• Bob Vlach, Woodford Sun Staff

Vandegrift changes his mind; will finish term as mayor

“A lot of people” encouraged Grayson Vandegrift to run for state representative, he said. But after jumping into that race last month, he said, “I couldn’t imagine leaving the position of mayor of Midway right now. I just couldn’t imagine that.” So one week after declaring his candidacy for the 56th District seat in Kentucky’s General Assembly, Vandegrift said he followed his heart, and announced on July 19 that he was instead going to finish his second term as mayor. “It just did not feel right in my gut,” Vandegrift said of his decision to run for state representative (a seat currently occupied by Joe Graviss, who will run for Julian Carroll’s senate seat in November 2020). Vandegrift said he realized it “wasn’t the right time for me (to seek a higher office). Maybe one day it will be, but this is not the right time.” Since he became mayor four-plus years ago, the City of Midway has lowered utility bills for its residents and nearly tripled its occupational tax revenue, and Vandegrift said there’s “so much more left to do.” Additional improvements to the city’s infrastructure are needed and a possible decision to lower water rates for residents by moving from the Kentucky American Water Company to the Frankfort Plant Board remains on the horizon. “The goal, of course, is to do that in 2025 when our Kentucky American Water contract expires. And that might have the longest reach of anything I’ll be able to help do,” he said. The first person in his family to get into politics, Vandegrift said he ran for mayor “out a passion for service and wanting to do things differently.” To him, that means being able to change your mind, and knowing that it’s okay to change your mind when you’re being honest. “I think I let my head get ahead of my heart, a little bit,” he said of his decision to run for state representative. “I think I let my ego play into things a little too much.” Vandegrift said he has been amazed by people – especially those in Midway – who are happy with his change of heart and his willingness to be honest. “What’s really most important is telling the truth to people, which seems to be a lost art (in politics) these days,” said Vandegrift. At the end of the day, he said it’s important to have integrity in whatever you do or decide not to do. Even though his wife, Katie, “never once” questioned his decision to run for state representative, he acknowledged, “I don’t think my family was ready for this.” He could see the relief in Katie’s eyes because “she wasn’t ready for another campaign.” Vandegrift, who won a contested mayoral race (against Ambrose Wilson IV) last November, said, “there were a few reasons to run (for state representative), but there were a lot more not to,” like being mayor of “the greatest small town in America.” “People know about Midway literally all over the country. And that’s unbelievable to me for a city of 1,800 people,” Vandegrift said. “… People elected me and then they reelected me, and I’m going to finish … what I started.”

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