Will Kentucky Embrace Ashley Judd’s Progressive Senate Run?

Rumors that film star Ashley Judd is considering a run for Senate in her native Kentucky are solidifying. Politico reported Tuesday that Judd has spoken to Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and a Democratic pollster about a possible challenge to Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY). Judd, an unabashed progressive activist, attended the Democratic National Convention this year as a delegate from Tennessee, where she currently lives. Should she decide to run, it won’t be difficult to determine where she stands on crucial policy issues. Here are just a few examples:

  • Women’s health. Judd has been an outspoken advocate for women’s health groups NARAL Pro-Choice and Planned Parenthood. As she marveled in May, “It’s remarkable to me that I would be having conversations with my peers and the younger cohort about access to reproductive health. That’s the same conversation I have with girls and women in Bangladesh. It’s the same conversation I have in Cambodia and Madagascar. And here we are in America in 2010, talking about whether or not modern family planning is useful. I mean I find that extraordinary.
  • Equal pay for women. The film star has talked many times about the importance of equal pay legislation such as the Lilly Ledbetter Act:

  • Fighting the coal industry. The eighth-generation Kentucky native spoke at a rally against mountaintop removal coal-mining, calling it a “scourge” and a “tragedy” that has devastated the state’s natural resources:
  • Climate change. Judd is firmly against off-shore oil drilling and testified to a House subcomittee on the benefits of cap and trade legislation. She noted on the red carpet that she specifically supports, “designating 5 percent of the revenue generated by cap and trade to help ameliorate and offset the damage global climate change is doing to different environmental systems.”
  • Equal marriage rights. Judd praised President Obama at the DNC for embracing same-sex marriage rights, saying she was “extremely proud” because he was “displaying his values and his belief in equality.”
  • Obamacare. At the DNC she extolled the Affordable Care Act as having helped 350,000 Tennessean families with pre-existing conditions, while 60,000 young people are now covered under their parents’ insurance.

These boldly liberal stances may not help the star win over deep-red Kentucky, and she is not likely to compromise them. As her own grandmother said, “She’s a Hollywood liberal. It would be interesting to see what type of race she would run.”