The Kentucky Democratic Party has named a new chair. The KDP State Central Executive Committee elected Ben Self to the position on Saturday.
The Pike County native and Lexington resident is co-founder of West Sixth Brewing and the 'Bread Box' - a mixed-use development in which the brewery is located.
Self began his political work as an activist for the Democratic Party during former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean's presidential campaign in the 2004 election. He then co-founded the progressive tech firm Blue State Digital with other former Dean staffers and later served as Technology Director of the Democratic National Committee.
In a release, Self criticized recent Republican-led efforts in Kentucky including the so-called 'right-to-work' law and the proposed pension reform:
“In just one year, we’ve seen our governor and Legislature destroy our workers ability to organize, decrease their wages, gut our education system and now they’re fighting a war against our teachers and state workers,” Self said, adding "Enough is enough."
“We believe that everyone who works should be able to afford a roof above their head and food on the table. We believe that no Kentuckian should die for lack of access to health care. And we believe that access to a good education is a fundamental right," Self said.
To accomplish those things, Self said, Democrats need to win elections and build party capacity through efforts including recruiting candidates and training activists.
State Rep. Sannie Overly was elected KDP Chair in 2016. In August, the party decided to transition leadership ahead of the 2018 election. A search was held through September.