Off to the (Kentucky) Races

It’s off to the races in Kentucky. No, not the horse races, which Kentucky is famous for, but the race for the Republican candidate for Governor.  There are currently eleven candidates in the race.  But there is one “long shot” with big odds that may pay off in a big way.  His name is Alan Keck.


Kentucky is just one of three states holding elections for Governor in 2023.  All three states should be in the national news limelight with Kentucky front and center as Andy Beshear, a Democrat, is the current Governor of Kentucky. According to Morning Consult, a company that delivers insights and custom market research on what people think in real-time reported that 59% of Kentucky voters approve of Beshear’s performance, while only 36% disapprove, making him the most popular Democratic governor in the country.  So, it would seem that Governor Beshear will be hard to defeat.  Yet 11 contenders in the race believe he can be beaten.


The Lexington Herald Leader recently published a complete list of candidates running for Kentucky Governor in 2023.


Mayor Alan Keck, listed seventh in the article, only filed for his run on November 21st “after months of speculation.” Yet, he is listed among the top-tier candidates who had previously declared their candidacies months ago.  Mr. Keck was just re-elected mayor of Somerset in Pulaski County, a small rural city with approximately 12,000 residents.


Other top-tier contenders include the current Kentucky Attorney General, who is the first Black person to hold that role in Kentucky’s history, a former United Nations ambassador, the current Commissioner of Agriculture for the state who leads the pack in donations to date, a young self-proclaimed far-right state representative from Northern Kentucky, the current auditor for the state of Kentucky, and a Northern Kentucky attorney who is currently suspended from practicing law.  Four other lessor-known candidates have filed for the race.


So why would Mayor Keck be a long shot at winning?  His age.  Mayor Keck is only 37. He’s been told to “wait his turn.”


He is the mayor of a city with only 12,000 residents.   Yet under his leadership, his town of Somerset has outpaced the state’s growth by double – experiencing record revenue without raising taxes, record business investment, and record tourism spending and by embracing investment in quality-of-life initiatives like “Lighting Up Somerset,” the revitalization of the downtown area.


He’s a dreamer…a small fish in a big pond, having never run in a statewide race, thus little name recognition. However, it seems that dreaming big culminated in a partnership with The University of Campbellsville to bring a four-year university to his small city. It will ultimately prove to be an economic engine for the community and provide a  curriculum that will fuel future job markets.


What might give him the edge in this race? His youth.  Some might argue that his age is a negative, but it can also prove to be an asset.  Younger minds offer energy and entrepreneurship, which he has proven to exhibit in his city.


Kentucky has experienced an increase in crime over the last decade. One of Mayor Keck’s first acts as mayor of Somerset was to dedicate more than $1 million to improve salaries, equipment, and facilities for first responders.


Mr. Keck fought against lockdowns during the COVID-19 pandemic. He helped form a coalition of mayors who submitted plans to Gov. Beshear supporting parallel paths to keep businesses and schools open and people safe. Many of those suggestions were later implemented.


In addition, Keck is advocating for the elimination of the state’s income tax which may prove to be quite popular among the electorate.


Mayor Keck has a published “Game Plan” for the state where he addresses the issues facing Kentucky head-on and offers the steps he would take as solutions to these issues.  He is not your “cookie-cutter” Republican.  For example, Keck believes in investing in public and private programs for pre-K and early literacy. He would work towards creating tax incentives for businesses to offer paid family leave benefits.


Lastly, Mayor Keck is the only candidate with actual executive experience in the private sector as well as in the public realm.


The spotlight will be on Kentucky in May 2023.  The run for the roses will be tough for all runners, but keep your eye on Mayor Alan Keck.  He may be the candidate that finishes first in that crowded field of eleven.


Susan Bechkowiak

I am retired and live in my hometown of Chardon, OH. I graduated from Western Kentucky University with a BS in Merchandising. I raised three children who are now all grown with families of their own. I have worked in several fields in the past, including retail and insurance, specifically as an Agency Field Representative for State Farm Insurance. My husband and I have retired from the decorative concrete business and now dabble in home décor producing one of a kind artistic pieces created from discarded items found on the beaches of Lake Erie. Our company name is Lake Front Studio. I’m a runner and a six-year cancer survivor.

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