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Ken Rechtin's Another Voice: Turn Out The Lights

The River City News proudly presents a new column, Ken Rechtin: Another Voice.

Rechtin is a former Newport City Commissioner, Campbell County Commissioner, and former interim executive director of Senior Services of Northern Kentucky. 

“When I was serving the Northern Kentucky region as the Executive Director of Senior Services, I began writing a monthly column which I titled: “Talkin’ ‘bout My Generation”. It was a voice to and for the “boomer” generation in Northern Kentucky," Rechtin said. "I found that I thoroughly enjoyed writing. And I received many encouraging responses for that column. Now, in the same vein, I am excited to bring to RCN readers a weekly column focused on political and governmental issues facing Boone, Kenton, and Campbell Counties. I look forward to your comments and reactions. I hope that “Another Voice” will be a place for dissenting, differing and sometimes controversial opinions regarding politics and governance in Boone, Kenton, and Campbell Counties.”

Turn Out The Lights
 
When the party is over and all the guests have finally gone home, we shut the door and turn out the lights or maybe visa versa. 
 
Well, the party is really over. Now, who is responsible to turn out the lights and shut the door? 
 
The Democratic Party in Northern Kentucky (NorKey), specifically Boone, Kenton and Campbell Counties, is dead (other words to insert in  place of dead might be: finished, kaput, deceased, obsolete, ended, over, unresponsive or lifeless). It has taken some time, but, the final death delivering blow was dealt on November 4, 2014 when the GOP swept the elections in Campbell County.
 
A quick look back in NorKey history will confirm that in Boone the Democratic Party went dark (again, all sorts of verbs like died, expired, went dormant, croaked, or lost its voice can be used here as well) over twenty years ago. Kenton was close behind. The party structures still exist, but few candidates will raise their heads for fear of being summarily decapitated. 
 
And, without candidates, what becomes of the local party? 
 
During the last election cycle, only in Campbell, the Democrats held onto hope that a two-party system was able to be restored in that county and would live in that one county at least for four more years. The reasoning went: “If Campbell County could secure just a few offices, then maybe NorKey could still retain a semblance of a two party system.” Democrats fielded a full slate of well respected, knowledgeable and capable candidates (in fact, some Republican political pundits privately said that this Democrat “slate” was far superior to the one put forth by the Campbell County Republican Party).
 
Every one of these “superior” candidates failed to make it through the battle. 
 
All of them mounted vigorous campaigns. But, no amount of money, change in messaging, or additional resources could have changed the inevitable outcome of the McConnell-led Republican tsunami which swept and drowned Campbell’s Democrats in the undertow. 
 
It doesn’t matter what went wrong! Discussing the reasons that the “lights went out” will be left to the political pundits to continue to debate. What is interesting is what structures that remain and how they will serve our region are the real reasons for this initial column, and, if the readership wishes, future columns as well. 
 
So, what does remain here in NorKey? And, what does that mean for NorKey? What does this mean for our infrastructure, for our collective  vision, for schools, for human services, for business development, for governance, for recreation, for regionalism, for the Brent Spence Bridge (BSB), for all the things that we hold dear...
 
Elections have consequences. NorKey (Boone, Kenton, and Campbell Counties) will be governed by a single party. 
 
But, you ask: “What is the benefit of a two party system anyway?”
 
When compared to European style multi-party systems with many parties fighting for influence and power, some would say that the two party system leads to political stability which leads, in turn, to economic prosperity. 
 
Sometimes two-party systems have been seen as preferable to multi-party systems because there is less fractiousness and greater harmony. 
 
If harmony and economic prosperity are the expectations of a two party system, then the single party system, which we have now in NorKey should govern even more effectively without any discord, dissension or debate. 
 
According to this logic, NorKey will have political stability and economic development that will be the envy of the State, of our region, and of the nation. Besides, differing viewpoints just make things more difficult to decide. If this is what you believe, then you can quit reading here and never look at another column of my babble.
 
I truly believe that it is through the discussion, the debate, the arguing of differing viewpoints and ideas that our cities, our counties, our region and our nation will prosper. So now where do those differing viewpoints express themselves? How can they be heard?
 
They will not come from within the ranks of the Republican Party. Others would argue that the emergence of the Tea Party is the beginning of divergent viewpoints. To this I would disagree. The Northern Kentucky Tea Party is scoffed at and given “lip service” by the “traditional” Republicans.
 
The Democratic Party in NorKey, since this last election, has been tagged with a DNR (do not resuscitate) sticker. 
 
The Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce will never espouse divergent viewpoints from the Republican Party.
 
Our collective visioning process (call it Quest, Vision 2015, 2020 or 2025) is not the vehicle for voicing differing opinions. 
 
Former President Dr. Jim Votruba’s vision of Northern Kentucky University being the place for “difficult conversations”  has never happened. 
 
While the discussions that the Northern Kentucky Forum has hosted are valuable and needed in NorKey, the attendance of their forums is limited to the “wonkish” few. And, widespread discussions about the forum topics have not resulted from this vehicle. 
 
Oh, but you say we have a newspaper to be the voice for differing views! 
 
Please don’t get me started on a discussion about the “mouthpiece” of the Republican Party in Greater Cincinnati called the Cincinnati Enquirer.
 
This column, Another Voice could be that vehicle to express divergent, sometimes painful, differing viewpoints. Even though you may feel that the ideas expressed here might look Republican or Democratic or Libertarian or Green, this column will not be the Democrat Voice, the Republican Voice or the Tea Party Voice. 
 
So for now, unless you, the reader, tell me otherwise, this will be just Another Voice.
 
Please take the following survey (it takes only two minutes) and tell me what you think. CLICK HERE
 
The views and opinions expressed here in Another Voice do not reflect the views or opinions of The River City News, it owners, writers, or editors. These are solely the ideas of Ken Rechtin. If you wish to make comment to Another Voice, Ken can be reached via email at [email protected] or you may leave a comment here. All rights to use of Another Voice in any fashion are retained by Ken Rechtin. Please contact him for any use of his columns.