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State Sen. Julie Raque Adams

Renee talks with State Sen. Julie Raque Adams (District 36) of Jefferson County, founder of Kentucky Strong, which works to recruit pro-business, Republican women to seek elected office.
Season 11 Episode 13 Length 28:31 Premiere: 01/01/16

State Sen. Julie Raque Adams

It started over a stop sign.

Julie Raque Adams returned home to Louisville after working in Washington, D.C., and found her new neighborhood lacked a stop sign. With two young boys, she wanted to ensure families on her street were safe from speeding drivers.  When she got nowhere requesting a sign through the normal channels, Adams took a different approach.

“ I thought, I’m going to run [for Metro Council] and I’m going to get my stop sign,” Adams recalls.

After six years as a Louisville councilwoman and three years in the state House, Adams is now a state Senator representing northeastern Jefferson County. She also chairs the Senate Health and Welfare Committee. Adams appeared on KET’s Connections to discuss her legislative priorities and her efforts to recruit more Republican women into politics.

Adams says she was fortunate to have good role models in her early days: She served on Sen. Mitch McConnell’s staff, and she was a campaign manager and press secretary for former Congresswoman Anne Northup. Despite that experience, Adams says people still questioned her decision to run for office.

“When I first ran for Metro Council, I would have people ask me, ‘Who’s going to take care of your children when you go to work?’” Adams says. “When I ran for the state House of Representatives, I had one woman say to me that she was going to vote for my opponent because she thought that I needed to stay home with my children.”

Her response in both instances, Adams says, is that she would be a good role model for her sons by being a public servant. Plus, she says she could advocate for policies that would help children and families.

Making Kentucky Smoke-Free
One such issue for Adams is smoke-free legislation. It’s a platform she’s promoted since her days on the Louisville Metro Council. Adams says her constituents initially opposed the idea, so she had to work to educate them on the health and economic benefits of a smoking ban.

“A healthier workforce makes us more attractive for businesses that want to locate here,” Says Adams. “ It increases worker productivity [and] it lowers costs for businesses to operate.”

The council approved Louisville’s ban in 2005. Now Adams has set her sights on making the entire state smoke-free. But with Kentucky’s legacy of tobacco production, the idea has not been an easy sell. Several earlier attempts at such legislation have failed to get floor votes in the state legislature, despite bipartisan support.

Some critics of a statewide ban contend local communities should decide the issue, an argument Adams says she understands. But she says smoking-related health problems cost the state some $2 billion in Medicaid payments alone, which makes the matter a statewide problem.

“The 27 percent of smokers in this state are reaching into the taxpayer wallets and they’re pulling money out, and I think that the majority of people are not happy with that,” Adams argues.

The Republican says she hopes to revive smoke-free legislation in the 2016 session, and she looks forward to convening tobacco interests, health advocates, and the business community to discuss the best policy approach.

Medicaid Expansion
Another issue Sen. Adams’ Health and Welfare Committee will likely tackle is the Medicaid expansion. Adams says she disagreed with former Gov. Steve Beshear’s executive action to expand Medicaid eligibility. She says the state simply can’t afford to keep those promises Beshear made to the commonwealth.

“So the only options that you have when you don’t have enough money to pay for these things [are], do you compassionately roll back certain aspects of the program or do you raise taxes?” Adams says.

Adams says she believes Gov. Matt Bevin will work with legislators to find a reasonable middle ground to change the Medicaid system while protecting the state’s finances. Such changes could include new eligibility requirements and asking beneficiaries to make small premium payments or copays for services.

“I think there are some compassionate approaches that we can take to so that our most vulnerable are protected, and those who are on the margins are also protected, and then the taxpayers are protected,” Adams says.

Recruiting Republican Women
In the Louisville Metro Council and in the state House, Adams was a member of the minority party. She says that experience of having to work with Democrats to achieve policy goals helped shape who she is and how she works as a legislator.

Now Adams is turning her attention to getting more Republican women into politics as the executive director of an organization called Kentucky Strong.

“Kentucky really lacks that female voice at the public policy table,” Adams says. “All issues are important to women, but there are some that we truly can lend our voice to and it’s absent right now.”

Women represent almost 51 percent of the Kentucky’s population, yet they only comprise 17 percent of the state legislature, and there are no females in Kentucky’s federal delegation.

Adams says the reasons why more women don’t run for office are complicated, ranging from the traditional demands of motherhood to personality traits that eschew conflict. Plus, she says the state’s geographic spread makes balancing family and legislative obligations in Frankfort difficult for lawmakers traveling from far eastern and western parts of the commonwealth.

Kentucky Strong launched last fall, and Adams says she’s excited by the response the group already has received. The organization is recruiting conservative, pro-business women and providing them training and support on how to run for and hold elective office. She says sometimes all a woman needs is to be asked to run.

“It’s such a rewarding job… and I wish other people could have that experience,” Adams says of being a lawmaker. “I want to reach out and tell other people that you can do it, that you are worthy.”

