Former FBI Analyst Challenging Incumbent in Kentucky Senate Primary

May 4, 2014

Max Wise
Credit Campbellsville University

Sara Gregory
Credit Legislative Research Commission

More than one hundred legislative races will be on the ballot this year in Kentucky, and for some, contenders must first get through a primary. 

Among those is the 16th state Senate District, featuring incumbent Sara Beth Gregory of Monticello and political newcomer Max Wise of Campbellsville. 

Gregory is an attorney who spent one term in the House before winning a special election to the Senate in 2012.  She tells WKU Public Radio that being in both the majority and minority was beneficial.

"I definitely think it gives you more experience and a better perspective having served in both chambers and having relationships with people in both chambers is a helpful thing," says Gregory.

Looking back on the past session, Gregory says her greatest accomplishment was getting a bill passed that sets up an adult protection registry where prospective employers can see if job applicants have a history of abuse. 

If re-elected, she wants to work toward increasing the state’s investment in education.

"That's something I want to continue to see us doing going forward.  Investing in education will move our state forward by making it a better place to live, but also from a job creation standpoint, because it's critical to have an educated workforce," Gregory remarks.

Wise is a former FBI analyst who now teaches political science at Campbellsville University and at the University of Kentucky.  

I'm not a lawyer or businessman, but I consider myself a new or fresh idea to politics as someone who's had some real world experience," says Wise.

Job creation would be a priority of Wise, whose father lost his job when Fruit of the Loom closed in Campbellsville in 1998.  Now, Wise says the state needs to attract a replacement manufacturer for Fruit of the Loom’s Jamestown plant, which recently announced it would move operations overseas. 

Wise is new to politics, but has maintained a slight lead in fundraising.

"That's been a testament, I think, to just wanting to be a citizen legislator," comments Wise.  "If you really analyzed the financial report that I have, you'll see there are zero dollars from political action committees."

Wise say redistricting last year presented the opportunity for him to run for the senate seat.  Taylor, Adair, and Russell counties were added to the 16th District, which also includes Clinton, Cumberland, Wayne, and McCreary counties