A loose-knit group of Kentucky House members from the commonwealth’s more populated areas is meeting regularly in Frankfort. It’s called the Metropolitan Caucus, and it’s an informal group of Kentucky House members that meets regularly to discuss issues of mutual interest.
The Kentucky General Assembly has a Subcommittee on Rural Issues, but no counterpart for metropolitan areas. Louisville Rep. Steve Riggs says that’s unfortunate, because population centers across the state have mutual interests, too. So, Riggs helped form the Metropolitan Caucus. The group hasn’t been officially recognized, but that doesn’t stop it from meeting regularly to discuss issues like law enforcement, transportation and education.
“We’re not a rural state anymore,” he says. “So, it’s a group of people who think that we can help Kentucky prosper by talking about the common concerns that we have – about how do we move Kentucky forward.”
“What we’re confronted with in northern Kentucky in many instances are the same issues confronted in Davies County and Warren County,” says Rep. Arnold Simpson of Covington. “Therefore, it we can create a platform where we can have meaningful dialogue with members of these other caucuses on a non-partisan basis, I think it’s very fruitful.”
Rep. Ruth Ann Palumbo of Lexington says education funding is a frequent topic of discussion in the group.
“Right now we’re talking about the school SEEK formula in transportation, because the districts get anywhere from 45 percent to 152 percent,” she says. “And it hasn’t been revised since 1954. And school districts have grown!”
Right now the caucus includes House members from northern Kentucky, Louisville, Lexington, Frankfort and Bowling Green, but the members hope to see the caucus grow, and gain official recognition by legislative leaders.