Calloway County, here’s your challenger for KY House Skip to content

Calloway County, here’s your challenger for KY House

“I want to serve my community, and give my community a choice by running for office.” – Lauren Hines

In this fall’s election, incumbent Republican Mary Beth Imes has a challenger: Democrat Lauren Hines will be running to take her District 5 seat.

Imes was elected in 2020 when incumbent Republican and longtime Calloway county Judge Executive Larry Elkins retired. Prior to holding office, Mary Beth Imes was the director of the Imes Funeral Home and Crematory in Murray.

Her husband, Kenny Imes, held the seat from 2013 to 2018, and is currently the judge executive for the county – a local political dynasty. Republicans have been able to mix and match offices since 2010, while Calloway Dems have had difficulty in finding candidates to run for state office.

Lauren Hines found the courage to step up for this election cycle to represent Calloway and part of Trigg counties in West Kentucky.

About Lauren Hines

Lauren was born in Lexington while her father was in medical school at the University of Kentucky. Her family moved to Murray when Lauren 5 years old. She attended Murray Elementary School for kindergarten where she enjoyed Mrs. Perry’s kind, encouraging manner. Lauren was an early reader, ahead of her peers, so her parents homeschooled her, then enrolled her in Murray Christian Academy until the 6th grade. She re-enrolled in the Murray system and finished in the Murray High Class of 2003 as an Honor Graduate. She notes that she enjoyed the diversity of the student body, working in journalism, taking Kentucky Youth Assembly trips, and music and dance. She credits those experiences in stimulating her interest in pursuing public service.

Lauren was accepted to Murray State University on a Presidential scholarship and received a B.A. in Liberal Arts (International Relations, French, and Spanish) with an Honors diploma. While at MSU, she was also busy as a Homecoming Chair and holding offices in many clubs and organizations.

She went on to the University of Kentucky, attending the Patterson School of International Commerce, and received an M.A. in Diplomacy and International Commerce. Then back to Murray State for a another M.A. in Secondary Education and Teacher Leadership.

Teaching wasn’t originally on Lauren’s career path, but after accepting a substitute position at Mayfield High School as a bilingual instructional assistant working with English language learners, she found her passion in helping young people.

She applied to teach Spanish at her alma mater of Murray High School following that experience, and she began teaching elementary Spanish and English language learners, but finished her career teaching AP courses in Spanish and social studies at the high school level.

It was a long and difficult decision for Lauren to leave teaching, as she enjoyed working with students and being part of a great community of teachers and school staff. There were many factors in her decision, but ultimately, she decided it was time for a change.

Lauren is now working in a family realty business, The Stables, with her mother and sister in Murray. She is the Director of Community Engagement.

Lauren took some time to answer some Questions:

What is your stance on removing the Confederate statue of Robert E Lee from the Courthouse Square in Murray, KY?
The citizens should decide the fate of this statue. It is ultimately up to the County government as it is on their property. There are clearly many impassioned opinions about the statue, and I would support a referendum if offered to voters.

Do you support the House and Senate bills to allow a vet school bills at Murray State?
I do. We have a statewide need that we can work to resolve by allowing Murray State to have a veterinary program. Our economy relies heavily upon agriculture, and our animal producers need to have better access to veterinarians, especially in rural areas.

In the Commonwealth of Kentucky, there is a lack of adequate childcare availability. How would you address this continuing issue?
Funding of Pre-K schooling and tax credits for employers who help employees with childcare.

Whether it is problems with universities, infrastructure, employers – how would you handle controversy?
I will build relationships with community leaders in my district as well as state leaders to work together to create solutions to complex problems. I want to help those in my community who feel that their voices may not be heard so that they can be addressed.

What would you advocate to your KY House colleagues to help ensure that we focus on clean air and water environmental needs?
I believe one of the greatest gifts we have is our beautiful environment here in Western Kentucky, and we should do our best to take care of it for future generations. Current regulations and policies should be followed and enforced that protect our air and water quality, and I believe we should review current research to continue to improve our regulations and policies to keep up with modern problems, such as microplastics.

Do you favor or oppose equal rights for all women, LGBTQ+, handicapped, and minorities?
Absolutely in favor, I believe that all citizens deserve to be treated fairly and equally.

As a former long-time public-school teacher in Murray what is your opinion of Charter Schools? Do you believe Charter Schools should be able to use public funds for their maintenance?
I believe that public schools should be funded by public money. Charter schools or private schools that would not be subject to the same regulations on curriculum, teacher training, accommodations for students, etc. should not receive public funds. If private businesses wish to enter the education market and people want to employ their use, that is their choice, but it shouldn’t be incumbent upon the state to pay for anything except a public education.

How would you address the KY legislature’s attack on DEI (diversity, equity, inclusion)?
I would urge legislators to consider the ramifications of continuing down this path of limiting efforts towards diversity, equity, and inclusion in our academic and public environments. A January 2024 poll showed that 71% of Kentuckians preferred that businesses and institutions are responsible for their own decisions regarding DEI measures, and the University of Kentucky president has publicly opposed legislation on DEI measures.

The KY legislature has not specifically designated significant raises for KY public school educators for several years; how would you address this issues?
The demands on teachers have been raised year after year, and we are seeing the consequences of inadequate funding in our recruitment and retention of teachers. 

Salaries must be competitive compared to other professions that require a degree and certification. That demands a sizable raise to catch up with other surrounding states and to help equalize the raises for other public employees that specifically left out our public schools. In rural areas in our state, schools are often the largest employer and that money will be spent in the communities with a multiplier effect – an economic stimulus that will have a return on investment over time.

How do you feel about the voter ID issue that is before the legislature? And about early voting?
College students need an easy form of ID since many are away from home. Also, since the state has made it harder to get an ID with regional offices, there needs to be some kind of accommodation or plan to get identifications to Kentucky students in high school regardless of driving status or if they go to college. And, I agree with Secretary of State Michael Adams on the benefits of early voting! Early voting can attract people to KY.

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Written by John James Alexander, a pseudonym for a long-time Kentucky educator.



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