KY Lawmaker Shits Where He Eats

Accepts endorsements and favors from JCTA and JCPS, while repeatedly throwing JCPS teachers, students, parents and taxpayers under the bus.

Kentucky House Representative Jason Nemes has been confidently buttering his bread on both sides (and strutting around with greasy fingers) for some time now, so it’s no longer even a surprise when he votes against the interests of Jefferson County Public Schools. He’s one of only a handful of Republican lawmakers who has received an unwavering endorsement and support from the teachers’ union, not to mention a great deal of access to key players, decision-makers, negotiators and funds, despite his abysmal track record on key issues that impact public schools and those who depend upon them.

This was reconfirmed last Friday night when Rep. Nemes (nicknamed #ArchNemes) voted in favor of HB563, a terrible Trojan Horse voucher bill that involved numerous confusing last minute amendments. This bill contained the same predatory language that caused teachers across this state to call in sick numerous days in 2018 and 2019 in order to prevent it from becoming law. Curiously, the teachers’ union has yet to condemn their golden boy for pulling back up to the trough. Do they think we don’t notice?

And to add insult to injury, #ArchNemes also supported #SewerBillMiller’s unconstitutional amendment that will allow the funds to be used for non-public school purposes, but only in the three largest counties. Once again, passing legislation that targets and punishes JCPS, based on stereotypes and misinformation perpetuated by the privileged elite who have never had children facing the challenges our Black, Brown, poor, disabled, underserved families face. 

None of this is new. In fact, teachers have resoundingly pushed back against the privatization agenda every time #ArchNemes has taken a misstep, such as the time he gave his login credentials to the tea party leader who was trying to derail the badly needed tax increase passed by our local school board. He can’t pretend he didn’t know this bill, nor many other power-grabby bills he’s worked with union, district and community leaders to bring to pass, go against every facet of what it means to be “pro public education.”

Here Comes The Proverbial “Dump”

How would JCPS teachers feel knowing that despite #ArchNemes’ abysmal track record, the wife of our beloved two-faced politician landed a coveted teaching position in JCPS, allowing her to bypass the typical route most teachers take before finding themselves in an East End school?

How would teachers feel if they knew she might not even have been qualified for the position when she applied? 

How would teachers feel if they knew she might not even have been qualified for the position when JCPS extended the offer? Why else the delay in filling the position?

How would they feel to learn her certification didn’t come through until December 16 of last year, indicating they possibly even held the position open for her, despite there being numerous other qualified applicants?

How would teachers feel if they knew six other candidates were passed over for the position? Some of whom were Nationally Board Certified, Rank I (she’s Rank III), with at least 8 years’ experience teaching ESL in Middle School? How much relevant experience did she have three months ago?

By accepting preferential hiring treatment for his wife, #ArchNemes took a proverbial shit all over the teachers, voters and taxpayers who he and JCTA continue to try to convince is a “public-education friendly” candidate. By offering this position to her, JCPS also shit on its teachers who don’t have the same strings to pull. But worse, they shit on some of our community’s most vulnerable students who are possibly immigrants and refugees. Once again, adult agendas that include blacklisting and back-scratching, took precedence over what was best for the students. Aren’t practices like these why we fought to get rid of Hargens?

It’s a Pattern

This isn’t the first time, and it won’t be the last. But just because we’re not surprised by it doesn’t mean we should turn a blind eye to it. To those who say, “It’s what they do,” I respond.

“It’s not what I do. Do you?”

Is it any coincidence the principal who led the interviewing and decision-making is the husband of a former HR manager who we have blogged about a couple of times? There was the time she and the CFO created a high-paying position that went to the highly unqualified CFO’s daughter. There was also the time they eliminated the positions of some incredibly talented JCPS central office employees so they could recreate the positions so that one of Hargens’ new hires could bring her team with her.

And it’s not just Jason Nemes.

Two years ago, another JCTA-endorsed, “public education friendly” Republican threw JCPS stakeholders under the bus when Julie Raque Adams cast a YES vote to confirm Governor Bevin’s most controversial pro-voucher, self dealing appointment to the Kentucky Board of Education. She can be seen making phone calls to someone to accept her “assignment.”

Had she voted NO, the confirmation would have failed and we might have had a chance to send a resounding message that would stop vouchers in their tracks. But since she didn’t, and here we are. EdChoice is still in the picture, receiving favorable opportunities to testify in committee, while individuals and organizations that oppose HB563 were left out of the conversation, myself included.

It’s Ignorant and Dangerous

Don’t even get me started about the anti-immigrant gaslighting rhetoric he used during a committee meeting the day I happened to also learn this news. He pretended that by denying work to “non-Kentuckians” he was protecting them because they are not being eligible for medical coverage if they are injured on the job. He forgot to mention the part where his bill might also deny them the ability to earn an honest income for their labor so they can put food on the table and a roof over the heads of some of the very students his wife may be teaching.

And here these greedy lawmakers are, using a pandemic — when public access is restricted — to pass the very same harmful bills we already fought and rejected! They’re taking advantage of the public’s restricted access to pass even more bills that restrict access  and limit transparency, threaten our right to free speech by making it legal to subjectively overcharge protesters, and by creating dynastic lineage that could lead to authoritarian rule.

It’s an Insurrection! It’s Treason!!

These treasonous acts have been enabled by local and district leaders who have committed or been complicit in questionable practices, such as tainted union elections, secret no-bid contracts, pension theft, a history of terrible endorsements, and free-flowing campaign funds, powerful entrenched leaders from all sides of the political aisle have tried to get their fingers on some of that buttery bread.

And now that Mitch McConnell has started trying to make himself relevant in on our local politics, first with our JCPS School Board and now with a bill that will force our governor to name McConnell’s protégé as his successor, only a fool can’t see that what we are witnessing is an insurrection, aided and abetted by McConnell himself. There’s really no other way to describe it. 

Our only hope at stopping these crimes before any more harm is done is to hold those in the GOP who are committing the insurrection accountable! That’s why we are asking all 38 Senators to join us in taking a stand against ALEC, “Bevinites,” “Louminati,” and anyone else who is abusing the public trust and putting personal and political gain ahead of Kentucky’s people. Take a stand against this act of TREASON.

We need to get a message to Kentucky’s Governor and 38 Senators.

To the Governor:

VETO the Unconstitutional bills that threaten Kentucky’s liberties and resources.

To the Senate: 

The music has stopped. We see what is happening. We know you, too, must be able to also see how Jefferson County’s own leaders and lawmakers have been in on it. We beg you to take a stand on the right side of history. Stand with JCPS, Kentucky and the nation and 
Let Governor Beshear’s VETOs stand. 


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