Meet the candidates: complete edition

Published 2:46 pm Saturday, May 14, 2022

  A note from Associate Editor Warren Taylor: One of the hallmarks of good journalism is integrity and transparency. In the interest of both the following corrections need to be made. In the print edition of Friday’s Sun, magisterial candidate Stephen Caudill’s name was not highlighted and one of his answer’s was cut short. The Sun would like to apologize to Mr. Caudill and the online version of the story has been updated to reflect the needed changes.

All answers below were the ones received by the Sun from candidates who chose to respond to its invitation to respond to its primary election survey.

A little under a week before Friday’s May 13th edition of the Sun an email was sent to all candidates running in a competitive primary election in Clark County. The email addresses were taken from online documents found on the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance’s website. A followup email was also sent.

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With that in mind, it has come to the Sun’s attention that several candidates feel that they were not contacted about the survey and that several readers were concerned that candidates who did not respond were not mentioned at all. The Sun has taken our readers feedback under consideration and now understands the confusion that caused. As a result in the online version of the article all candidates running for office are listed below.

Also any candidate who did not fill out the survey may contact associate editor Warren Taylor by email warren@winchestersun.com or by phone at 859-447-5363. He will send it to them and update this article with their responses. The deadline to do will be 6 p.m. on Monday.

State Rep. for 73rd District

Rory Houlihan (Democrat)

Tell us about your background.

I have worked at Lowe’s Winchester for 23 years.  I have been married to my wife Teri for 33 years. I majored in economics, political science, studied physics, chemistry, international law, constitutional law, the history of World War I, Europe and the Pacific. I have been the treasurer of ECDC and the Lowes Kids Captain.

Why are you the best candidate for this office?

23 years at Lowe’s has taught me key traits needed. Customer focused listening. I will listen to you and look forward to serving you as I have done for 23 years at Lowe’s. My moderate Christian values: being a humble servant, doubting my own infallibility, listening, weighing the pros and cons, team building and looking forward to working hard with others. My 23-year honed ability to find solutions and solve problems. My good nature and my ability to see the good in others. All needed for this position.

What do you think is the most pressing issue effecting us in this election cycle?

Extremist liberal and conservative “my way or the highway” grid lock. Time to show them the highway and hire a moderate who will listen to you and work hard to solve the problems like the weather nows of fire, flood, and freak from climate change. The solution is not complicated. Solution simple

How would you address this issue in your elected office?

Find an issue, like building two hydroelectric dams in eastern Kentucky that many fellow legislators will want to work on. Use this issue to build a working rapport with as many fellow legislators as possible and create a team building issue and build a team. Do this over and over.

 Tommy Adams (Democrat)

Tell us about your background.

I’m Tommy Adams, and I love Kentucky. I’m a longtime educator and lifelong student. I serve as a member of Wolfe County Search and Rescue. I actively support the members of my community. I’m running because I care, not just for some Kentuckians, but for every Kentuckian.

Why are you the best candidate for this office?

I am the candidate best able to speak to the needs of my community. I am the candidate best able to form a broad coalition of support to win in November. I have all of the skills necessary to succeed in this role, but being better than my opponents with regard to these metrics isn’t why I will win. I will win because I’m kind. I’m a caring person, and my kindness doesn’t just extend to people with the label Democrat or teacher or runner or progressive –this will be evident in my commitment to building a Kentucky for every Kentuckian.

What do you think is the most pressing issue effecting us in this election cycle?

I think it’s a disservice to label any one thing the highest priority because it reinforces the misconception that these things aren’t all connected. But, to pick one thing I always go back to education. As a longtime teacher, I just can’t help but view the world through the lens of education.

How would you address this issue in your elected office?

