One day after the filing deadline for candidates running in the 2022 elections, Kentucky House Minority Leader Joni Jenkins withdrew her candidacy Wednesday.
Jenkins is the first woman to lead a legislative caucus in the General Assembly. She was first elected to the Kentucky House of Representatives in 1994.
She will not be running for re-election in the 44th House District but will maintain her seat and title of caucus leader through the end of the year.
Jenkins released the following statement about withdrawing her candidacy:
“I have long advocated for a General Assembly that looks like Kentucky, so when minorities became the majority population in the newly redrawn 44th House District, I did not want to be a barrier to a person of color joining the Kentucky House of Representatives. That’s why I withdrew my candidacy today.
“I have loved representing my beautifully diverse district for many years, and will be forever grateful that the voters gave me the chance to serve them. I will finish my term the same way I started my first: Fighting for those I represent and for a better commonwealth.
There has been no greater honor than leading this incredible House Democratic Caucus and serving with so many wonderful people over the years. It has been said many times, but your fellow legislators really do feel like family, and I’ve long known that to be true.”
With Jenkins withdrawing from the race, the seat will be filled by Democrat Beverly Chester-Burton, the mayor of Shively, as there are no other candidates running in the House District.
Kentucky Chamber President and CEO Ashli Watts celebrated Jenkins’ service and wished her well.
“On behalf of the Chamber, I wish Leader Jenkins well and thank her for her service to the Commonwealth. I have always enjoyed working with Leader Jenkins and appreciate her openness and working relationship with the Kentucky business community. As the first female leader in the state House she broke many a glass ceiling-including being the first female elected official to speak at our annual Chamber Day dinner. Thank you, Leader Jenkins, for your service and leadership.”