a giver Help me not to be a hindrance but a help

Lord, help me not to be a critic, but a catalyst for good.

Let us work to assure that those we elect to be our voice in our nation’s capital and in Frankfort, are not takers, whiners, getters, and hindrances, but are catalysts for good, even as we strive to be so ourselves.

In solidarity and with gratitude,

but are catalysts for good, even as we strive to be so ourselves. In solidarity and

Tom FitzGerald