The people in office have promoted policies and passed laws that are actively hurting Kentuckians. Our first priority should be to stop this from continuing. Thus, our first priority should be removing these folks from office by electing folks like me. Fully fund education. Increase compensation for teachers. Create incentive programs to hire and retain top talent. Rebuild education to be equitable and enjoyable. Raise our standards. Universal Pre-K and funded childcare assistance. Tuition free college. Student debt assistance. Better college/trade prep. More academic travel opportunities.

Clark County Clerk

Republicans running: Paula Edwards,  Linda Janko and Daniel Vetter

Clark County Constable

Republican running: W. Gerald Ham and Shelby “Lynn” Toler.

Clark County Judge-Executive

Greg Elkins (Republican)

Tell us about your background.

I am serving in my second term as a Clark County Magistrate, and I am the CEO of a successful private company. I served six years in the Kentucky National Guard. I met my wife of 35 years, Kim Elkins while attending Morehead State University.

Why are you the best candidate for this office?

Serving as a magistrate allows me to bring knowledge and experience of our local government to this office. As a CEO in the private sector, I have 30 years experience building businesses, creating jobs, managing large budgets and numerous employees. I have negotiated agreements with multiple economic development boards, worked with state and local governments throughout the commonwealth and I have the relationships in Frankfort to move Clark County forward. As your judge-executive I will be fiscally responsible while still providing outstanding services.

What do you think is the most pressing issue effecting us in this election cycle?

While there are many issues affecting us, probably the most pressing issue that the judge-executive can impact is the need for improved and increased infrastructure in the county. Broadband, sanitary sewer, storm water Issues and county roads are some of the most pressing infrastructure issues.

How would you address this issue in your elected office?

As your judge-executive, I will focus on the continued development of broadband service to areas of Clark County that are currently without, work to provide sanitary sewer services to those locations that are in desperate need, and I will direct funds to begin addressing storm water issues that have plagued Clark County for years. Clark County recently received $7 million in ARPA funds from the federal government. These funds were distributed with the intention of infrastructure enhancement and development. Using these funds as intended will promote much needed growth for our county.

Other Republicans running for judge-executive: Robert Gayheart and Les Yates.

Vaché L. King (Democrat)

Tell us about your background.

A native of Lexington, KY; however, I have  resided in Winchester for the last 10 years. I’m the wife of Dee King and together we have three children, DeAnte (Samesha), Dariel, and Damion. I am also the proud grandmother of three beautiful little ladies, Karter, Kennedy, and Kerrington. Vache has worked in diverse industries including government, manufacturing/production, healthcare, and banking.

Why are you the best candidate for this office?

Communication of strategic initiatives is more than speaking to what strategic pathway one should take. It involves collecting the visions of executive leadership across the spectrum of any organization/company, along with conducting research and analysis of said visions. Once research and analysis has been completed, one must discuss and negotiate which vision makes sense to accomplish the overarching objectives of the organization/company.

What do you think is the most pressing issue effecting us in this election cycle?

One of our pressing challenges in this community that I’ll speak on is around substance abuse.

According to the 2020 Kentucky Overdose Fatality Report, substance misuse, particularly the diversion and abuse of prescription drugs and substances such as illicit fentanyl, heroin, and methamphetamine, remains one of the most critical public health and safety issues facing Kentucky.

How would you address this issue in your elected office?

This epidemic of substance abuse plaguing our community is going to take the hands of the community. From county, city government, to the experts in the field with boots on the ground, to the current agencies supporting this population, to school officials, family members and those suffering to have a seat at the table discussing and implementing the necessary plans.

Other Democrats running for judge-executive: Justin Patrick Charles.

Clark County Magistrate

Steven Caudill (Republican-District 1)

Tell us about your background.
Born in Clark Co. 1981 G.R.C. graduate. U.S. Army Veteran. Served with the First Calvary Division. Graduate of Eastern Ky. School of Law Enforcement. Winchester Police Dept. Retired Detective. Owner of Daniel Boone of Kentucky LLC. Married to Stephanie Caudill for 29 yrs.

Why are you the best candidate for this office?

