Politics

After big Republican victories in Kentucky on Election Day, members of the Louisville Tea Party expressed excitement and a need for caution to make sure elected officials follow through on conservative promises in Washington, D.C. and Frankfort.

At a meeting last week, the group’s president, Michael Brown, encouraged members to pressure federal Republicans to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

“There are so many people in the United States Congress right now who can blow you away with rhetoric, but when it comes down to that concrete thing, when it comes down to actually repealing Obamacare, you’re going to have a hard time getting those people to actually move in the right direction,” Brown said. “We want performance, not rhetoric, not excuses.”

Republicans won big in Kentucky on Election Day, garnering 17 more seats in the state House of Representatives to secure a supermajority. The party now has control of the legislature and governor’s mansion for the first time in Kentucky history.

Kentucky also overwhelmingly voted in favor of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, whose coattails helped Republicans win rural areas that had long been dominated by Democrats.

At the state level, Brown said the group needed to be vigilant to make sure the party opposes initiatives like the local option sales tax and compliance with stricter driver’s license regulations called REAL ID.

“In the past, there has been some situations in the party where there’s a lot of retreating,” Brown said. “And if we have a majority, let’s not be retreating, let’s just move forward and make a good impression, do what we said we were going to do.”

Brown criticized Republican House Speaker-elect Jeff Hoover for voting in favor of a REAL ID and the local option sales tax in the past.

“We can’t have Republicans acting like they’re Democrats,” Brown said.

Kentucky is one of eight states that is out of compliance with federal REAL ID standards, which require the state to centralize its driver’s license issuing system and crosscheck license applications with a federal database.

The stricter standards are opposed by conservative groups like the Louisville Tea Party and Take Back Kentucky, as well as the American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky, which has cited privacy concerns.

Gov. Matt Bevin vetoed a REAL ID bill that passed the Republican-led Senate and Democratic-led House during this year’s legislative session, saying there was “tremendous opposition and misunderstanding” of the issue.

Kentuckians won’t be able to use their driver’s licenses to get into military bases starting Jan. 30, 2017. A passport would be needed to board flights starting in January 2018 if stricter standards aren’t met by then.

Ryland Barton is the Managing Editor for Collaboratives.