FRANKFORT — Chris Fugate was sworn in as State Representative on Jan. 3 to begin his first term serving District 84, which includes all of Perry County and a large portion of Harlan County. Fugate, who is a Republican, gained his seat in Kentucky’s House of Representatives by defeating Democrat Fitz Steele in November’s election.
“New day in Kentucky,” Fugate said in a statement he posted on social media after his swearing in, “I was blessed to be sworn in today as the State Representative of the 84th District. I look forward to serving our district, representing the Lord and working for our people. God is good.”
Rep. Fugate did not have much time to settle into his new position before work began. Right away, he joined this year’s Legislative Session to vote either yes or no on bills that will significantly impact citizens of the Commonwealth.
Fugate voted in favor of passing House Bill 1, which many people know as Kentucky’s Right to Work legislation. Right to Work laws regulate relationships between unions, employees and employers. One purpose of the law is to prevent employers or unions from requiring existing employees to join a union or pay union dues. Employers are also prohibited from excluding non-union workers during the hiring process. House Bill 1 passed with approval from Kentucky’s majority Republican House of Representatives. Gov. Matt Bevin is also a firm supporter of Right to Work. Public opinion, however, remains mixed. The law is strongly debated by legislators and their constituents.
Fugate told lawmakers in Frankfort he voted yes to House Bill 1 because he believes Right to Work will benefit efforts to create jobs in District 84. In a statement for the public following his vote, Fugate said,
“I am thankful to represent the people of the 84th District, and I will do so to the best of my ability. We were blessed to pass two pro-life bills along with two important economic development bills this week.”
Chris Fugate enters the state’s House of Representatives as part of a Republican takeover. For the first time since 1921, a Republican, Jeffrey Hoover, is serving as Speaker of the House in Frankfort.
A term for State Rep. in Kentucky lasts two years. Chris Fugate is a native of Perry County. Along with State Rep. responsibilities, Fugate is also the pastor of Gospel Light Baptist Church in Hazard.
Sam Neace can be reached at 606-629-3243 or on Twitter @HazardHerald.