I bring a career background of public service. I have strong community trust. I have made deep relationships, well respected. My service record is beyond reproach. I have a passion to help others.
I follow through all commitments. I surround myself with successful, positive people. I can be counted on. I will always do what’s right. I am a leader, not a follower. I have always lived life believing if you want to see positive change, always be a part of a solution, not a problem. My word, and my handshake are my honor. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

What do you think is the most pressing issue effecting us in this election cycle?

I got out very early in my election meeting with the people door to door, the most often response from the community I heard often was a concern there was a divided court, and we needed unity.

How would you address this issue in your elected office?

The solution is very simple. There is a field of brilliant candidates, I believe the voters have researched and will vote for the changes they want to see our community to be!

David Konstantopoulos (Republican-District 1)
Tell us about your background.

For the past 16 years I have owned and operated a small business here in Clark County. My wife, Carrie, is a teacher at Strode Station Elementary and I have two children. I am a life-long conservative Republican. I believe in fiscal responsibility, strong family values and common-sense decision making.

Why are you the best candidate for this office?

I am the current elected Magistrate for District 1 and am seeking my third term in office. I offer experience, knowledge and a proven record of results. I enjoy serving and helping my neighbors with issues that arise. During my tenure, we have cut taxes, voted no against industrial solar, enhanced county services and promoted conservative values. Projects are underway to fix up our parks, expand broadband into rural areas and improve infrastructure throughout Clark County. I am easily accessible by cell phone and email and I help dozens of neighbors each year solve problems and address their concerns. Voters in District 1 know they can count on me to work hard to represent them.

What do you think is the most pressing issue effecting us in this election cycle?

Infrastructure projects currently in process are of vital importance. Expanding sanitary sewer to Western Clark County, widening of US-60, completion of by-pass extension and broadband internet accessibility are all items to be completed or addressed during the next 4 years. These projects are important to the growth and vitality of our community.

How would you address this issue in your elected office?

I will continue using my state and federal relationships I have developed to lobby for funding for our county. Decision making on how to spend ARPA funds will be important; I would like to only use ARPA funds on infrastructure projects that will have a long term impact on the county and not on projects that are going to cost taxpayers on an annual basis. I hope to continue facilitating the broadband expansion project until its completion. I currently serve on the regional broadband committee and I am also leading, along with Magistrate Davis, negotiations with current broadband providers to see this project through completion. Finally, I will continue protecting our farmland from industrial solar.

Ernest Pasley (Republican-District 2)

Tell us about your background.

I am a Christian conservative Republican, 6th generation Clark Countian on both sides of my family, I am a commissioner on the ECCWD board and a member of Grace Baptist Church. I am active in the local and state Republican parties. I love Clark County and want it preserved for future generations.

Why are you the best candidate for this office?

I am the only conservative, active Republican, running in the primary. I have relationships and will work with the elected local and state conservatives. I will do more than attend 2 monthly meetings, I will use my contacts and relationships statewide to help our county. I will complete recommended state training so I serve Clark County with knowledge. I will continue to look for ways to lower taxes. I will not cast a vote to spend county tax dollars on charity or philanthropy. My focus will be on infrastructure and county employee wages. I will be a voice for all of District 2.

What do you think is the most pressing issue effecting us in this election cycle?

Conservative spending of ARPA funds. We need a fiscal court that can work together to get projects accomplished with this historic money. It is imperative we spend these funds on infrastructure to preserve our county. We need working sewers, clean water, internet and road improvements.

How would you address this issue in your elected office?

I will only support spending ARPA funds on infrastructure. I will not cast a vote for Clark County tax dollars or ARPA funds to be spent on non-essentials or charitable giving. It’s not the county government’s role to tax the citizens and hand out its money to charity and non-essentials. I encourage Clark Countians to go to the county website, view the fiscal court minutes, and see the motions made for spending of these funds in recent meetings. The county needs working sewers, clean water, internet and improved roads. I will work with other elected conservatives to see this happen.

