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Kentucky's Top Issues in 2024: A Comprehensive Overview

2 min read
Kentucky Politics Team · Apr 11, 2024

Kentucky is confronted with numerous opportunities and challenges that will determine its future as the 2024 election season draws nearer. Kentucky’s political candidates and voters have a lot to consider, ranging from the healthcare system and economy to education and the environment. 

4 Top Issues in Kentucky

Kentucky is a vibrant, diverse state with a deep cultural heritage. It also faces certain significant issues:

#1: Economy and Jobs

The COVID-19 outbreak and the decline of the coal industry severely impacted Kentucky's economy and led to an increase in employment issues. As of February 2024, the unemployment rate in the state was 4.4%, which was higher than the 3.9% national average. Some believe the state should invest in education, infrastructure, and innovation, in addition to diversifying its industries and energy sources to increase economic growth.

#2: Healthcare

With 7% of the population going without health insurance in 2021, Kentucky has one of the poorest rates of healthcare coverage in the country. Additionally, the state has performed poorly on a number of health indices, including heart disease, cancer, diabetes, obesity, and mortality from opioid overdoses. Healthcare remains an important issue for Kentucky voters, especially for those concerned with the underlying socioeconomic determinants of health and wellness.

#3: Education

Issues related to Kentucky’s educational system include inadequate financing, achievement disparities, inadequate facilities, and a shortage of teachers. The Kentucky Board of Education has also recently selected its next state commissioner of education, Robbie Fletcher. As commissioner, Fletcher will be in charge of managing the state’s 171 school districts.

Jefferson County Public Schools and Fayette County Public Schools are also preparing to elect new school board members in 2024, with the general election coming up on November 5, 2024. According to data from Ballotpedia, half of the two counties’ 12 school board positions will be up for election. These local elections will give voters in Jefferson County and Fayette County the opportunity to make new decisions about how their children should be educated and how their schools should be maintained.

#4: Environment

Deforestation, pollution from mining activities, and climate change all pose a threat to Kentucky's ecosystems. Because of its reliance on coal-fired power plants, the state is among the top emitters of greenhouse gasses in the country. 

In addition, the state has poor water and air quality, with several of its rivers and streams being harmed by pollution and multiple counties breaking federal ozone standards. With only 48% of its total area covered by forests, the state also has low forest cover compared to some other states, reinforcing environmental concerns as one of the main statewide challenges in Kentucky. The state may consider lessening its carbon footprint, upholding environmental laws, and encouraging the restoration and preservation of its natural resources in order to address these statewide concerns.

Top Issues in Kentucky’s Largest Cities

#1: Louisville

Urban development, racial injustice, homelessness, and violence are some of the major election issues in Louisville, Kentucky. There were 150 homicides in the city of Louisville in 2023 alone, indicating a high prevalence of violent crime and the need for voters and candidates to consider how they should approach further urban development. While this number shows a slight decrease from the number of homicides in 2022, many residents believe the violence is happening “far too often.”

Following the death of Breonna Taylor, who was killed by police in her Louisville residence on March 13, 2020, Louisville also has to continue reckoning with the issues of police violence and racial equity.

#2: Lexington

The city of Lexington faces a number of challenges in 2024, including urban sprawl, traffic congestion, opioid addiction, and economic growth. Between 2010 and 2018, the city's population grew by only 13%, but its land area rose by 28%, indicating potential community development issues. 

Lexington also had 2,251 opioid overdose deaths reported in 2021. This opioid crisis adds to Lexington’s list of challenges. To address these challenges and ensure community development and economic growth in Lexington, the city may want to consider increasing treatment and preventative programs. The city may also consider enhancing public transit to achieve its community development goals after the 2024 election season in Kentucky.

#3: Bowling Green

Public services, immigration, poverty, and education are some of Bowling Green’s priorities in the upcoming Kentucky election season. The recent Valor Oil fire has also called attention to the need for effective emergency response systems and the mitigation of environmental damage.

How to Get Involved in Local Politics in Kentucky

What are the top issues in your city or town in Kentucky? Whatever issues stand out the most to you, there are ways you can make an impact and help move the needle on those important issues.

Here are a few of the most powerful ways to make a difference:

  • Register to vote. Preparing to vote in Kentucky’s upcoming elections is a great way to get ready to make your voice heard. Remember, your opinions matter!

  • Volunteer. Consider volunteering in your local community, with a local or statewide organization, or with a national organization like offers easy ways for Kentuckians and others across the country to make a difference in support of fairer elections and a more representative democracy. Check out our volunteer opportunities here.

  • Run for office. One of the most impactful ways to move the needle on Kentucky’s top issues is to run for local office. As a local leader, you’ll be poised to enact local policy and respond to your community’s challenges. offers free campaign tools and support to help real people like you get their campaigns off the ground. Book a free meeting with our team here, and let’s talk about the possibilities.

Photo by Alex Mertz on Unsplash


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By Politics Team
The politics team is focused on transforming the political landscape by promoting transparency, accountability, and positive change. They aim to engage citizens in the political process, encourage informed decision-making, and support candidates who prioritize the common good. Their mission revolves around creating a more fair and just political system, fostering collaboration, and breaking down traditional barriers of partisanship.