Commonwealth's Attorney race highlights primary

May 20, 2024

Polls will open at 6 a.m. Tuesday morning for the much-anticipated May Primay election.

Only three positions are on the ballot, with the most interest seemingly in the Commonwealth’s Attorney position for Clay, Leslie, and Jackson counties.

Commonwealth’s Attorney

On the Republican ticket, the incumbent, Gary Gregory, has held the position since 1993. The 1970s Clay County basketball star says he has obtained thousands of convictions and conducted almost 2,000 grand jury investigations.

“The citizens elected and entrusted me with the office of Commonwealth’s Attorney in 1993,” he said. “I told you then that I would help protect your children, homes, schools, churches, and businesses. Equally important, I would help you protect yourself, your family, and your property by upholding the right of self-defense and the right to property protection. On May 21st, I ask for your support to continue this fight for you.”

He is facing Haley Jo Vallance Fields, assistant county attorney.

Fields, the granddaughter of the late long-time jailer Charles Marcum, says she will be ready to work on day one.

“I am a trial-tested prosecutor who is unafraid to do whatever is necessary to clean up our communities,” she said. “My entire career has been dedicated to public service, and I will be ready to work on Day 1. As a wife and mother, I understand compassion. I promise to treat you with respect and dignity, no matter the circumstance. I promise to be reasonable when exercising prosecutorial discretion. I would appreciate your vote on May 21st to allow me to help fight for you against the crime and drugs that flood our counties.”

U.S. Representative

Voters can also cast a ballot for a Clay County doctor seeking the U.S. House of Representative seat in Congress.

Dr. Dana Edwards will face incumbent Hal Rogers in the contest. Rogers is seeking his 23rd term in Congress.

This is the first time Dr. Edwards has sought political office.

Edwards, a resident of Fogertown, says he would appreciate the support of Clay County voters.

“In 1998, my wife and I moved to Clay County to start a private surgical practice. We’re here 26 years later, and Clay County has no economic growth. There are no new jobs, no new American companies,” Dr. Edwards said. “We have an excellent, flat, developed industrial site that’s empty. And then look at 28 of our 33 counties in our district, going east from Laurel County to Pike, south to McCreary, they’re in the same situation. I’ve visited all those counties and talked to those judge-executives and the sheriffs, and they have the same problem. It’s a worsening condition compared to 26 years or even 42 years ago in that there’s a decrease in census, people can’t find jobs, and the tax base is decreasing. Sheriffs are trying to hire deputies at $13 an hour because that’s all the budget can do. And to see that, I have to ask the question, why? I’m not a politician but an American citizen, so I had to ask why. Why are we, why is our district, Kentucky’s 5th, still the second-most impoverished district in America? Why is my district still having the most significant percentage of people below the poverty level? Why is my district still having more people on federal assistance programs? Why is my district still having the most significant percentage of people on federally funded health insurance plans like Medicaid and Medicare? Why is my district having the most crucial percentage of tobacco abuse, heart disease, lung disease, cancer, and early death? All of these negatives, and we could go on and on, that nothing has changed in 42 years, and certainly in the last 26 years. So, I said, ok, why? Because we don’t have representation. We don’t have constitutional representation.”

Election Day

Polls will open at 6 a.m. Tuesday, May 21st and close at 6 p.m.

The following are poll locations in Clay County:

•Manchester: CCMS

•Garrard &White’s Branch-Paces Creek Elementary

•East Manchester-Clay Co. Admin. Building

•Big Creek-Big Creek Elementary

•Harts Branch-Beech Creek Campground

•Greenbriar-Manchester Elementary

•Allen & Oneida-Oneida Elementary

•South Fork-Oneida Fire Department

•Pin Hook-Clay Vocational School

•Flat Creek-Flat Creek Voting Booth

•Goose Rock & Brightshade-Goose Rock Elementary

•Horse Creek & Pigeon Roost-EKU

•Portersburg-Hacker Fire Department

•Fogertown-Fogertown Fire Department

•Burning Springs & Sexton’s Creek-Burning Springs Elementary