Other Republicans running for the seat: Travis Thompson

Larry Hall (Republican-District 3)

Tell us about your background.

I am Larry Hall, I was born and raised in Clark County. I am a Kentucky licensed auctioneer and currently hold a seat on the board of directors for Rolling Thunder KY number 5. I am a huge supporter of veterans. I retired two years ago after 37 years with UPS Freight.

Why are you the best candidate for this office?

I am dedicated, dependable, hard working and honest. I believe that we need transparency in our fiscal court. I want the citizens of District 3 to know that they will have a magistrate in me that will be accessible at any time and will stand up for their concerns and work hard for them. I am not the kind of person that just follows the crowd. If elected, I will not vote for or against anything that is not in the best interest for the citizens of east Clark County or for everyone in Clark County.

What do you think is the most pressing issue effecting us in this election cycle?

I believe we need to return the fiscal court back to the people that put us into office so that their voices and concerns are heard, because the fiscal court does belong to the citizens of the county.

How would you address this issue in your elected office?

If elected by the people in District 3, the citizens will know my name and have my phone number and email address so they can effectively communicate their issues to me at any given time.

Steve Craycraft (Republican-District 3)

Tell us about your background.

I am Steve Craycraft, a 3rd generation Clark County native and lifelong resident. I am a GRC & EKU graduate, Army veteran, and local commercial property and business owner (Spectrum Photography). I have been married to Luanne Ross for 46 years and we have two grown children and four grandchildren.

What are you the best candidate for this office?There are three things I will do if elected – Protect, Preserve and Promote. I support fiscal conservatism, low taxes, responsible spending, government transparency, local control of issues, and smart growth. I believe that my life experiences in farming, manufacturing, education, military, and business management make me the best candidate. I know how to budget money, make payroll and invest in the future. I will be accessible. I will be responsive. I will speak up for my constituents and Clark County.

What do you think is the most pressing issue effecting us in this election cycle?

The biggest issue facing Clark County is managing growth. With vision and planning, we can provide the infrastructure that enables our county to grow but do it in a way that sets us apart from other counties. We must, however, preserve the unique natural beauty of our inner bluegrass county.

How would you address this issue in your elected office?

With extensive planning, public input, and vision. For example, if we start the groundwork for infrastructure along the Veterans Memorial Parkway (Eastern Bypass), I would work to see that it is done in a way that benefits our county and its residents. The area has tremendous potential for business and housing growth with I-64 and Maple Expressway so easily accessible. Growing that side of Winchester would help reduce the traffic on the western bypass and help balance Clark County. Additionally, growth must always be done in a way that does not hurt but increases existing residential values.

Other Republicans running for the seat: Joe Graham. 

Tom Korb (Republican-District 4)

Tell us about your background.

My wife and I have been married 37 years. We are both conservative republicans. We are both 1983 graduates of George Rogers Clark. We met at Tommy’s roller skating rink, where our family owned this business for several years. We were married right out of high school and have 2 children, Brittany Walls attending college and Thomas Korb III, who works at WMU, also graduates of GRC.

Why are you the best candidate for this office?

I have already been in the public service business my entire life. This is what we do in the restaurant/hospitality business: we dedicate our lives to the service of others. We are regular people who have worked extremely hard to have a successful business and understand the value of a hard earned dollar. My business prepares you to work with the public as a servant to the people.

What do you think is the most pressing issue effecting us in this election cycle?

Infrastructure, lack of medium income house and lack of business coming to and staying in Clark county. One can’t be fixed without the other. The business owners of Clark County all need workers, just look at the help wanted signs from one end to the other. We need potential workers to move into our county so we can survive, but they have nowhere to live because the infrastructure is not in the place for growth.

How would you address this issue in your elected office?

I don’t believe anyone in Clark County wants us to be Lexington, or we would just move there. I have witnessed first hand our growth throughout the years, sometimes slowly and painfully. I hear a lot of people complaining about the problems we face as a community. I think we should be positive and work from our strengths.

