Why I'm a Democrat: Democrats Work to Empower Women


We asked Laken Gilbert, the KYD Women’s Issues Director, to share why she is a Democrat and will be supporting Alison Lundergan Grimes and Democratic candidates this fall.  Please read and share.

Laken Gilbert and US Senate Candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes Laken Gilbert and US Senate Candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes

Fellow Young Kentuckians,

Young women across the Commonwealth face serious issues such as pay inequality, unaffordable childcare, and the lack of access to affordable healthcare. However, another issue that has recently been in the news and is plaguing the Commonwealth is violence against women. Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women. In fact, 1 in 6 women will be the victim of domestic violence in her lifetime and girls are 4 times more likely to be victimized between ages 16 and 19. In Kentucky, despite these statistics, a survivor cannot get a civil protection order unless she and the perpetrator are related, married, have a child in common, or are currently or formerly living together. This creates a huge gap in protection for survivors of dating violence.

Time and time again, Kentucky House Democrats have taken the stand to extend domestic violence protections to dating violence only to be killed by Senate Republicans. The 2014 General Session marked the fourth consecutive year that the Dating Violence Bill (House Bill 8) passed the House. Protecting women is a priority for House Democrats and Kentucky women cannot afford to lose that momentum come November 4th.

Another proponent of ending violence against women is Secretary of State, and US Senate Candidate, Alison Lundergan Grimes. As a young lawyer, Alison fought for survivors of domestic violence in the courtroom. As Secretary of State, she championed Kentucky’s first ever address confidentiality program to protect survivors of domestic violence in the voting booth. As our next United States Senator and Kentucky’s first ever female Senator, Alison will continue fighting for women when it comes to equal pay and protecting victims. This advocacy is 30 years overdue. Senator Mitch McConnell does not have the best interests of Kentucky women at heart when he votes in Washington, D.C. He has repeatedly voted against the Violence Against Women Act, opposes equal pay for equal work, and has voted to slash funding for childcare.

I am a Democrat because the Democratic Party supports policies that empower women. As a sexual assault survivor, I will be casting my vote on November 4th for Alison Lundergan Grimes and House Democrats.  We must retire Senator McConnell, who has spent his last 30 years fighting against legislation that has directly improved my safety and security.

Secretary Grimes, however, has made sure I can exercise my democratic responsibility of voting without fear that my perpetrator will be able to access my address and location.  She is and will continue to be a strong advocate for Kentucky Women!

There’s so much still to do to combat the many issues facing women. So on November 4th, when you go in the voting booth as a young woman, consider which candidates will stand with you. As a young man, consider which candidates will stand with your mother, your wife, your girlfriend, and your daughters. Together we can fuel the momentum of House Democrats, get the Dating Violence Bill enacted, and have Alison Lundergan Grimes' proven leadership in Washington, D.C. as our next U.S. Senator!

Laken Gilbert

Laken Gilbert is currently a third-year law student at the University of Kentucky where she serves as the on-line editor of the UK Law Review.  Laken was recently published in The Kentucky Journal of Equine, Agriculture, & Natural Resources Law with an article entitled “Cultivating Justice for Survivors of Sexual Assault in American’s Agriculture Industry.  (View the article here.)  Laken also serves on the Kentucky Commission on Women, as Secretary of the Fayette County Young Democrats and is the Women’s Issues Director for the Kentucky Young Democrats.