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State Rep. Pamela Stevenson launches bid for Kentucky attorney general

 Kentucky Democratic state Rep. Pamela Stevenson
J. Tyler Franklin
Kentucky Democratic state Rep. Pamela Stevenson

Democratic Rep. Pamela Stevenson filed to run for Kentucky attorney general last week, making her the first Black woman to run for the office in state history.

Current Attorney General Daniel Cameron isn’t seeking reelection to the position next year, instead running in a crowded race of Republicans trying to unseat Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear.

Stevenson announced her bid on Monday, though she filed paperwork to campaign for the post last week. She recently won reelection to House District 43, which includes parts of west and downtown Louisville and was first elected to the Legislature in 2020.

During an interview, Stevenson said if elected, she would focus on ending the opioid epidemic, stopping price gouging at the pump and “making sure extreme laws in Frankfort don’t take away our freedoms.”

“The attorney general is the people’s lawyer. We need someone who’s going to listen to people. When you’re working with people and not special interests, you get the opportunity to provide for people,” she said.

Stevenson is a retired lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Air Force. So far there is only one other candidate in the race: former U.S. Attorney Russell Coleman, a Republican who used to work as an FBI special agent and adviser to U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell.

Stevenson said she plans to bring her 27 years of experience as a JAG attorney to the attorney general’s office.

“My advice was consistent with what was needed and what the law provided and not based on my personal position,” Stevenson said.

Stevenson has been a vocal member of state House, where Democrats currently hold only 20 of the chamber’s 100 seats. She’s spoken out against police violence, abortion bans and COVID-denialism.

She introduced a bill that wouldamend the state Constitution to restore voting rights to inmates convicted of certain felonies, but it wasn’t taken up.

Colemanannounced his run in May this year. He has touted himself as a “pro-life, pro-gun and pro-police conservative” on his campaign website.

Coleman has clinched over 50 endorsements including the Kentucky State Fraternal Order of Police, U.S. Reps. Brett Guthrie and Andy Barr and a number of Republican lawmakers and local officials.

In his first campaign video, Coleman said Kentucky families are “under attack” from violent crime, drugs and child predators.

“As the chief federal law enforcement officer for Trump in west Kentucky, my priority was the same as his: to make America safe again by stopping the people who are poisoning our communities with deadly drugs,” he said.

Stevenson said she wants to balance public safety and compassion.

“Everybody wants to be safe in their homes. We want to punish people that commit crimes and we want to keep drugs off the street, that’s a no brainer. But we have to do them with justice and mercy. We have to make sure we’re following the system that we built,” she said.

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Divya Karthikeyan