LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Voters in Kentucky House District 42, which stretches from Park DuValle to Clifton, will start casting ballots for their next state representative Thursday.
The special election follows last year's resignation of longtime Democratic Representative Reggie Meeks.
Meeks was first elected in 2000 and served as the chairman of the Kentucky Legislative Black Caucus. Last December, he announced his retirement. He said, at the time, that he plans to focus on his health and spend time on this family, but insisted that he wants to remain involved in the improvement of his district.
"I want to make clear that I have not lost my desire to represent my constituents and to fight for causes dear to them and me and so many others in Kentucky," Meeks said in a resignation letter. "I instead see myself as part of a relay team, where the baton handed off to me in 2000 is now poised to be given to someone else who can move us further down the track."
Here’s what to know about the special election:
Keturah Herron (D) and Judy Stallard (R) are the only two candidates in the race to succeed Meeks.
Herron, who is from Richmond, is a policy strategist for the ACLU of Kentucky. In the summer of 2020, Herron led efforts to pass a ban on no-knock warrants, dubbed Breonna’s Law, in Louisville’s Metro Council.
Herron has advocated for the restoration of voting rights for those with felonies in their past and late last year, she spoke out against the approval of a new union contract for Louisville Metro Police Department officers and sergeants. "We cannot give increases in pay without accountability,” Herron said at a Metro Council meeting.
If elected, Herron would be the first openly LGBTQ member of the House of Representatives, according to the Fairness Campaign, which has endorsed her candidacy.
Stallard, the Republican in the race, has previously run for the 42nd State House seat. In 2020, she lost by 77% of the vote.
In a Facebook video posted prior to a previous race, Stallard said she spent 37 years in the steel business and has started “several small businesses.” Now, she said, she is a “concerned citizen who thinks we can do much better.”
Residents of the 42nd House District can vote in the special election. A website operated by the Legislative Research Commission allows Kentuckians to enter their home address and find out the district they live in. The 42nd stretches across Louisville from Rubbertown in the west to Clifton in the east. It also includes parts of Old Louisville, Shelby Park and Germantown.
Like other state house districts, the 42nd was redrawn in redistricting this year. The new 42nd district includes more of Old Louisville and West Louisville than the current 42nd. It also does not extend as far east. The special election relies on the old maps.
Following a new law that went into effect last year, Kentuckians are now allowed three days of early voting, which take place on the Feb. 16, 17 and 18 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Voters who wish to cast a ballot early can do so at the Jefferson County Clerk's Office or St. Stephen Church Family Life Center.
On Feb. 22, polls open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. and voters will be able to cast their ballots at their precint’s polling location. The Jefferson County Clerk has a list of those locations on its website.