Environmental activist and Louisville attorney Tom FitzGerald says he is being encouraged to run against Republican Mitch McConnell in the Kentucky 2014 U.S. Senate race.
The 58-year-old Democrat currently serves as executive director of the Kentucky Resources Council, an environmental group that lobbies state lawmakers on conservation issues.
In a telephone interview, FitzGerald told WFPL the decision is still in its early stages and leaving the non-profit world would be a significant change.
“For me to go into electoral politics and partisan politics is a very different way of approaching public service. I have a real fondness and appreciation for the amazing people of this Commonwealth and I’ve devoted my adult life to try to improve the quality of the community’s health,” he says.A number of prominent Democrats have side-stepped running against McConnell despite polls showing the GOP leader has low approval ratings.
FitzGerald says he has reached out to at least one other rumored McConnell challenger—Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes—to talk about her intentions in the race.
“It’s a conversation we need to have. And I don’t want to jump the gun,” he says. “This is very preliminary.”
FitzGerald is considered an outspoken environmental proponent who has criticized fellow Democrats for their positions.
Last year, FitzGerald gained headlines for turning down an award from the federal Office of Surface Mining, saying regulators had failed to enforce environmental protections. In 2011, he resigned from state boards and chided Gov. Steve Beshear’s environmental policies regarding air, water and soil conservation.