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A Kentucky House Democrat is the latest legislative leader to announce she's not running in 2024

Josh James

Democratic House Minority Whip Rachel Roberts says she won't be seeking another term, adding to an increasingly long list of legislators who are taking their names off the list next year.

Roberts announced in a statement that, after months of deliberation, the decision not to run again was “the right one for me and my family.”

The departure comes as a spate of lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are looking for the exits, including Republican Senate Majority Floor Leader Damon Thayer and House Democratic Caucus Chair Derrick Graham.

The policymakers have offered a number of reasons they’re not seeking re-election: family and business obligations, a desire to let others take over the posts, and, at least in one Democratic lawmaker’s case, a sense that she’s not able to get much done for her constituents given the balance of power.

Asked about the exodus, UK political analyst Dr. Stephen Voss noted the change in tone that many have lamented in politics across the country.

"We're seeing a lot of retirements right now," he says, noting that, "Negative polarization in the political system has helped make the job less fun. People not only in politics but also people who have to cover it as reporters and people who have to study it are disgusted by the whole thing."

While that’s not necessarily the reason this batch of Kentucky lawmakers are choosing to step down after this term, it could affect the slate of candidates that voters have to pick from in future elections.

Josh James fell in love with college radio at Western Kentucky University's student station, New Rock 92 (now Revolution 91.7). After working as a DJ and program director, he knew he wanted to come home to Lexington and try his hand in public radio.