Kentucky has had enough failed promises, it’s time to get back to work

By Jim Gray - Guest columnist

Rand Paul doesn’t deserve your vote. He’s a politician. You couldn’t believe everything he said when he was running for president and you can’t believe everything he says as a Senator. That’s unfortunate, but it seems to be par for the course in the US Senate.

We need to change Washington so I’ve developed a comprehensive plan to bring more jobs to Kentucky, something that I have a lot of experience in doing.

My family company, Gray Construction, started in Glasgow as a small business on a $25,000 Small Business Administration loan in 1960. Since then, we’ve built more than 500 projects in 58 counties, including facilities for some of Kentucky’s largest employers, and helped create more than 20,000 Kentucky jobs.

In 2011, I took that business experience into government as mayor, turned a deficit into a surplus, saved the retirements of our firefighters and police officers, and helped create thousands of additional jobs in Lexington.

In more than 40 years as a businessman and six years as a mayor, I’ve learned what businesses are looking for when they expand or relocate. Tax rates and regulations are important and there’s much more.

Government has to stop making policies that benefit only the 1% and start working to lift everyone up together. Our company, for example, is one where every employee has ownership in the company.

Now, Rand Paul pretends to have a plan to help grow jobs in Kentucky. But, when you dig into it, it’s not a real plan. It’s a theory that’s been tried and failed in other places and experts say it won’t work for Kentucky. And he admits his tax zones are targeted to help business owners, not workers.

Folks, if his concept was a good one, why couldn’t he get the U.S. Senate to approve it? They didn’t. Overwhelmingly. Because. It. Does. Not. Work.

Kentucky cannot put up with any more fantasies, failed promises, and wasted time. I’m tired of people being forced to move away from family and friends to find work. This is our home and we have to get serious about its future.

My dad used to say that anyone can claim to be a champion for or against anything but, when you have the chance and you don’t make a difference, then you’re just all talk. That statement sums up why I’m running against Rand Paul.

He hasn’t made an ounce of a difference for Kentuckians as a Senator and he wants you to give him another chance. Folks, a U.S. Senate seat is a terrible thing to waste.

Now, I’ve had success in the private sector and as Mayor because we put together good plans and followed them. And I didn’t do it alone. It takes good partnerships and people who know their business to get things done.

You can get big things done if you have shared goals and a willingness to work with others. In Washington, Rand and others fight like cats and dogs. In Lexington, we work with Republicans and Democrats. If you’ve been in Lexington recently, you’ll see that good things are happening.

But the fact is the Senate has not approved one bill Rand Paul has sponsored. He’s been as successful as a legislator as he was a presidential candidate. And that’s the core problem. Rand is so set on carrying on his father’s tradition of running for president and losing that he’s distracted from doing the job he was elected to do.

Paul was named one of the most partisan senators in the past 20 years. And I’d like to see evidence that he’s not the most ineffective Senator in the country.

As your senator, I promise to wake up every day thinking about how I can help Kentuckians, regardless of your political registration. I’ll hire people who know how to help create jobs and solve problems, not a staff to build a presidential campaign like Rand did.

I announced my plan to revitalize coal communities earlier this year and, on Labor Day, I released my plan to build a stronger Kentucky. But folks, I’ve been building Kentucky jobs my entire adult life and I will do it as your Senator.

My plan calls for proven economic development methods. It’s a plan that will grow existing businesses, help small businesses and entrepreneurs and attract advanced manufacturing with a goal of increasing Kentucky exports so that we can sell Kentucky goods and services in more places. You can read the detail at

We need a Senator focused on Kentucky, not one obsessed with the presidential race. It’s time to get rid of the dead weight and build a stronger Kentucky. I know we can do it because we’ve done it before.

By Jim Gray

Guest columnist

Jim Gray is mayor of Lexington and candidate for U.S. Senate.

Jim Gray is mayor of Lexington and candidate for U.S. Senate.

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