Mayor Gray Focus For 2017: Increasing Jobs, Fighting Youth Violence, Drug Epidemic
Jim Gray is halfway through a second term as Lexington Mayor. The Glasgow native and construction business veteran just completed an unsuccessful attempt to unseat U.S. Senator Rand Paul.
When asked about future runs for office, Gray responds with these words: "Today I’m happy as a clam right where I am." The 63-year-old could seek a third term as mayor under the city charter. Gray certainly isn’t ruling that option out.
“There are a lot of things underway in our city today and I can certainly imagine myself serving our city, if the people are willing to allow that. I could certainly imagine it.”
Former Lexington Mayor Scotty Baesler is only person elected three times to lead the urban county government. Lexington is home to what Gray calls a robust economy. But improvements are still needed.
“There are those who have strong educational backgrounds and have opportunities as a result of that, but there are those who don’t have those opportunities and don’t have that background. We’ve got to provide job opportunities for everyone."
Jim Gray says that can come in part by leveraging the assets at the University of Kentucky, Transylvania
University, and the Bluegrass Community and Technical College.
Gray is also planning to address the growing epidemic of drugs and youth violence in cities across the country needs continual attention. The two-term mayor says community discussions about ways to reduce violence will continue into 2017.
“Never going be able to deal with all violence just with police and enforcement. We’ve got to get at root causes," he said. "This is why we’re engaging with our faith community in such a vigorous way, in such a committed way.”
Still, Gray believes it’s important to build the police force at a responsible level. He says there are ongoing efforts to hire more officers to offset retirements.?