I have to ask this question, because the Kentucky state senator for my district campaigned hard on "family values" and threw around a lot of words like "honesty" and "integrity" while she was campaigning. Actions, however, often speak louder than words. This past week, her actions included voting to seat Dana Seum Stephenson in the contested 37th Senate District seat. If our senator really held the values she espouses, she would have voted against the seating of Ms. Stephenson, who has admitted to being a cheat and a fraud.
Stephenson established residency in Indiana in order to take advantage of in-state tuition rates. She lived and voted there, drove with an Indiana driver’s license. In short, she moved to Indiana to complete her education. Those of us who have attended college understand the advantages of paying in-state tuition and certainly cannot fault her for wanting to pay the lowest cost for her education. But as citizens of Kentucky, we cannot allow her to claim she is entitled to be a citizen of both states at the same time.
It is an act of dishonesty on the part of Ms. Stephenson to file for the state senate race when she knew she did not meet the residency requirements. Our constitution is very clear on this matter: senate seats are only open to those meeting the age and residency requirements.
Ms. Stephenson has tried to sidestep the residency requirement by claiming to have frequently slept at her mother's house. This is not good enough, nor is it good enough for Senate Republicans to claim that they have the right to ignore the constitution, the courts, and the state election board. We must hold all of them accountable for the flagrant disregard of truth, honor, and the rule of law.
Perhaps, Stephenson didn't know the rules when she filed for the office, but her behavior since has left us with a dilemma. She is either guilty of fraud in Kentucky or Indiana, and one or both states should be seeking to prosecute her for her actions.
Kentuckians should be looking closely at the honesty and integrity of every member of the state senate and taking notes. The next time Senator Kerr talks about values, I will certainly be there to remind her of how easily hers were cast aside in favor of political power.