As a special education teacher, Denise Gray, a state senate candidate running in Kentucky’s 28th district, has developed skills in patience, communication, and oddly enough, politics.

“I am able to work with all types of people regardless of what their beliefs are, who they are, where they come from. I don’t mind working with people who have different beliefs than myself because I do it every day,” said Gray. “Being able to communicate with people who definitely don’t wanna hear me will help me when I am the senator of this district.”

Denise Gray’s backstory

Gray is a lifelong resident of Kentucky, having grown up on the north side of Lexington and graduating from the University of Louisville. After graduation, Gray attended the University of Denver Sturm College of Law, but after graduating with a law degree decided to pursue her desire to work with children. She began as a substitute teacher for Fayette County Public Schools, and eventually became a special education teacher.

Through her experiences as an educator and Kentuckian, Gray has learned that “we all want the same things. We all want to raise our children, we want to be able to pay our bills, we want adequate health care … we just want all the basic things, and I think that’s what Kentuckians deserve.”

According to Gray, her experiences in teaching the “generation of leaders,” a title Gray coined to describe her students’ generation, have also enabled her to be a voice for her community. “They are dealing with so much, like the opioid crisis, which is taking over the state of Kentucky and our nation. Every single piece of legislative policy in Frankfort or in D.C., I am seeing on a daily basis in our schools. In our students,” said Gray.

Outside of her career, Denise Gray

  • is a member of the Fayette County Democratic Party Executive Committee,
  • is a member of the Kentucky Education Association’s Program and Budget Committee,
  • is on the Executive Board of the Fayette County Education Support Association, and
  • has been featured as part of the National Education Association’s See Educators Run Program.

Denise Gray on the issues

Gray cites the “rhetoric and all the foolishness that was coming from Frankfort” as the force that propelled her to file for candidacy. She witnessed a “disconnect” between legislators, students, and their educators, visible through a lack of funding for public schools. She also paid attention to the “pension debacle,” a title Gray gave Senate Bill 151, which was ruled unconstitutional by the Franklin Circuit Court.

Along with those issues, Gray’s political foundation is built on standing “for the people,” whether it be through fighting for women’s health rights, public and higher education, or economic development. “Right now our college students are leaving college with so much debt. We need to figure out a way that our next generation of leaders won’t be in debt for an eternity,” said Gray.

Gray plans to create new revenue through “out of the box thinking,” referencing hemp as a resource that can be repurposed as a cash crop, among other tactics. “There are several areas within our commonwealth where the working class and the middle class pay more than their share in taxes. As your senator, I will introduce legislation to require a payment of sales tax on industries which are currently not taxed by the commonwealth. However, it is necessary to pass legislation to benefit our working and middle class without hindering public/private partnerships in Kentucky,” a statement Gray offered via her campaign website.

Why vote for Denise Gray

Gray holds that she is “just a regular person who wants to step out and make a difference for us all” as a state senator, and plans to attract voters with her experience and dedication to Kentucky.

“I am an educator. I am a woman. I am a woman of color. We do not have any women of color who are serving in the Senate, and that means that there are whole people whom we are not hearing from. You should vote for me because I am a working-class woman. I will be the voice of the regular person in Kentucky,” said Gray.


Hayle Hall
Hayle Hall is a Sophomore at Transylvania University where she majors in Writing, Rhetoric, and Communication. On campus, she writes for Transylvania's student-led paper, The Rambler, and is a member of the women's lacrosse team. In her free time, Hayle enjoys creating graphics, reading, and spending time with family.