The contest to become mayor of Lexington is now a three person race. The field includes a former police chief and an English professor as well as the incumbent.
Two candidates waited until the last day to file their papers with the Fayette County Clerk’s office. Mayor Jim Gray had made it no secret that he would be seeking re-election. But, speculation about former police chief Anthany Beatty entering the race didn’t become a reality until now. “Being as pragmatic as I am, as a result of doing what I did for 30 plus years in law enforcement, very analytical and critical thinking, to make sure it was the right decision to do this before we move forward,” said Beatty.
Beatty is Assistant Vice President of Campus Services at the University of Kentucky. He says there are many issues where he has a different opinion than Jim Gray.
The third candidate in the race is Danny Mayer. He's an associate professor of English at Bluegrass Community and Technical College.
For his part, Mayor Gray says job creation and government efficiency will continue to be priorities. He believes opposition in political races offers an opportunity to better explore ways to make improvements. “And they really force a candidate to demonstrate his or her history his or her experience, what they bring to the table. I’ve always believed that past performance is the best indicator of future performance. And that’s what a campaign is all about,” said the incumbent.
Gray cited pension and health insurance reform and collective bargaining with public safety officers as accomplishments in his current term. He was asked if the race with Beatty and Mayer will likely become heated. “You know you always engage a race. You engage it with the best of intentions, the best spirit and I believe all of us engage in this work in good faith,” he added.
If elected, Anthany Beatty would become Lexington’s first African-American mayor. But, the Lexington native says that’s not why he’s seeking the office. “It’s not so much about race, it’s about your ability, your character, and can you do the job. I always pride myself on that. Certainly it would be historic, but more importantly can we do the job. And I’m up to the task,” said Beatty.
Mayor Gray indicated he would be willing to spend some of his own money on the campaign. Beatty says he has examined the costs and added “If I didn’t think I would not be competitive, I wouldn’t be standing here today.”