Louisville—Christians could have more influence in the political world if they would build relationships with their elected representatives, state Rep. David Floyd told the Kentucky Baptist Convention’s Committee on Public Affairs earlier this week.
The Bardstown Republican briefed members of the committee Tuesday on some of the major issues that could arise in the upcoming legislative session—and how they can weigh in on them.
Floyd, a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel who is a deacon at Bardstown Baptist Church, told the panel made up largely of Baptist pastors that they need to take the time to call their lawmakers, take them to lunch and let them know how they feel about particular issues.
“Build relationships with your legislators,” Floyd said. “Relationships matter.”
Kentucky Baptists tend to have strong relationships in the General Assembly, considering nearly half the Senate and a third of the House identify themselves as being of the Baptist faith.
The Cincinnati Enquirer reported earlier this year that Baptist influence in the General Assembly was responsible for the defeat of a proposal to legalize casinos in Kentucky. That article was reprinted in USA Today and the Louisville Courier-Journal.
Floyd said he doesn’t expect the proposal to expand gambling beyond horse tracks, bingo halls and lottery terminals to have any better chance in the upcoming legislative session. He said the proposal remains widely unpopular in the Republican-controlled Senate. Because of that, Floyd said he doesn’t believe the Democratic-controlled House is willing to tackle the issue.
House Democrats, many of whom are from conservative districts, do not want to be on record as voting for gambling if it doesn’t stand a chance in the Senate, he explained.
Floyd also said he expects legislation to be filed again in January to require pregnant women seeking abortions to undergo an ultrasound. However, he said he has little hope of that measure getting out of the House Health and Welfare Committee, which has killed the bill in prior years.
Baptists who want to influence that proposal and others need to speak up now, Floyd urged. Waiting until legislation has been filed to voice support or opposition can be too late, he said, telling committee it’s better to be engaged year round.
“I think by the time the vote comes to the floor, you won’t find many minds being changed,” Floyd said. “The groundwork that has been laid on any issue is important.” (KBC)