Dr. Mark Miller (4th District-Republican)

Tell us about your background?

After graduating from Chiropractic School, my wife Dianna and I relocated from Davenport, Iowa to Kentucky in 1986. We have two daughters, Lauren and Karah, and 4 Grand Dogs. I’ve Practiced Chiropractic in Winchester since 1988 My passion has been world missions for the past 30 years.

Why are you the best candidate for this office?

It’s not that I would describe myself as the better candidate, I just want to be a voice for my constituents. I can do that by keeping my constituents more informed on decisions that are being made and provide them with a way to express their views. I always desire to cultivate common ground, and try to understand opposing views. I am a man of conviction, but I am willing to change my view when provided with more factual information. I’m an organized, analytical and logistical thinker, and encourage cordial, rational debate.

What do you think is the most pressing issue affecting us in this election cycle?

The $7 million from the American Rescue Plan Act.

Let’s use it for:  1) Ensure broadband Internet to every household in Clark Co. 2) Install a sewer service on Rockwell Rd to replace the aging package plants in our trailer parks, diverting an environmental disaster. 3) Install sewer service on the eastern Bypass to stimulate business growth.

How would you address this issue in your elected office?

I would address this issue by first consulting with all the other magistrates for their viewpoints and suggestions. Then I would start the researching process for the best providers on each of these projects, ensuring the best products for the most reasonable price, and to be completed in a timely manner. Keeping these contracts local, would be my desire for the benefit of our community, but if we are unable to find the appropriate provider or unable to come to an agreement, I would not be opposed to outside sources.

Chris M. Davis (Republican-District 5)

Tell us about your background.

I live in Winchester with my wife Heather and our children, Holden and Leighton. I graduated from Centre College and the U.K. College of Law. As an attorney for over 21 years, I spent eight years as a prosecutor, but I now work as a land agent in the gas industry.

Why are you the best candidate for this office?

As a magistrate on the Clark Fiscal Court, I have a proven record of accomplishments. We cut county taxes for three straight years, repaired long-neglected roads, and improved the pay and equipment of our county fire department. I led the effort to create a sanitary sewer district to benefit rural Clark County by allowing for aging package plants to be retired. On the the EMS committee, I helped re-negotiate the joint agreement with the City. I supported the expansion of high-speed internet into rural Clark County and I now serve on the committee to negotiate a partnership with AT&T.

What do you think is the most pressing issue effecting us in this election cycle?

The most pressing issue facing us is accommodating growth in a responsible manner, but doing so in a way that is responsive to the needs of our citizen. Clark County faces a shortage of affordable housing. We must set the stage for growth in a way that creates opportunities for our citizens.

How would you address this issue in your elected office?

Addressing the issue of growth requires us to also address several areas. First, we have to continue to make necessary investments in infrastructure to accommodate this growth. We must secure funding to finish the sanitary sewer project on Rockwell Road and also complete the expansion of broadband internet into rural Clark County. In the upcoming comprehensive plan, we need to make sure that the plan takes into account the very real need for additional housing options for Clark Countians. Finally, I will work to build a new county fire station in western Clark County.

David Stambaugh II (Republican-District 5)

Tell us about your background.

I am 40 years old and a Clark County resident for 22 years. I am married to Samantha Stambaugh, and we have 3 wonderful boys, Trey 16, Evan 13, and Liam 2. I also started a small business food truck with my best friend Brian Crump called BS BBQ.

Why are you the best candidate for this office?

I am a businessman, husband, and father like many of you who are fed up with downtown Politicians running our county. I’ve talked with hundreds of people across this county, and they all say the same thing. Everyone is just sick of our county being held back while other counties continue to grow. We want more restaurants and outlet stores up and down our bypasses and more places for our kids to go and do things. I want this Magistrate position to be more than what it is currently. I will always do what’s right for Clark County and I will be your voice and represent all the people.

