Alaska native looking to make mark on Winchester political scene
Published 10:31 am Tuesday, February 6, 2024
If you’ve attended Winchester City Commission meetings, you might have seen a studious young man observing and often taking notes.
While a college student, it’s no homework assignment.
Joshua Windham, a rising star in the local politics scene – who will turn 22 in February – has been preparing for a career in education and civic engagement by attending meetings and continues to gain notice for his efforts.
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“[I want to] really help our citizens prosper in this state,” he said.
Currently, Windham is a full-time student at Bluegrass Community and Technical College, with plans to transfer to Eastern Kentucky University in Richmond this fall.
A history major, with plans to specialize in both American and early European history, he plans to become a high school teacher and is open to the possibility of teaching at the college level.
However, there would be more to come.
“With that career, I would like to springboard [to] a career in politics and government,” Windham said. “I would like to get involved with education in the county [and] in the state. I’m actually planning on [soon] making my first run at [the] state office.”
In Kentucky, a candidate must be at least 24 years old to run as a representative.
The oldest of six children, Windham interestingly found his way to Winchester.
Though born in Dothan, Al., he spent most of his upbringing in Wasilla, Alaska, a town approximately 45 miles from Anchorage.
The son of a former journeyman electrician now working as the director of maintenance at Wilde Brands – where Windham also previously worked as a warehouse team leader – he also lived in Palm Coast, Fl., for some time.
Eventually, his family found their way to Winchester.
“When [my Dad] was in Alaska, he was constantly traveling back and forth…it got really hard on the family,” Windham said. “Winchester ended up being the best spot for Dad to have land, for him to come home every night, and for my mother…to be able to homeschool without restrictions.”
As for his interest in local politics, a trip to New York City and Washington, DC, through the Close Up Foundation when he was in high school served as an inspiration.
“I got to tour all the Smithsonian [museums], all the government institutions, Congress, [the] White House. He said I got to talk to Senators, House Representatives, [and] people from government agencies”. “I loved it!”
Fast forward many years later, and Windham was appointed at Jan. 16th’s meeting of the Winchester City Commission to a three-year term on the Winchester Board of Ethics.
He recently finished an eight-month term with the Winchester Historic Preservation Committee.
His work in the local community has helped him develop connections with local names such as Mayor JoEllen Reed, Clark County Judge-Executive Les Yates, City Commissioner Shannon Cox and even State Senator Greg Elkins.
Outside of the city directly, Windham – a conservative – serves as Vice President of Central KY Young Republicans.
Issues dear to him include funding alternative education programs, eliminating state income and sales tax, creating additional task forces focused on child trafficking, cracking down on illegal drug use, increasing state funding for additional state troopers to reduce speeding and reckless driving, increasing funding for farmers and landowners to farm inexpensively, removing barriers in order to make starting small businesses easier, and many more.
While acknowledging that working in politics has shown him that friction is sometimes a reality, Windham notes that the journey is worthwhile.
“Sometimes we have to go through the rough to find the diamond, and that is standing up for policies and issues [that] we believe in,” he said. “[I want] to improve Kentuckian lives.”