Kentucky’s Attica Scott challenges longtime Democratic congressman John Yarmuth

Published 5:48 am Thursday, July 8, 2021

State Rep. Attica Scott, one of two Black women in Kentucky’s legislature, announced Wednesday that she’ll try to unseat longtime Democratic Congressman John Yarmuth in the state’s only congressional district controlled by Democrats.

Yarmuth is currently in his eighth term, and occupies an influential post as chairman of the House Budget Committee. He was a sponsor of the American Rescue Plan Act, which brought millions in federal coronavirus relief to the state.

Scott, a community organizer and former Louisville city councilwoman, handily defeated a more conservative Democratic incumbent in 2017. She has more in common with Yarmuth, who was first elected in 2007 and is an outspoken progressive. Both have expressed support for a ‘Medicare for All’ system, raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour and decriminalizing marijuana.

In a campaign video released Wednesday morning, Scott referenced her background as a community organizer and activist, declaring that Kentucky’s largest city needs “a leader who sees this glaring inequality, has the empathy to understand it and the resolve to address it.”

In the General Assembly’s 2021 session, Scott authored a bill she called “Breonna’s Law,” which sought to ban no-knock search warrants in Kentucky and impose new requirements on police practices.

The effort honored Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old emergency medical worker and Louisville native who was fatally during a botched raid on her home by Louisville police officers in March 2020. While the measure eventually signed into law was not the total ban Scott had sought, it included elements inspired by her legislation.

Scott has introduced other measures that would remove the remove the tax on certain baby products, and protect people who wear certain hairstyles from discrimination by employers or schools.

Scott and her daughter were arrested on felony riot charges during last summer’s racial injustice protests. Charges were later dropped, and Scott sued the Louisville Metropolitan Police Department, alleging that officers violated her constitutional rights.