What do you think is the most pressing issue effecting us in this election cycle?

The big thing that stands out to me has to be our fiscal court. It’s so unwelcoming and divided. We have several leaders of the court that just have so much arrogance to them and can’t meet in the middle on issues that it just discourages people from attending or watching online.

How would you address this issue in your elected office?
Well, I look at it as easy steps to improve our court. Most importantly we need fresh faces with fresh ideas. We have a lot of great candidates this primary. We need to encourage more attendance

from our community and really advertise our court so more people will want to know what goes on in our fiscal court. I would also like to start a program with the schools where teachers can bring a class in for the meetings so our children can learn more about our great county. We can do so much more, and we should do more.

Democrats running for Magistrate-District 5: Leonard Shortridge and William Swope II. 

Winchester Board of Commissioners (Non-Partisan)

Kenny Book

Tell us about your background.

I have 26 years experience on the Board of Commission. I was on several boards such as CCGIS, Public Works Committee, Winchester Clark County Parks Board, the Generation Center board, Strode Creek Conservancy board, Kentucky Waterways alliance.

Why are you the best candidate for this office?

I have 26 years experience and I know the budget.

What do you think is the most pressing issue effecting us in this election cycle?

The drainage issue all over town. Continue to bring jobs in, low income houses, finish Lincoln Street.

How would you address this issue in your elected office?

Put so much in the budget each year to fix the storm water issues. And work with Habitat for Humanity. Work with Work Camp every year and the churches to fix houses.

Shannon Cox

Tell us about your background.

I have been on the commission since 1999. I retired as a teacher from GRC. I serve on the board of Habitat for Humanity, Brooks Place, Central Ky FCA and the parks board. I am chair of the Salvation Army and Winchester Work Group, who use volunteers to work on local resident’s homes.

Why are you the best candidate for this office?

I am the best candidate because I have the knowledge, experience and still maintain the passion for the job.  The city budget requires a great deal of work. I do not have to learn the job, I know it.  I have an attention to detail and am not afraid to ask the tough questions. Every day, I strive to make Winchester the best it can be. I also love Winchester. I am a proud resident of Winchester and brag about our community continually. I also have the vision to ensure that our town is a better place next year, for the next generation and the generation after that.

What do you think is the most pressing issue effecting us in this election cycle?

We have many pressing issues. Economic development is a priority. Fostering not only industry but aiding local people who want to open a small business.  Public safety, having fully staffed fire/EMS and police departments and making sure they have the equipment and training to do their jobs.

How would you address this issue in your elected office?

We need to continually chase the businesses that we can bring to Winchester. We have to continue to make our community more attractive to people and have the infrastructure that make development here possible. We also need to provide the amenities that make Winchester a destination.

As for public safety, we need to actively recruit and provide training to first responders. We need to look at GRC and BCTC as a place for future applicants. I have even suggested pursuing those who have retired from other agencies. I also know we have issues with infrastructure, broadband, drugs and housing.

John F. Flynn

Tell us about your background.

I work at Toyota Motor Manufacturing in Georgetown where I have been employed for over 26 years. My current position is team leader of HRD 3Pillar Promotional Group in the Power Train Department. GRC assistant football coach for 6 years.

Why are you the best candidate for this office?

I am a dedicated hard working individual that doesn’t accept it can be done or we can’t do that as an answer when working on an issue. The management tools and skills I use and teach daily at Toyota will drastically improve the functioning of the City Commission through leadership, problem solving, budget management and respect for all. I understand what companies and businesses are looking for in a community and know all too well the difficulties with manpower issues we currently face. I love Winchester and the people in it and I will always treat everyone with respect and kindness.

What do you think is the most pressing issue effecting us in this election cycle?

Lack of growth in Winchester is one of the biggest issues. We have had zero to negative growth in Winchester over the past 10 years. We need to be investing in our community to make Winchester a place people want to relocate their business, company or family to.

