I recent­ly attend­ed a recep­tion at Holly Rood for Vache King’s cam­paign launch for coun­ty judge-exec­u­tive. This event was small and love­ly, and exact­ly what local pol­i­tics should be.  As some­one rel­a­tive­ly new to Winchester, I walk into most places (besides the pub and church) expect­ing to know no one, so this event was a chance to shake hands, meet some new peo­ple, and even meet and have a real con­ver­sa­tion with some­one who, if I get my wish, would become one of my local representatives. 

As a youth in Lexington, my home­town, I remem­ber meet­ing oth­er local politi­cians when my par­ents dragged me along to sim­i­lar recep­tion.  My city coun­cil­woman lat­er became my insur­ance agent (and still is!), and anoth­er local rep­re­sen­ta­tive was also a woman I looked up to even when I grew tall enough to see her eye-to-eye.  I helped cam­paign for my best friend’s father, who became coun­ty attor­ney before we were old enough to vote for him. 

I’m entire­ly famil­iar with hav­ing the oppor­tu­ni­ty to vote for some­one I have known all my life, and I know most of the folks in Winchester do this reg­u­lar­ly.  Politics is at its best when we have the chance to see someone’s fam­i­ly and friend­ships, their val­ues and their integri­ty, their work and their leisure.

Winchester, as oth­er writ­ers for WinCity have not­ed, is grow­ing.  We have our own cen­ters of grav­i­ty here – employ­ers and church­es and restau­rants and groups – at the same time that we keep an eye on Lexington and oth­er neigh­bor­ing towns.  We are part of the Bluegrass region and the Commonwealth of Kentucky, part of the United States, and we share the plan­et with Ukraine and Russia, Morocco and Afghanistan.  We need new per­spec­tives, broad­er rep­re­sen­ta­tion, and more women and more black and brown faces in posi­tions of power.

As we elect our next rep­re­sen­ta­tives over the next few months, I’d love to see more folks try to get to know can­di­dates, both incum­bents and chal­lengers.  Hannah Toole (city coun­cil), Tommy Adams (can­di­date for State Representative, District 73), Chris Preece (can­di­date for U.S. House of Representatives, 6th Congressional District), and Vache King are all new voic­es, with ideas and con­nec­tions and fresh per­spec­tives.  I’m excit­ed about Charles Booker’s cam­paign for Senate. 

Meet the can­di­dates, and ask them ques­tions.  You might find a new rep­re­sen­ta­tive and make a new friend. 

  • Nancy Gift, a mem­ber of Better Together, Winchester, orig­i­nal­ly from Lexington, is a pro­fes­sor of Sustainability and Environmental Studies at Berea College, and spouse of Father Jim Trimble. She and Jim have three col­lege-age chil­dren and a menagerie of pets.