A Kentucky State University economics and finance associate professor is seeking election to the House of Representatives seat for the 57th District.
Gary Reed Stratton, 54, is the only Republican who filed for the race. In addition to teaching courses at KSU, Stratton is executive director of the Center for Economic Education and Financial Literacy at KSU, is the board president of the Franklin Center for Innovation and is a member of the Franklin County Republican Party.
Stratton grew up on a farm in Salvisa in Mercer County before attending the University of Louisville and the University of Kentucky to study economics. He then worked as a stockbroker in Lexington.
He got his master's degree at Murray State University and his doctorate at Clemson University. He taught at the University of Virginia’s College at Wise for 22 years before returning to Kentucky and beginning his tenure at KSU three years ago. This is his first run for public office, but he has been involved in local Republican Party organizations and assisted in other campaigns.
“Kentucky has been left behind too long. We’ve got to catch up,” Stratton said.
He wants to “enhance the innovative and entrepreneurial spirit in Kentucky,” especially in Frankfort. As an educator, he works with kindergarten through 12th grade teachers to teach economics, finance and entrepreneurship in schools. He wants to ensure that the financial literacy courses outlined in a 2018 House bill that was signed into law are taught and that the standards for those classes are set.
He also supports public-private partnerships to bring in more resources and opportunities for Frankfort. He hopes that the Franklin Center, which is a PPP, can be a model for other Kentucky cities. According to its website, the new center aims to foster innovation and entrepreneurship in the community by providing maker and office spaces, youth programs and more.
Stratton said he supports tax reform so Kentucky can be more competitive with other states, and expanding gaming laws, and thinks that Kentuckians have the right to vote on the laws. He would like to strengthen animal cruelty laws.
“There’s a lot of things that I see us at the bottom on. I want us to at least move out of that,” he said.
Stratton is running against Democratic incumbent State Rep. Derrick Graham, who has held the 57th District seat since 2002. The general election will be Nov. 3.