Kentucky State Rep. Kevin Bratcher announced his plans Thursday to run for a Louisville Metro Council seat next year, which would culminate a long statehouse career that put the Republican lawmaker at the forefront of school safety, juvenile justice and a host of other issues.
Bratcher has been a fixture in the Kentucky House since 1997. He was part of House leadership as majority party whip when Republicans took control of the chamber in the 2017 session, following a tidal wave of GOP victories statewide in the 2016 election. That completed the GOP’s control of the Kentucky legislature, since the party already was in charge of the Senate. Bratcher is now chairman of a House committee that wields jurisdiction over election legislation and proposed constitutional amendments.
Bratcher becomes the second Louisville-area lawmaker within days to pass up a House reelection run to instead seek a metro council seat in 2024. Democratic state Rep. Josie Raymond announced similar plans to run for metro council in another district. Bratcher referred to it as “a heck of a coincidence.”
Bratcher’s House district covers parts of Jefferson County, including Fern Creek. He said Thursday that he sees the move as a “good fit” for him.
“The older I get, the more interested I’m getting into local issues, just trying to make Fern Creek and the city of Louisville a better place to live,” Bratcher said in a phone interview. “And I think I can do a lot in this spot if the voters will allow me.”
In a statement, Kentucky House Speaker David Osborne said Bratcher will be missed, praising his colleague’s work on such issues as juvenile justice and public education.
“While Kevin Bratcher has never been one to seek the spotlight or attention, without a doubt his legislative career has been one of the most consequential and positive for Louisville and Jefferson County,” Osborne said.
Bratcher helped spearhead measures designed to strengthen school safety and to improve the state’s troubled juvenile justice system. The House committee he leads could garner considerable attention during next year’s session if it takes up a possible constitutional amendment dealing with school choice issues.
Bratcher’s announcement comes as Republicans and Democrats recruit candidates for next year’s legislative races. The GOP holds supermajorities in both legislative chambers.
Another lawmaker who announced recently that he won’t seek reelection next year is Republican state Rep. Danny Bentley, who represents a district in northeastern Kentucky. Bentley was a driving force behind legislation meant to help shore up the finances of rural hospitals and to make insulin more affordable for patients. He chairs the House budget subcommittee on Health and Family Services.