Three weeks ago, Republican party leaders from the 16th Kentucky Senate District completed a caucus meeting and nominated Sara Beth Gregory, of Monticello, for senate. Her name will appear on the ballot December 18, in a special election for the senate seat.
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).
Gregory will face Democrat Bill Conn, an educator from Williamsburg who was also chosen in a caucus meeting of Democrats a few weeks ago.
Gregory, an attorney in Wayne County, has been a member of the Kentucky House of Representatives since 2011.
She made a brief visit on Monday of this week to the Clinton County News office to offer some of her background information and her platforms for next Tuesday’s election.
Her campaign also plans on a bus tour stop this Saturday, with the Albany visit slated for 11:45 a.m.
“I was born and raised in Wayne County and I work with Tom Carroll and Lance Turner at their law firm,” Gregory said. “I serve in the State House right now and I’ve always been interested in politics. I grew up and was always involved in local Republican party events … It’s been an interest for a long time. When I went to college, I majored in political science and spent a session working on staff in the legislature in between my undergraduate degree and going to law school. I’ve been around the legislative process and learned a lot about it.”
Gregory said her interest in public service brought her back to her home town to practice law.
“Getting involved and trying to do something to help the community and the area is something I wanted to do,” Gregory said.
The 16th Kentucky State Senate District consists of Clinton, Cumberland, Monroe, Wayne, McCreary and Whitley counties.
Gregory said getting out and campaigning across the senate district has been a challenge in such a short amount of time.
“I’m fortunate, being from Wayne County, that I’m kind of centrally located, so it’s made it a little bit easier for me,” Gregory said. “I’ve made it a point to try and spend time in each of the counties and talk with community leaders and government leaders in each of the counties. I’ve got a very positive response throughout the district during the past few weeks.”
On Saturday, December 15, Gregory will be traveling with Senator Mitch McConnell and Agriculture Commissioner Jamie Comer. The campaign bus is scheduled to arrive at the Clinton County Welcome Center at 11:45 a.m.
“We are doing a six county bus tour just to try and get enthusiasm about the election and to let people know about the election,” Gregory said. “Hopefully it will encourage them to get out and vote in this special election on Tuesday, December 18.”
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.
With the election coming just a week before Christmas, Gregory hopes there will be a large turnout on that Tuesday.
“It’s an important election,” Gregory said. “Obviously a lot of people are familiar with David Williams and his role as Senate President. Hopefully that will encourage people to get out and participate in the electoral process on the 18th.”
One of Gregory’s biggest concerns for our district is job creation.
“The level of unemployment that we have is obviously a major issue and what we have to do at the state level as policy makers is try to make policies that will make Kentucky more competitive with our surrounding states,” Gregory said. “Everyone in this district lives on the Tennessee border and so we constantly see first hand the comparison with Tennessee.”
The majority of the problem, according to Gregory, is a lot of people move to Tennessee for work or the advantageous tax structure.
“That’s something we have to compete with, so as state policy makers, one thing we can do is look to implement policies that will make us more attractive to business looking to locate and make it easier for our existing small business to expand and to grow,” Gregory said. “Sometimes we overlook that, but in rural Kentucky, we need to focus on helping the existing businesses.”
Another area in which Gregory will explore if elected on Tuesday, December 18, is in the agriculture area of the state.
“That’s an area where we have a competitive advantage,” Gregory said. “Our new Ag Commissioner Jamie Comer believes very strongly in using agriculture as an engine for job creation. I look forward to being able to work with him to further that as well.”
Other areas of Gregory’s platform include the drug problems that are in the area with methamphetamine production and prescription drug abuse.
“That seems to be the biggest things that impact this area,” Gregory said. “That is something, as a state representative, I’ve been working to fight and as a state senator, I want to continue that.”
Other than drug abuse, jobs and unemployment rates, Gregory believes the people in the area want someone who will uphold traditional Kentucky values.
“They want someone who will fight for coal, who will represent the pro-life view point, who will stand up for second amendment rights … those are all conservative values that I believe in,” Gregory said. “I’ve been endorsed in this race by Kentucky Right to Life and endorsed by the NRA. I think my track record in the house shows that I believe in that and have a proven record on those issues.”
Gregory said people in the area are also interested in infrastructure and roads.
“If I’m elected I would be a member of the Republican majority, so I would be committed to making sure we do continue those projects that have been started that really do need to be finished. This area needs them finished for both economic purposes and this part of the state deserves better and safer roads just like everywhere else,” Gregory said.