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Season 11 Episodes

Businessman Phil Wilkins

S11 E43 Length 26:31 Premiere Date 08/19/16

Training Business Leaders

S11 E42 Length 26:21 Premiere Date 08/12/16

NBA Great Dominique Wilkins

S11 E41 Length 27:47 Premiere Date 08/05/16

DEA Agent Gary Tuggle

S11 E40 Length 27:47 Premiere Date 07/29/16

Addiction and Public Health Reform

S11 E39 Length 29:11 Premiere Date 07/22/16

Addiction and the Criminal Justice System

S11 E38 Length 28:21 Premiere Date 07/15/16

Addiction in Rural Communities

S11 E37 Length 29:26 Premiere Date 07/07/16

Addiction and Mental Health

S11 E36 Length 29:06 Premiere Date 07/01/16

Recovery Services for Inmates

S11 E35 Length 28:26 Premiere Date 06/24/16

Veterans Treatment Court

S11 E34 Length 28:22 Premiere Date 06/17/16

Opioid Epidemic in Northern Ky.

S11 E33 Length 27:21 Premiere Date 06/10/16

Treatment Models for Addiction

S11 E32 Length 27:51 Premiere Date 06/03/16

Jazz Vocalist Jessie Laine Powell

S11 E31 Length 28:11 Premiere Date 05/27/16

Kentucky Oral Health Coalition

S11 E30 Length 28:21 Premiere Date 05/20/16

Dr. Kishonna Gray on Gaming

S11 E29 Length 28:06 Premiere Date 05/13/16

Advocating for Victims Rights

S11 E28 Length 28:46 Premiere Date 05/06/16

Advice for Parents on Coping Techniques

S11 E27 Length 28:06 Premiere Date 04/29/16

Author and Poet Crystal Wilkinson

S11 E26 Length 28:01 Premiere Date 04/22/16

Secretary Grimes on Voting Access

S11 E25 Length 28:31 Premiere Date 04/15/16

Child Abuse and Neglect

S11 E24 Length 28:01 Premiere Date 04/08/16

Overcoming Eating Disorders

S11 E21 Length 28:59 Premiere Date 02/26/16

Lt. Gov. Jenean Hampton

S11 E19 Length 28:16 Premiere Date 02/12/16

Remembering Georgia Davis Powers

S11 E18 Length 29:31 Premiere Date 02/05/16

Giving Students a Voice

S11 E17 Length 28:01 Premiere Date 01/29/16

Addressing Youth Violence

S11 E16 Length 28:11 Premiere Date 01/22/16

Professor Wayne Lewis

S11 E15 Length 28:01 Premiere Date 01/15/16

Ed. Commissioner Stephen Pruitt

S11 E14 Length 28:06 Premiere Date 01/08/16

State Sen. Julie Raque Adams

S11 E13 Length 28:31 Premiere Date 01/01/16

Kentucky First Lady Jane Beshear

S11 E11 Length 28:57 Premiere Date 12/11/15

Miss Kentucky Clark Davis

S11 E10 Length 29:03 Premiere Date 11/20/15

Ari Berman on Voting Rights

S11 E9 Length 28:01 Premiere Date 11/13/15

Poet Allison Joseph

S11 E8 Length 28:01 Premiere Date 11/06/15

Journalist Dorothy Gilliam

S11 E7 Length 28:41 Premiere Date 10/30/15

Author Jacinda Townsend

S11 E6 Length 28:01 Premiere Date 10/09/15

Kellie Blair Hardt

S11 E5 Length 28:16 Premiere Date 10/02/15

Childhood Cancer

S11 E4 Length 28:01 Premiere Date 09/25/15

Kentucky African-American Encyclopedia

S11 E3 Length 28:11 Premiere Date 09/18/15

Manny Caulk

S11 E2 Length 28:09 Premiere Date 09/11/15

25th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act

S11 E1 Length 28:31 Premiere Date 09/03/15

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Premiered On: 09/08/2017

Renee speaks with Kristin Ashford, Ph.D., a professor in the University of Kentucky College of Nursing whose research focuses on prenatal care and interventions aimed at preventing/ending tobacco use and illicit drugs. The program features a young woman who's participating in "Get Fit and Quit" recovery/smoking cessation program that is a partnership between the UK College of Nursing, Chrysalis House (a treatment center for women), and the YMCA. Part of KET's on-going initiative "Smoking and Health" funded in part by a grant from the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky.

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Premiered On: 09/22/2017

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Steve Beshear

Premiered On: 09/29/2017

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Gordon Hamlin

Premiered On: 10/13/2017

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Youth Mental Health and Suicide Prevention

Premiered On: 10/20/2017

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Premiered On: 11/03/2017

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Premiered On: 01/19/2018

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Gerald Smith

Premiered On: 02/09/2018

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Bob Jackson - Murray State University

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Premiered On: 02/16/2018

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Remembering Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Premiered On: 04/06/2018

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Premiered On: 04/13/2018

Renee speaks with Donna Pollard, a child marriage survivor and founder of Survivors' Corner, who has become the ambassador for changing child marriage laws in Kentucky with the passage of Senate Bill 48 that was signed into law by Gov. Matt Bevin on March 29, 2018. SB 48 raises the legal age to marry to 18 in Kentucky with some exceptions.