How would you address this issue in your elected office?

I will work to eliminate the red tape and reduce fees for start up companies. We have to be more inviting if we want businesses to move to Winchester. We run more people off than we get due to the hassle over getting permits and high start up utility fees. That has to change.

Robin Kunkel

Tell us about your background.

I grew up in Campbell County. After earning my theater degree from Transylvania University in 2012, I lived in Lexington until moving to Winchester in 2018. I am an organizer with a background in racial and environmental justice and prisoners’ rights, as well as a seamstress and stage manager.

Why are you the best candidate for this office?

I think there is no one best candidate, and thankfully it isn’t a one person job. However, I do think I am a great candidate for a team responsible for facilitating decisions and, ideally, not making them for others without their input. My background in relationship building across differences and years of practice in group decision-making and conflict resolution would contribute to a city that can look at problems head on and work through them with compassion. My core belief is that people should have autonomy, the right to do what’s best for them, so long as they aren’t harming others.

What do you think is the most pressing issue effecting us in this election cycle?

The most pressing issue facing Winchester now is our over reliance on incarceration to temporarily deal with social problems (such as addiction and houselessness) rather than fully investing in new and existing long-term solutions that address the causes of those problems.

How would you address this in your elected office?

1- I suggest we decriminalize marijuana by choosing not to arrest or prosecute for possession or sale at the local level rather than wait for it to be legalized at the state level, which may not happen any time soon.

2- I would make a breakdown of the next annual budget proposal, publicly available and easily accessible with an in-person and mail-in/virtual feedback process for all citizens before commission approval. It would include visuals of what is intended to be spent on what and an analysis of how next year’s goals for the city are supported or weakened through this funding plan.

Roi Mayes

Tell us about your background.

I was born and raised in Winchester and spent time in the navy. I have spent 37 years as a truck driver and mechanic. I have always loved the small town feel of Winchester. I have a wife and four children–most of who have moved away. I want Winchester to be the kind of town I grew up in.

Why are you the best candidate for this office?

Because I have new ideals  on how to make our town better for our young people and our older people; how to get new restaurants here, not just fast food; how to clean up our town and show off things we are famous for: beer cheese, friendly people, college park, and all of the areas around us like Red River Gorge. I want this to be the great little town I know it can be and I will work hard to make it so!

What do you think is the most pressing issue effecting us in this election cycle?

Our town is looking tired and  run down. Our downtown is full of empty shops. Our bypass is underused. We need to keep our money here, not send it to other cities. We want to have good paying jobs here so we keep our young people here were their family and friends are

How would you address this issue in your elected office?

Put together panels of people to find restaurants, jobs , and ways to clean up our town. I love this place. We have all of the pieces to make this a blue ribbon city, all we have to do is make it happen.

Kitty Strode

Tell us about your background.

I grew up in Lexington and moved to Winchester in 1975. I have a daughter and three granddaughters that live in Florence SC. I’ve been involved in our community all my here. I sit on the Chamber Board, Bluegrass Heritage Museum, Vice Chair of Tourism, Chair the Daniel Boone Festival, Main Street Board, beautification, Beer Cheese and have been a City Commissioner for 5 terms. Have a love and passion for our community.

Why are you the best candidate for this office?

My commitment to these organizations give me an understanding and overall experience of what we have and need in Winchester. My years on the commission have been an education to how the city works and networking with other organizations to further our vision for a better town. Our downtown has been revitalized in recent years as new entrepreneurs are buying buildings, opening new businesses and living on the second floor. A huge plus for us! We are putting in new sidewalks, have completed depot street, working on code enforcement and other projects that improve quality of life for all citizens. Our downtown is the center of our community and companies always want to see what the pulse is — ours is alive and well and growing! I’m committed to making us better and constantly want to learn new ways to promote why Winchester is so special!

What do you think is the most pressing issue effecting us in this election cycle?

