Joy Gray hopes to win 7th district seat back for Democrats in race against Rep. Suzanne Miles

10/31/2016 01:54 PM

OWENSBORO – Democrats are eyeing a House seat which they lost in 2013 amid allegations of sexual harassment by former Democratic State Representative John Arnold.

Rep. Suzanne Miles, R-Owensboro, who won a special election in December 2013 after Arnold resigned, as well as her own two-year term in the 2014 general election, is facing Democrat Joy Gray, a retired school teacher, who says that improving education needs to be one of the top priorities in Frankfort.

Gray says that her teaching background will be a big plus in working on education legislation in the General Assembly.

“We need some voices from people who have actually been in the field and are practitioners of the educational process,” Gray said. “Who better to help with the new ESSA (Every Student Succeeds Act) that was passed by the federal government, that’s coming down to the statehouse? So, it’s important that you have someone that will kind of know what’s going on.”

Miles agrees that improving education is a priority for the state and feels that she has worked to bring some improvements within the district.

“We’ve got a lot of kids who are learning in new directions this time,” Miles said. “Right here in Owensboro, we have the Owensboro Innovation Academy, and so these are new opportunities to teach kids.”

Gray said that she’s received extensive support from the Democratic Party because of the importance of taking the seat back, and maintaining control of the state House.

“My Emerge sisters came down and helped walk, they’ve made phone calls and donations,” Gray said of the Democratic women’s training group Emerge Kentucky.

Two super PACS have conducted also ad campaigns.

Kentuckians for Strong Leadership has spent $15,069 in support of Miles, while Kentucky Family Values has spent a total of $34,502 targeting the Republican.

“Kentucky Family Values has been running against me for three elections now and it’s been ugly,” Miles said. “I just hope people understand that they are nothing to do with Kentucky Family Values. It’s very, very sad that we can’t run opponent against opponent for our qualifications.”

According to the latest Kentucky Registry of Election Finance statistics, Miles has raised $36,815 to Gray’s $12,546.

Miles father, former University of Kentucky board chairman Billy Joe Miles, was charged last month in Daviess Circuit Court and pleaded not guilty on one count each of first-degree rape, first-degree sodomy and bribing a witness.

Don Weber

Don Weber is a Video Journalist for Spectrum News and covers politics and education on Pure Politics, Kentucky’s only nightly program dedicated to state politics. Don is a lifelong Kentuckian and a graduate of Northern Kentucky University. He spent many years covering sports in the Northern Kentucky area before shifting primarily to politics. You can watch Don’s work weeknights at 7:00 and 11:30 on Pure Politics, available exclusively on Spectrum News, HD Channels 403 and 715. If you have a story idea you can reach Don at donald.weber@charter.com.

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