  • Wednesday January 4, 2023 5:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Wednesday January 4, 2023 4:30 am CT on KETKY
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  • Wednesday January 4, 2023 1:00 pm CT on KETKY
  • Wednesday January 4, 2023 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Wednesday January 4, 2023 9:30 pm CT on KETKY

Kosair Charities Face It Movement; Terry Brooks

Premiered On: 04/20/2018

In part one, Renee speaks with Keith Inman with Kosair Charities and Dr. Jennifer Green, University of Louisville Child Abuse Pediatrics Fellow about Kosair Charities Face It Movement that provides resources for parents and caregivers on child abuse. In part two, Dr. Terry Brooks, executive director of Kentucky Youth Advocates, talks about legislation passed in the 2018 Kentucky General Assembly that benefits children and families.

  • Thursday January 5, 2023 5:30 am ET on KETKY
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  • Thursday January 5, 2023 1:00 pm CT on KETKY
  • Thursday January 5, 2023 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Thursday January 5, 2023 9:30 pm CT on KETKY

Dr. Donna Grigsby

Premiered On: 05/11/2018

Renee speaks with Lexington pediatrician Dr. Donna Grigsby about early childhood brain development and the impact of adverse childhood experiences on cognitive and physical health. Dr. Grigsby discusses how to develop literacy skills in young children.

  • Friday January 6, 2023 5:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Friday January 6, 2023 4:30 am CT on KETKY
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Cory Jewell Jensen - S12 E18

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Restaurateur and Chef Ouita Michel - S16 E31

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David Thompson - S12 E11

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Mitzi Sinnott - S12 E3

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FDA Commissioner Dr. Robert Califf - S12 E2

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Phil Wilkins - S11 E43

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Tameka Montgomery - S11 E42

  • Monday November 28, 2022 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
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Dayna Seelig - S15 E12

  • Sunday December 4, 2022 8:00 am ET on KETKY
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Dominique Wilkins - S11 E41

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UK President Eli Capilouto - S18 E6

  • Thursday November 24, 2022 11:30 pm ET on KET
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Gary Tuggle - S11 E40

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Dr. Leana Wen - S11 E39

  • Wednesday November 23, 2022 10:29 pm ET on KETKY
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Terrence Walton - S11 E38

  • Tuesday November 22, 2022 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
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U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack - S11 E37

  • Monday November 21, 2022 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
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Author Emily Bingham - S18 E11

  • Sunday November 27, 2022 8:00 am ET on KETKY
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Kimberly Johnson - S11 E36

  • Friday November 18, 2022 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
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Jason Merrick - S11 E35

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Fayette County Veterans Treatment Court - S11 E34

  • Wednesday November 16, 2022 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
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Dr. Lynne Saddler - S11 E33

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Scott Hesseltine - S11 E32

  • Monday November 14, 2022 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
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Bill Goodman - Kentucky Humanities - S18 E10

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  • Sunday November 13, 2022 6:00 pm ET on KET2
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Jessie Laine Powell - S11 E31

  • Friday November 11, 2022 5:30 am ET on KETKY
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Oral Health Care In Kentucky - S11 E30

  • Thursday November 10, 2022 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Thursday November 10, 2022 9:30 pm CT on KETKY
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Kishonna Gray - S11 E29

  • Wednesday November 9, 2022 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Wednesday November 9, 2022 9:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Wednesday November 9, 2022 5:30 am ET on KETKY
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Gretchen Hunt - S11 E28

  • Tuesday November 8, 2022 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Tuesday November 8, 2022 9:30 pm CT on KETKY
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Dr. Erin Frazier - S11 E27

  • Monday November 7, 2022 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Monday November 7, 2022 9:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Monday November 7, 2022 2:00 pm ET on KETKY
  • Monday November 7, 2022 1:00 pm CT on KETKY
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Restoring American Democracy - S18 E9

  • Friday November 25, 2022 11:00 pm ET on KET2
  • Friday November 25, 2022 10:00 pm CT on KET2
  • Friday November 25, 2022 10:00 pm ET on KETKY
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  • Sunday November 13, 2022 8:00 am ET on KETKY
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  • Saturday November 12, 2022 4:30 pm ET on KETKY
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  • Sunday November 6, 2022 6:00 pm ET on KET2
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  • Sunday November 6, 2022 3:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Sunday November 6, 2022 12:00 pm ET on KET
  • Sunday November 6, 2022 11:00 am CT on KET

Breast Cancer - S18 E8

  • Sunday November 6, 2022 8:00 am ET on KETKY
  • Sunday November 6, 2022 7:00 am CT on KETKY
  • Saturday November 5, 2022 4:30 pm ET on KETKY
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Crystal Wilkinson - S11 E26

  • Friday November 4, 2022 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
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Criminal Justice Reform - Cherise Fanno Burdeen - S13 E34

  • Thursday November 3, 2022 10:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Thursday November 3, 2022 9:30 pm CT on KETKY
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