• Bob Vlach, Woodford Sun Staff

School board’s Wilson wants to be Midway’s next mayor

Longtime Woodford County Board of Education member Ambrose Wilson IV will challenge incumbent Grayson Vandegrift in November’s Midway mayoral race. He filed his papers to run in the nonpartisan race with the county clerk’s office Tuesday afternoon.

“I want to use the same skills and leadership that I’ve used during the last 26 years representing the city of Midway on the school board to help lead us into the future,” said Wilson.

“I think it’s always good when the citizens can have a choice – a clear choice – and I look forward to getting started.” He said a lot of people have encouraged him to run for mayor in recent months.

While Midway’s “very fortunate” to have a stream of revenue generated from the occupational taxes of new manufacturing jobs at Midway Station, Wilson said the community needs to strategically decide how to spend those dollars.

“We have sewer lines and waterlines that are over 100 years old and we need to bring the community together to figure out how we move forward, how best to use the new revenue that’s being generated. I think that’s the number of issues ahead of us,” said Wilson.

“Both the mayor and I – we have a body of work, we have successes and accomplishments as elected officials and I look forward to talking about that,” said Wilson, whose father was Midway’s mayor, from 1993 to 1996.

Vandegrift said he was not surprised when he learned that he’ll face opposition in November, and welcomes the chance to run for reelection on his record.

“I’m extremely excited and extremely eager to get out and talk about my record and have a chance to earn everybody’s vote again,” Vandegrift said.

Besides manufacturing jobs being created at Midway Station and the additional revenue generated from occupational taxes during his first term, Vandegrift said property taxes for Midway residents are being lowered by 25 percent, debt on the city’s old and new sewer plants have been paid, and plans are underway to lower sewer rates in Midway.

“There’s just many, many accomplishments that I attribute to the fact that we’ve all been working together,” he said, citing improvements to city parks through the efforts of volunteers and the establishment of a parks board.

Vandegrift agreed with Wilson that one of the biggest challenges facing Midway in the coming years will be the costly undertaking of replacing old water and sewer lines, “but we’re putting ourselves in a great position to do so because we’re paying off debt…”

High water and sewer bills are “probably Midway’s longest-standing problem,” he added.

Elected in November 2014, Vandegrift began his first four-year term as Midway’s mayor in January 2015.

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