Sara Beth Gregory

Sara Beth Gregory (born September 5, 1982) is an attorney from Monticello, Kentucky, who is a Republican former member of the Kentucky State Senate from District 16 in the southern portion of her state. In addition to her native Wayne County, she represented under a 2013 revised districting plan the counties of Adair, Clinton, Cumberland, McCreary, and Russell, and Taylor. From December 2012 to August 2013, she represented Clinton, Cumberland, McCreary, Monroe, Wayne, and Whitley counties.[1]

Sara Beth Gregory
Member of the Kentucky Senate
from the 16th district
In office
December 2012  January 2015
Preceded byDavid L. Williams
Succeeded byMax Wise
Member of the Kentucky House of Representatives
from the 52nd district
In office
January 2011  December 2012
Preceded byKen Upchurch
Succeeded byKen Upchurch
Personal details
Born (1982-09-05) September 5, 1982
Monticello, Wayne County
Kentucky, USA
Political partyRepublican
Alma materMonticello High School

University of Kentucky

University of Kentucky College of Law

Gregory was unseated in the Republican primary election held on May 20, 2014 by Max Wise (born 1975), a professor at Campbellsville University.[2]


Gregory is the daughter of Conley and Joanna Gregory, owners of the Conley H. Gregory Construction Company in Monticello, Kentucky. In 2000, she graduated from Monticello High School. Thereafter, she received in December 2003 a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from the University of Kentucky at Lexington, where she was a National Merit Scholar and a summa cum laude graduate. She then attended the University of Kentucky College of Law, from which in May 2007, she again graduated summa cum laude. She served on the editorial board of the Kentucky Law Journal and was elected to the national legal honor society, the Order of the Coif.[3]

Gregory clerked for Judge Eugene Edward Siler, Jr., of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. In 2007, she was admitted to the Kentucky Bar Association. She is an associate with the law firm Carroll & Turner, P.S.C. in Monticello. She is a member of the First Baptist Church of Monticello. Gregory is a member of the executive committee of the Kentucky Republican Party. She is also active in the Wayne County Fair & Horse Show, Wayne County Republican Women, and Kiwanis International in Monticello.[3]

Political career

Gregory won a special election to the State Senate in December 2012 to succeed long-time Republican incumbent David L. Williams, who stepped down after twenty-five years in office to become a judge of the 40th Circuit Court. She polled some 80 percent of the vote to defeat Bill Conn, a teacher from Williamsburg, Kentucky, who describes himself as a Conservative Democrat. Among those campaigning for Gregory were U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell, U.S. Representatives Hal Rogers and Brett Guthrie, and Robert Stivers of Manchester, the successor to David Williams as president of the state Senate. The preceding month, on November 6, 2012, Gregory had won a second two-year term in the Kentucky House of Representatives from Wayne, McCreary, and a portion of Pulaski counties.[4]

In the changed districting plan, Gregory's district acquired Taylor County. Taylor County had previously been represented by Republican Jimmy Higdon, a Taylor County native and long-term resident of Lebanon in Marion County. Gregory's new counties were part of the Lake Cumberland Area Development District. Green River Lake is located in Taylor County near Campbellsville.[1]

The revised districts were required when the Kentucky Supreme Court struck down the 2012 districting on the grounds that it did not comply with the federal "one man, one vote" concept.[5] Democratic Governor Steve Beshear then called a special session of the legislature to redraw the district boundaries; the state population in 2010 increased from 4 million to 4.3 million. The approved changes took effect immediately on August 23, 2013.[1]

Gregory was the chairman of the Senate Government Contract Review Committee, vice-chairman of the Agriculture Committee, and a member of two other committees: Appropriations & Revenue and Judiciary.[3]

Gregory served in the House from January 2011 to December 2012. Oddly, she was both preceded and succeeded in that position by fellow Republican Ken Upchurch of Monticello, who had been initially elected in 1998 and stepped down in 2010 to run for county judge, only to return two years later.[6]

2014 election

Gregory lost the Republican primary to George Maxwell Wise, who teaches political science and international studies at Campbellsville University in his native Campbellsville in Taylor County. He is the son of George Wise and Donna Wise, former women's basketball coach at Campbellsville University. In his campaign, Wise promised not seek higher office in the near future, referring to Gregory's sudden successful run for the State Senate after having served in the State House for only two years. Wise said that he has few policy differences with Gregory. Wise remained neutral in the U.S. Senate primary between incumbent Mitch McConnell, whom Gregory endorsed, and the unsuccessful Tea Party challenger, Matt Bevin.[7][8]

The Gregory-Wise primary was expected to highlight regional geographic differences within the district, rather than political thinking. Wise describes himself as "not a cookie-cutter politician" but one who brings "a unique opportunity for the citizens of the 16th district to have a voice in Frankfort that will help change the status quo."[9]

In the primary, Wise defeated Gregory, 54 to 46 percent.[10]


  1. "Gregory is county's new senator: Higdon no longer represents Taylor County". Central Kentucky News-Journal. Retrieved August 27, 2013.
  2. Calen McKinney, "Max Wise wins Senate seat: Becomes Taylor County's first senator since 1952", Central Kentucky News-Journal, May 20, 2014
  3. "Senator Sara Beth Gregory". Archived from the original on 24 March 2013. Retrieved August 27, 2013.
  4. "Jack Brammer, Sara Beth Gregory wins election to fill David Williams' state Senate seat, December 18, 2012". Lexington Herald-Leader. Retrieved August 27, 2013.
  5. "Jack Brammer, Senate GOP redistricting plan alters Central Kentucky districts but pairs no incumbents". Lexington Herald-Leader. August 15, 2013. Retrieved August 22, 2013.
  6. "Representative Ken Upchurch". Retrieved August 29, 2013.
  7. "Dr. Donna Wise's bio". Retrieved September 7, 2013.
  8. "Ryan Alessi, Campbellsville professor and fmr. FBI analyst Wise to challenge Sen. Gregory in GOP primary, August 30, 2013". Pure Politics. Retrieved September 7, 2013.
  9. "Jeff Moreland, "Local senate race may be state's best: One expert calls it the most interesting race in primary," February 5, 2014". Central Kentucky News-Journal. Retrieved February 14, 2014.
  10. "Max Wise ousts incumbent Sara Beth Gregory in Kentucky's 16th Senate district". May 20, 2014. Retrieved May 21, 2014.
Political offices
Preceded by
David L. Williams
Kentucky State Senator from District 16 (Adair, Clinton, Cumberland, McCreary, Russell, Taylor, and Wayne counties)

Sara Beth Gregory

Succeeded by
Max Wise
Preceded by
Ken Upchurch
Kentucky State Representative from District 52 (McCreary, Wayne, and part of Pulaski counties)

Sara Beth Gregory

Succeeded by
Ken Upchurch
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