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Op-Ed: Owensby Represents Leadership Northern Kentucky Needs

The following op-ed is written by Beth Silvers of Union. She is the author of I Think You're Wrong (But I'm Listening): A Guide to Grace-Filled Political Conversation, and is co-host of the Pantsuit Politics podcast.

All 435 members of the House of Representatives must run for their seats this year. Conventional wisdom tells us that only 90 of those races are actually competitive. Within that category, only 28 races are considered by most commentators to be toss-ups. Kentucky’s fourth Congressional district is considered a safe Republican seat -- meaning, no matter the candidates’ records, experience, and skills, the Republican candidate should win. That is a travesty that contributes to so many Americans feeling that their votes don’t matter. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Northern Kentucky defied expectations in Kentucky’s last gubernatorial race, and we should do so again this November. 

Representative Thomas Massie has served this district since 2012. I appreciate that service. Being a member of Congress has never been an easy job. The increasing partisan polarization that keeps Representative Massie’s seat “safe” also makes it nearly impossible for Congress to do the people’s business. Unfortunately, Representative Massie leads in a manner that divides, rather than unites, and that blocks instead of promotes solutions. According to govtrack.us (a nonpartisan organization), Representative Massie is Kentucky’s least effective member of Congress. In 2019, he introduced 0 bills that became law, got bills out of committee fewer times than his colleagues, held the fewest number of committee positions, and was most absent in votes. 

Northern Kentucky should have one of Kentucky’s most effective representatives. Fortunately, we have the opportunity to elect a moderate Democrat who meets this moment. Dr. Alexandra Owensby has first-hand experiences with many of our most pressing challenges. She is a nurse practitioner seeing patients during the Covid-19 pandemic. Before her healthcare career began, she worked in restaurant management, giving her an understanding of and heart for small businesses. She is the single mother of two, and we can count on her to prioritize childcare and education. She has experienced financial strain in her life, and she has worked to overcome difficult circumstances. 

Dr. Owensby provides regular Covid-19 updates via email. In those updates, she demonstrates the type of leadership that I believe she would bring to Congress. She relies on data, rather than hyperbole. She provides information to local resources, demonstrating a clear understanding of our district. She highlights the work of non-profits, like Be Concerned. She communicates clearly and details where she gets her information. She speaks about public officials--both Democrats and Republicans--with respect. This is the kind of representation we need to get our kids back to school safely and sustainably, help our economy recover, and ensure that public health information is backed by research and communicated calmly.

Dr. Owensby’s steady, competent leadership are much more representative of the Northern Kentucky I know than Representative Massie’s ineffective and often inflammatory rhetoric. We should show professional commentators that no seat is “safe,” that our votes must be earned, and that Northern Kentucky values serious, collegial, and thoughtful representation in Congress by electing Dr. Alexandra Owensby in November.

Photo: Alexandra Owensby (provided)

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