Posts Tagged ‘Charles Badger’

Striding ‘Right’ for Black GOP Strategist is a No-brainer

Saturday, December 8th, 2012

Charles Badger is not your typical 23 year-old. His tersely stylized, self-description on Twitter provides little insight into what he thinks. In the maximum allowed character length below a picture of a jubilant dude in line dance formation, Charles fonts the following:  “NY-baked-Southern glazed inquisitive Cosmopolitan. Foodie. Bourbonist. Art-Jazz-Hip-Hop lover w/ a change-the-world complex.”

Okay. None of that seems peculiar. And, most of us are down with those having a can-do spirit to make a difference. But, what he doesn’t text out near his cyber avatar that you quickly gather from his Twitter feed is that he’s ‘say it loud, he’s black and he’s proud’ … to be a Republican.

What? Come again? That last part?

It’s a question he’s asked often: ‘why are you, a black man, a Republican?’ Given African Americans’ historic patronage to candidates with the parenthetical ‘D’ flanking her/his name – he understands folks’ curiosity.

Reporters seldom like to look like they’re asking obvious questions, but when I pose it to him in our upcoming interview, his answer provides real insight into his political paradigm. Charles’ urban upbringing in conditions that he says government failed to make better, has a lot to do with his view. He says he lived in a breeding ground for generational poverty that never improved no matter how much public assistance, programs, and services were piped in to help. That’s why he’s a Republican. He’s witnessed – in his words: “the failure of big government.”

Not content to watch from the sidelines and driven by his “change-the-world” complex, the Berea College graduate became a political operative, even before he’d graduated. Charles has already worked for half-a-dozen political campaigns, including the recent 6th congressional district contest that unseated Democrat challenger Ben Chandler. Did I mention Charles is 23?

If you looked carefully at our election night coverage on KET last month, you saw a glimpse of Charles’ brown dome making a cameo behind the night’s new political star, Congressman-elect Andy Barr, who won that 6th congressional district race.  Barr lost to Chandler by less than 700 votes in a match-up two years ago. This time around, Barr scuttled Chandler’s return to the Beltway by more than 11,000 votes. It was a victory he cinched with an arsenal of pro-coal ads, Chandler’s burden of sharing the ticket with a president unpopular in Kentucky, and a tight ground game.  Charles Badger had a heavy hand in Barr’s victory. It wasn’t the first rodeo for either and it showed.

Judging by the way things look now, Charles has a long time ahead in the saddle of politics. When you tune into our interview you’ll learn why. He has a strong command of the issues, a sharp articulation of message, and is trying to change the face we typically associate with the Grand Old Party in Kentucky and beyond.

Check out Charles Badger on Connections — Sunday at 1:30pm on KET. You can watch a preview.

Kentucky Beyond the Color Line?

Friday, January 13th, 2012

In the 1950s and ’60s, Kentucky and the nation were swept by the Civil Rights Movement. Kentucky’s story of courageous African Americans and sympathetic supporters who organized to demand legal and social equality was documented 10 years ago in Living the Story: The Civil Rights Movement in Kentucky.

On this 10-year anniversary of that landmark production, we celebrate those brave heroes still among us and discuss how far we have yet to go in race relations in Kentucky Beyond the Color Line, which airs Monday, January 16th at 9 pm ET on KET.

Living the Story precedes the follow-up program at 8 pm. Filmmaker, documentarian, and co-producer of Living the Story, Joan Brannon captures the strife, struggle, and victories of Kentucky foot soldiers in the quest for equality. She is featured in the anniversary program, discussing the project’s personal importance to her and what she discovered in Kentucky’s untold civil rights story.

Many on the frontline of civil rights are no longer with us, but Kentucky Beyond the Color Line is honored to assemble those who remain. I sat down with former state Senator Georgia Davis Powers, the first African American and woman to serve in that body; P.G. Peeples, the president and CEO of the Urban League of Lexington-Fayette County; Raoul Cunningham, NAACP Louisville leader; J. Blaine Hudson, EdD, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Louisville; and John Johnson, executive director of the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights, to discuss race relations today and the truth or fiction of post-racial society notion.

The program also features voices of three Kentucky high school youth, whose view of race relations may differ from earlier generations.

Young political operatives, graduates of Berea College, offer some provocative commentary about racial transcendence and the new frontiers of civil rights in Kentucky and the nation. Charles Badger, a Republican congressional aid and Christian Motley, a Democratic strategist chime in.

Kentucky Beyond the Color Line airs Monday, January 16th, at 9 pm on KET.

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