KY State Rep. Gerald Watkins Announces Run For Paducah City Commission
Kentucky State Representative Gerald Watkins wants to return to his political roots as a Paducah City Commissioner. Watkins currently represents the 3rd district but announced earlier this year he would not run for re-election, after serving 6 years in the position.
Watkins announced his intention to run for the City Commission, Thursday. He said his main priority for his home community is jobs.
“I still think Paducah needs, more than anything else that would give us an advantage in the way of job recruitment, is a first class recreational complex. That we do not have.” Watkins said.
According to Watkins, Paducah is losing out on attracting businesses due to a lack of quality of life facilities.
“Elizabathtown in 2015 led the nation in per capita new business start-ups with 173 new businesses in one year,”he said. “They are about the same size as Paducah and the one thing Elizabethtown has that Paducah doesn't is the recreational complex.” Watkins credits Elizabethtown’s success to the city’s new $21 million recreational complex.
Outside of the governor, Watkins says local officials have the greatest impact on job recruitment.
"It is your local officials who offer the incentives--or not. And so they really play a bigger role than anyone.” Watkins said the Commission needs to be more aggressive.
Watkins served on the Paducah City Commission for six years, his first elected position.
“It has been an honor to serve in the House but I never went in with the intention of being a long-termer. There were some things I wanted to try and do; when I realized I had accomplished them or couldn't I knew it was time for me to get out.” He says his connections in Frankfort and experience as a state representative will help him move Paducah forward from home rather than in the state capitol.