News (USA)

GOP Kentucky candidate for governor promises no “transgenders” in schools

Kelly Craft
Kelly CraftPhoto: United States Department of State

A Kentucky gubernatorial candidate has promised no “transgenders” in the state’s school system if she is elected.

Republican Kelly Craft is running for her party’s gubernatorial nomination, facing off against 12 other candidates in the May 16 primary. As the Associated Press notes, the former United Nations Ambassador has campaigned against so-called “woke” ideologies supposedly infiltrating Kentucky schools.

Her running mate, state Sen. Max Wise (R), was a co-sponsor of the state’s S.B. 150, an anti-LGBTQ+ omnibus bill. The bill included bans on gender-affirming care for young people, bans on teachers from using pronouns that “do not conform to a student’s biological sex as indicated on the student’s original, unedited birth certificate,” bans on discussions of sexuality in grades K through 6, bans on discussions of gender identity and sexual orientation at all grade levels, and bans on trans kids using school bathrooms that align with their gender identity.

During a telephone town hall event on Monday, Craft was asked how her administration would “combat the transgender agenda” in Kentucky schools.

“Under a Craft-Wise administration, we will not have transgenders in our school system,” she responded.

As the AP notes, Craft did not specify any policy actions she planned to take regading transgender students.

Chris Hartman, executive director of Kentucky-based LGBTQ+ advocacy group Fairness Campaign, called Craft’s pledge “desperate and disgusting.”

“Her claim that she and Wise will somehow purge transgender kids from Kentucky schools is nothing more than an unhinged political promise she can’t keep,” he said. “None of the other candidates are railing this hard against LGBTQ youth because it won’t work, except to harm trans kids.”

On Tuesday, Craft’s campaign attempted to walk back her incendiary remark. “Of course Kelly was referring to the woke ideologies being pushed in our schools,” they said in a statement. “She has been advocating for the best for all children this entire campaign.”

Whoever wins the GOP primary next week is expected to face Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear (D) in November. Beshear vetoed S.B. 150 after it was passed in March. But the state’s Republican-led legislature overrode the governor’s veto to pass the sweeping anti-trans law.

Earlier this month, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Kentucky and the National Center for Lesbian Rights filed a lawsuit on behalf of several families with trans children, challenging the law’s ban on gender-affirming care.

Meanwhile, at least one Republican political consultant cast doubt on Craft’s anti-trans strategy.

“There’s no doubt that that issue polls very, very well with core Republican primary voters,” T.J. Litafik told the AP. “The danger that any candidate faces is going so extreme to win a very small primary vote that you can’t get back to the middle for a general election.”

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