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Murray Woman Running For Fifth District House Seat

Shannon Davis-Roberts for State Representative

The race for Kentucky’s fifth district house seat now features a Democrat and a Republican.

Democrat Shannon Davis-Roberts filed her papers last week in Frankfort to run for the seat. She is a co-owner of Walk the Willow, an artisan shop in Murray. She is also a co-founder of the nonprofit New South Arts Initiative. As the only Democrat in the race, Davis-Roberts automatically advances to the November election. She will face Republican Mary Beth Imes. Imes is a funeral director and the wife of former state representative and Calloway County Judge/Executive Kenny Imes. Davis-Roberts said she doesn’t like the idea of one family holding two elected positions. 

“I think that, you know, a husband and wife in those two government positions is a little nepotist if you will,” Davis-Roberts said. “I think that’s just too much power for one household. It just seems like at least people needed a choice.”

Davis-Roberts said she is running to provide that choice. She said she recognizes the uphill battle she faces. She said a Facebook fundraiser raised over $800 for her to attend the Emerge Kentucky candidate training program. The programtrains Democratic women throughout the Commonwealth to seek public office. This is Davis-Roberts’s first run for office.

“I’m scared but I’m also excited to try to represent what my values are and other people who share the same kind of values,” she said. 

Davis-Roberts previously served as communication director for Murray State professor Paul Walker in his 2018 congressional campaign. She said her passion for public libraries and education inspired her to get into politics. During the Calloway County Public Library Board controversy, Davis-Roberts said she was “appalled” by the negative rhetoric from the board members. 

“I grew up in an abusive household as a kid so it was very alarming to me. I felt like at that meeting I was experiencing something that typically people only see inside their own homes.”

Those issues coupled with the potential for no opposition to Imes inspired Davis-Roberts to run. 

“The fact that I’m even doing this is insane. I just couldn’t sit there and not try. I couldn’t hand it to her. Somebody’s got to try, so I’m going to do it.”

The seat is open after Representative Larry Elkins announced he would not seek re-election. The fifth district comprises Calloway County and part of Trigg County.

Dalton York is a Morning Edition host and reporter for WKYU in Bowling Green. He is a graduate of Murray State University, where he majored in History with a minor in Nonprofit Leadership Studies. While attending Murray State, he worked as a student reporter at WKMS. A native of Marshall County, he is a proud product of his tight-knit community.
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