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Somerset Mayor says business acumen sets him apart in crowded GOP field for governor

Alan Keck

The latest Republican to enter the crowded 2023 governor’s race says Kentucky needs a CEO.

Somerset Mayor Alan Keck plans to use his private sector experience to distinguish himself against the other 11 GOP candidates.

Before entering public service, Keck served as president of Somerset Recycling and founded Keck Sports Management, an agency that represents professional baseball players.

He says Kentucky is losing the battle against neighboring states due to a lack of leadership and "archaic policy." Keck says he supports a more competitive tax code, including elimination of the state income tax.

“If you look at Tennessee, their population is now over seven million people. We’re at four and a half. They’re growing at record levels and we’re growing at the second slowest rate in 100 years," stated Keck in an interview with WKU Public Radio. "I think it affects quality of life for residents, how many people want to be there.”

Keck says, if elected, he would also make Kentucky more competitive through a number of workforce initiatives, including welfare reform. His idea is to provide sliding scale benefits to Kentuckians willing to re-enter the workforce.

"I had instances in the private sector where folks would turn down a raise because they might lose a benefit," explained Keck. "As folks improve their situation, they might be allowed to keep a part of their benefit from the government instead of having to give it all up, allowing them to better themselves, and the government saves money."

As the father of three young children, Keck says he supports tax incentives for companies that offer paid and extended maternity leave.

A large part of Keck's campaign platform is also public safety. The 12th Republican to enter the 2023 governor’s race says Kentucky has never been more unsafe.

“Louisville has had a record amount of homicides. Lexington has as well and the year’s not over yet. I think that alone should scare us," he stated. "We need a strong Lexington and Louisville for the rest of the commonwealth to be successful. They are in many ways the economic engine of our state.”

Keck’s platform includes raising state incentive pay for law enforcement, funding school safety initiatives, and addressing the state’s shortage of mental health providers.

In order to challenge Democratic Governor Andy Beshear next year, Keck will have to get through a crowded GOP primary with well-known and well-funded candidates like Daniel Cameron, Ryan Quarles, and Kelly Craft.

Keck says his executive experience, connections to donors, and a strong base set him up for a successful campaign for governor. Keck won a second term this month as Somerset mayor in the heart of the 5th congressional district, a Republican dense area.

Lisa is a Scottsville native and WKU alum. She has worked in radio as a news reporter and anchor for 18 years. Prior to joining WKU Public Radio, she most recently worked at WHAS in Louisville and WLAC in Nashville. She has received numerous awards from the Associated Press, including Best Reporter in Kentucky. Many of her stories have been heard on NPR.