• Bob Vlach, Woodford Sun Staff

Jim Gray speaks to Woodford Democrats

Lexington Mayor Jim Gray talked to Woodford County Democrats about why he's campaigning to unseat Republican Rand Paul in the United States Senate during his visit to Versailles on Thursday, June 9. "Why am I running for the U.S. Senate?" asked Gray. "A U.S. Senate seat is a terrible thing to waste, a terrible thing to waste." Alluding to Paul's recent unsuccessful campaign to become President of the United States, Gray said his Republican opponent knows more about the cornfields in Iowa and the coffee shops in New Hampshire than he does about Kentucky and its challenges. Gray, a self-described seventh generation Kentuckian who grew up in Glasgow, where he and his family started Gray Construction, said his experiences as a businessman have given him insight into the importance of jobs. "A job is precious. A job gives purpose and meaning in life. Everybody in the world wants a good job," said Gray. "And that's why in my campaign I have said that the three most important things to focus on are jobs, jobs, jobs. There are a lot of opportunities that will come when we create jobs." By taking good business practices and principles into city hall in Lexington, Gray said he's been able to turn "a $30 million deficit into four years of surpluses." He said those same business practices and principles can work in the federal government. "I am for problem-solving. I'm against the dysfunction and gridlock that we see in Washington today," said Gray. "Somehow," he continued, "we've got to create a bridge that goes beyond what we've got today - this dysfunction and gridlock." In addition to being a supporter of affordable healthcare and education, and preserving Social Security, Gray said he wants the country's middle class to grow and prosper. He described a decline in income among the middle class in recent years as "a threat to American society." While Kentucky Democrats have struggled in recent years to unseat Kentucky Republicans in national races, Gray said his statewide name recognition has nearly doubled to about 64 percent since winning the Democratic primary. "We know we've got a competitive race," said Gray, "but we (also) know we've got to get out the vote." State Rep. James Kay introduced Gray to other members of the Woodford County Democratic Executive Committee at its regular meeting last Thursday evening. "His reason for being here is . to get us energized," said Kay. He described Gray as a progressive mayor, "who is making things happen."

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