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Warren County’s state Senate delegation touts regional investments in new Kentucky budget

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Dalton York
/
WKU Public Radio
L to R: Senators Stephen Meredith, Max Wise, and David Givens. Senator Mike Wilson joins by Zoom in the background.

A group of state Republican Senators who represent Warren County is touting economic investments in the region contained in the new two-year state budget and road plan.

Senators Stephen Meredith, David Givens, Max Wise, and Mike Wilson highlighted the funding for the region in an event Thursday at the Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce.

The biennial budget and road plan approved by the Kentucky General Assembly funds significant investments in infrastructure, education, and workforce development in Warren County. Some of the major appropriations include $74 million to construct a new facility for the Gordon Ford College of Business at Western Kentucky University, $1 million to maintain and expand the Kentucky Mesonet weather system, $8 million to renovate the Bowling Green Independent Schools Vocational Center, and $27 million to increase safety on Cave Mill Road in Bowling Green.

Wilson, the Senate’s Republican Majority Whip, said the budget is the best spending plan he’s voted on during his time in the chamber.

“We certainly tried to make sure that we are stewards of the taxpayers’ money as we work on that and they work hard. Our ultimate goal is to make sure we stay in line with conservative principles,” Wilson said.

Wise, a Campbellsville Republican whose district covers a portion of eastern Warren County, said the budget’s transportation and infrastructure improvements will help to prepare Bowling Green for accelerated growth amid major economic development announcements in the region. Wise specifically praised the Japanese-based Envision AESC’s upcoming gigafactory at the Bowling Green Transpark, which is the second-largest jobs announcement in Kentucky’s history.

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Dalton York
/
WKU Public Radio
Senator Max Wise (R-Campbellsville)

Wise is mulling a bid for governor in the commonwealth’s 2023 statewide elections. However, he said he’s not on a specific timeline to make that announcement.

“I’m looking at it. I would be lying if I said that I was not,” Wise said. “I don’t think there’s a rush right now. I think a lot of times people feel like because one jumped in, it needs to be that everybody jumps in the pool. I don’t take that approach.``

If he runs, Wise would join State Auditor Mike Harmon, Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles, and Attorney General Daniel Cameron in the race for the Republican nomination. Other potential candidates include former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Kelly Knight Craft and State Representative Savannah Maddox.

The Bowling Green event came in the same week as Kentucky’s primary election, where state Representatives Adam Koenig, Ed Massey, and Sal Santoro lost their reelection bids this week to more conservative candidates in the GOP primary. All three chair prominent legislative panels and received support from other sitting lawmakers.

On the state Senate side, Nicholasville Republican Donald Douglas faced a similar challenge in his party’s primary, but survived. Green County Senator David Givens also spoke at the Chamber event Thursday in Bowling Green and said Douglas was well-funded and supported by current Senate Republicans.

“When we have a colleague that goes up for re-election that’s in our caucus, we stand by him or her in a very robust way. We did that with Don and we’re proud of the outcome there. We’re excited about what’s coming in the sessions ahead. We’re excited about the team,” Givens said.

Redistricting and the primary upsets will result in new faces around the state Capitol when the General Assembly returns to Frankfort next year. Warren County received alterations in the composition of its House and Senate districts, but the Republican dominance in the county’s delegation is unlikely to change.