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Paducah Residents Elect Change In City Leadership

Nicole Erwin


The historic Smedley-Yeiser house in Lower Town Paducah was filled with winning candidates Tuesday evening as the Brandi Harless "election night watch party" celebrated as Paducah residents voted for a change in leadership.

The mayoral race appeared close with absentee ballots placing incumbent Mayor Gayle Kaler and candidate Brandi Harless neck and neck, but as the night progressed the numbers shifted heavily in favor of Harless with 5,439 votes, unseating Kaler with her 3,900 total after a single term in office.

Harless is the CEO of Personal Medicine Plus, a mobile application startup, and chaired United Way of Paducah’s community wellness group. Harless says her first days in office will be spent listening, shadowing government workers and learning from Kaler.

“I look forward to learning more from Gayle and learning more from what her agenda was so that I'm not just stopping and starting things off the bat, but I'm looking forward to January for sure,” said Harless.

Kaler congratulated Harless at the Smedley-Yeiser house shortly after the win was announced.

“Kaler stopped by the watch party and congratulated me and told me that she is ready to work with me however that may be and so I'm looking forward to having those conversations with her as well,” said Harless.

The citizens of Paducah have shown they wanted “something different” said Harless and she says she is excited to fit that role.

Harless was also pleased with the winning commissioner candidates.

“I think we have a good team and I don't think we are going to have to have a lot of time spending getting to know each other, I think we know each other well enough and we are going to get to work,” Harless explained.

Credit Nicole Erwin
Sarah Stewart-Holland and Brandi Harless congratulate each other on their success

City Commissioner incumbents Sandra Wilson and Allan Rhodes were only a few votes from tying for first in the four seats allocated to the city race.


Wilson finished with 4,671 votes, Rhodes 4,694, and incumbent Richard Abraham was close behind with 4,395. Newcomer Sarah Stewart Holland came in fourth with 3,893 votes.

Holland says she knocked on exactly 5,523 doors during her campaign, each offering insight into what the city wants, one message was loud and clear. “People want food trucks,” said Holland and so she is making that a priority.

Holland says she wants to be the kind of commissioner she was as a candidate--transparent and communicative.

Allan Rhodes was elected to serve his third term as Commissioner and said he is "thrilled" with the results.

"I could not be happier, it has been a journey since January since I signed Brandi's papers to run, and she signed mine and we have knocked on lots of doors and met a lot of great people," said Rhodes.
The city has set "the reset button" explained Rhodes and "new is good."

Nicole Erwin is a Murray native and started working at WKMS during her time at Murray State University as a Psychology undergraduate student. Nicole left her job as a PTL dispatcher to join the newsroom after she was hired by former News Director Bryan Bartlett. Since, Nicole has completed a Masters in Sustainable Development from Monash University in Melbourne, Australia where she lived for 2 1/2 years.
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