• John McGary, Woodford Sun Editor

‘I’m really a part of this’, Midway council’s first Black woman is enjoying her new job

This is one of a series of articles that will run in the Sun during Black History Month. Midway’s newest elected official said she didn’t know she was the first Black woman to serve on the city council until after she was elected. “I wasn’t worried about that. I didn’t even think about it,” Councilmember Mary Raglin told the Sun, adding that she couldn’t immediately recall who broke the news that she was a trail-blazer. “It was said and then it was over with. I wasn’t thinking anything about it.” Midway Mayor Grayson Vandegrift said he believes three Black men have served on the council – Walter Bradley Jr. (for whom the city park is named), Gary Bush and Aaron Hamilton. Asked when she decided to run for office for the first time, Raglin chuckled and said, “Well, that’s still a question I’m (still) asking myself.” However, she said the journey began one day last year, when she was with her sister Pat at the Midway Cemetery, where their parents are buried. “And I was talking to one of the maintenance guys and he said, just out of the blue, ‘You should be running for council.’ And I’m like, ‘Why would you say that?’” Raglin said. On another occasion, she was approached by someone who suggested she run for a seat on the council. Raglin said she discussed the matter with her sister and began to pray about it. “And I’m like, ‘Lord, what’s going on here?’ And it … just kept resonating … on my heart (and I) thought about it and thought about it and I’m like, ‘OK, I’m stepping out there and I’m going to do it,” Raglin said. Raglin said she asked Hamilton, who chose not to run for reelection in 2014, for advice. “The only thing he said was, ‘You’re going to be reading a lot.’ He had nothing negative to say, and he encouraged me to do it,” she said. “It just seemed like the right thing to do, to me.” Raglin won the second-most votes in the at-large council race last November, outpacing three incumbents. During an October candidate forum moderated by Al Cross, head of the University of Kentucky’s Institute for Rural Journalism, she said she wanted to be a positive influence for the “little city” she’d spent most of her life in – and to be a voice you don’t hear (on the council) – “that black voice.” However, a little more than a month into her first elective office, Raglin said she hoped to be an inspiration to all the young ladies who might not be thinking about public service. “I certainly hope so. I truly hope that I can be an inspiration …” she said. Raglin, 70, has three children ranging in age from 46 to 51. She said when they learned she was considering a council bid, they were really excited, particularly her eldest, Chuck, who told her, “Mom, I’m so proud of you.” She praised her fellow council members for working hard to make sure the freshman feels included, in and out of the twice-monthly council meetings. “They’re making sure that I have information,” Raglin said. “We talk. That’s why I feel so good – because I’m really a part of this. I want to do whatever it is that I can do, and I want the community to see that I’m working, and I want to be positive.”

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