Both the Republican and Democrat party leaders from the 16th Kentucky Senate District have completed caucus meetings last week that saw each select the candidate that will appear on the ballot next month in a special election.
That December 18 election is being held to allow voters to elect who will represent this six-county district in the Kentucky Senate for the unexpired term recently vacated by then Senate President David Williams (R-Burkesville).
In last week’s party caucus meetings, the Republicans chose Monticello attorney Sara Beth Gregory as it’s candidate, while the Democrats chose Williamsburg school teacher Bill Conn as its candidate.
The election is being held to fill the unexpired term of long-time senator Williams, who resigned his senate seat after accepting an appointment from Governor Steve Beshear to the Circuit Court bench in the 40th Judicial District that includes Clinton, Cumberland and Monroe Counties.
The Circuit Court judgeship had become vacant with the death in September of long-time Circuit Judge Eddie C. Lovelace.
Both the Republicans and Democrats held caucus meetings last Wednesday night in Monticello.
In press releases issued to the Clinton County News regarding the selections, both candidates expressed gratitude in receiving the nod from their respective party.
Gregory, who was just re-elected to a second term as a member of the Kentucky House of Representatives for the 52nd District, said she hopes that the experience she has gained from her term as a representative, will serve her if elected in next month’s special election.
“I am honored to have been chosen as the Republican nominee for the 16th Senate District and grateful for the support I have received from throughout the district,” Gregory said. “I believe my experience as a state representative will allow me to hit the ground running and be effective from day one in the State Senate.”
Gregory was one of two well-known Republicans from this district seeking that party’s nomination. Albany attorney David M. Cross, also a well-known figure in the Republican party, was also seeking the party nomination at last week’s caucus.
In winning the Republican nomination last week, Gregory also noted that she hoped to continue to bring the 16th District the kind of representation it had become accustomed to.
“As a member of the Republican majority in the State Senate, I will be committed to ensuring the counties in this district continue to get their fair share from Frankfort. I will also continue working to create economic growth, to fight against illegal drugs, and to protect the conservative values of the people I represent.,”Gregory said.
Conn, the candidate selected by Democrat leaders in the 16th District, is a Williamsburg (Whitley County) native, and is currently employed as an elementary school teacher with the Williamsburg Independent School District, where he has taught for seven years.
“I am honored and humbled to have the Democratic nomination for 16th district state senator. I enter this race with a desire to rise above petty, partisan politics and earnestly serve all the people of the six counties I hope to represent in Frankfort,” said Conn.
In his press release announcing his selection by the Democratic party, Conn also managed to distance himself somewhat from his party’s best known current figure, President Barack Obama.
“While I am proud to be a Kentucky Democrat, I do not agree with many of the views of the national Democratic Party,” stated Conn. “The presidential election is over. Kentuckians voted overwhelmingly against Barack Obama in no small part due to his venomous war on coal. I am proud to be a pro-coal, pro-life, pro-gun, pro-family Democrat. Any attempts to portray Bill Conn as anything but a hearty southern Kentucky conservative are absolutely ludicrous and 100 percent false.”
Conn went on to say that if elected, he hoped to be able to work with the current Kentucky administration to the benefit of the citizens in this district.
“I think people have had enough of divide-and-conquer, mean-spirited, overly political officeholders. I’ve never held or sought political office before in my life, but I thought it was time that somebody stepped up to serve who was willing to try and offer solutions, not add to the gridlock and partisanship in our State Capitol,” Conn said.
The 16th Senatorial District is a six-county southern-Kentucky region that includes Clinton County, along with Monroe, Cumberland, Wayne, McCreary and Whitley County.