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Protesters Introduce ‘Freda Fairness’ At Annual KFB Ham Breakfast

Lisa Gillespie, WFPL

  As they have for several years, protesters gathered outside the Kentucky Farm Bureau’s Annual Ham Breakfast Thursday morning at the state fair.

  Two years ago, three people were arrested during the event. There were no arrests this year, and this time, protesters brought with them a special guest: “Freda,” an eight-foot-tall puppet.

“As someone who grew up here, I remember seeing ‘Freddy Farm Bureau’ at the fair every year,” said Michael Aldridge, executive director of the Kentucky ACLU. “So we thought we’d make a puppet that shows Freddy’s cousin, ‘Freda,’ and show her difference of opinion.”

This marks the sixth year that Kentucky ACLU, the Fairness Campaign and other groups have stood outside the annual ham breakfast in protest of the Kentucky Farm Bureau’s lobbying policies.

Most people may just think of insurance when that name comes up. But according to Aldridge and other protesters,“They’re anti-LGBT, they’re anti-union, they’re anti-choice, and we think more should know what those policies are, and when they get an insurance policy through Kentucky Farm Bureau that they’re supporting those types of decisions.”

Kentucky Farm Bureau did not immediately respond to request for comment on this story.

KFB has a lobbying arm, and a portion of fees paid to the bureau goes toward those lobbying efforts. The organization has defended its position on various issues, including those relating to the LGBTQ community. During a speech at last year’s breakfast, President Mark Haney said KFB “does not discriminate.”

Aldridge hoped having Freda at the event would help the protesters spread the word.

As the last stragglers entered the building to get their ham breakfast Thursday morning, Freda followed. And although she had a ticket, Freda wasn’t allowed into the hall where Gov. Matt Bevin, Senator Mitch McConnell and others spoke to breakfast attendees.

Lisa Gillespie is WFPL's Health and Innovation Reporter. Most recently, she was a reporter for Kaiser Health News. During her career, Gillespie has covered all things health — from Medicaid and Medicare payment policy and rural hospital closures to science funding and the dietary supplement market.
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