In case you hadn’t noticed, there was an election Tuesday for the unexpired term in the 31st District state Senate seat. Ray Jones won the election for Pike County judge-executive, leaving his senate seat open.
The special race was between two people who are no strangers to politics. However, neither of the two candidates have previously held office.
The race for the open seat was between Democrat Darrell Pugh and Republican Phillip Wheeler. Wheeler won the election.
The 31st Senate District consists of five counties. And from those five counties, fewer than 15,000 votes were cast, which was not very impressive when you consider the position and the importance that office holds for this region.
Wheeler will be working with other legislators who represent this region, most of whom are Democrats. Wheeler ran his campaign on conservative values and wants to make the region great again, which will be hard to do because, in Frankfort now there is a stalemate between the two parties.
However, since Wheeler’s campaign ads featured President Trump, he may have some support with Gov. Bevin.
Because Wheeler is a newcomer to holding office, we don’t know much about him. What we do know is that Wheeler is a lawyer who has run a satellite law office in Pikeville for a regionally-successful lawyer for many years. And because he still works at that firm, you can assume that he, too, is successful. Very few bad lawyers stay in business. You can also assume that, because of his success, he knows how to argue and compromise, which will be needed in Frankfort.
This senate seat is vital to the future of this region for many reasons, as we are often left out of the Frankfort conversation. Eastern Kentucky is rarely the primary topic and budget distribution when it comes to the rest of the state. We need jobs, tax incentives, better infrastructure that includes high-speed internet and — for Pete’s sake — someone please get the people in Martin County drinkable water.
For years Democrats fought not only the Republicans but themselves as well on the issue. And because of Martin County political corruption, cronyism and people stealing water, not one thing has been done. Every politician in that county should be removed from office and an audit should be done. There may not be enough room in the jail to accommodate the new inmates.
I hope Wheeler knows that he has a massive job ahead of him and that he is a political
underdog. I hope he uses his skills and positive connections who are proven leaders and not political wannabes to make as much a difference in the short amount of time he has left in this term. I don’t think anyone is expecting miracles. I think what we are expecting is an honest assessment of the region and an honest effort that is unprovoked from political zealots, to further the region.
Good luck Mr. Wheeler. Although there was a low turnout in the election, you have the entire region to which you must prove to that the right choice was made.
Thanks for reading the News-Express.