The drug problem is ongoing and a constant challenge for our city. We need to be more aware of ways to  work with agencies that help with addiction and recovery. We need a presence of police downtown as well as in our community to stop vandalism and burglaries. A safer atmosphere. We have storm water issues all over town that have to be addressed now with a plan to fix them in the coming years.

How would you address this issue in your elected office?

I will encourage and promote hiring more police to help make for a safer community. Working with code enforcement to stay on owners of dilapidated and vacant buildings which ncourages more people to invest in our area. Winchester is such a special town and one is the prettiest in Central Kentucky. Let’s work together to make it the most appealing for new buyers!

Paula Branham Thomas

Tell us about your background.

My name is Paula Branham Thomas and I have been married to Ricky Thomas for 42 years. I  have lived here most of my life. I have worked at Shearer School for 29 years. I am running for City Commissioner to make Winchester a better, safer and more affordable place to live for everyone!

Why are you the best candidate for this office?

I am the best candidate for City Commissioner because I believe in Winchester and all it can be. I would like to have good paying jobs, a variety of restaurants and an improvement in salaries for our city employees. Our police officers and firefighters put their lives on the line for us and we need to acknowledge them with pay raises but not raise our taxes. I think we can improve our budget and make Winchester a place where all people can afford to live. Everyone deserves a piece of the pie!

What do you think is the most pressing issue effecting us in this election cycle?

Better paying jobs and affordability to live in Winchester. The incumbents that are in office have bragged about being in office for 16 or more years and bringing 7000 jobs here. That is only 437 jobs a year. We can do better than that. I’m prepared to do the work to improve Winchester.

How would you address this in your elected office?

I will be dedicated to meeting and working with the county to accomplish our goals and checking what kind of industry that Winchester needs here. Also, I would like to see where WMU could take us in recycling.

Hannah Toole

Tell us about your background.

A George Rogers Clark graduate, with a bachelors degree from Queens University. I work in beverage sales and distribution. I’m also active locally having been appointed to the City Ethics Committee, a member of Winchester Young Professionals, Legacy Nights committee and the Chamber.

Why are you the best candidate for this office?

I feel the shift in our town, continued growth and progression is happening and I’m here for it! In the past years, we have had low growth projections for business, population and development growth. However, continued support of our current programming, growth in our economic industry authority, keeping our streets clean and safe can turn that projection around. If you’re tired of the same thing, give something new a try. Start from a clean slate. I am eager to learn, grow and mold our town with fresh ideas from behind a new set of eyes.

What do you think is the most pressing issue effecting us in this election cycle?

Time wise, wastewater from the Old Town branch, restructuring downtown infrastructure to limit flooding.

How would you address this issue in your elected office?

Teamwork. This will take a team of dedicated citizens, as it is quite an intricate project. However, it also affects many other areas of interest and issues for our town. If we invest in our downtown infrastructure, making it more safe and accessible will ideally result in more businesses able to operate in the Main Street area. Ideally, bringing in more opportunity for tourism, economic development, as well as lowering crime and drug usage on our streets. It is all a piece of the puzzle to make our town the place people continue to want to be.

Greg Yates

Tell us about your background.

I am a retired military officer after serving almost 25 years in the US Army and Kentucky Army National Guard. I currently serve as the Executive Director for Partners In Education. My family has lived in Winchester for 17 years.

Why are you the best candidate for this office?

My leadership, organizational management and long range planning skills make me an excellent candidate for this position. I am involved with a variety of education related committees and currently serve as the President of the Winchester Kiwanis Club. These connections will allow me to network with a variety of community members to get things done.

What do you think is the most pressing issue effecting us in this election cycle?

Lack of economic growth is hindering our ability to get new businesses into our community.

How would you address this in your elected office?

We have to find a way to expand and improve our infrastructure. This will in turn encourage developers to build more homes in our community. We need more starter homes for young families who are starting out. More rooftops will in turn bring more business.