31st District State Senate special election: Meet the candidates

By MaryAnn Fletcher

PIKEVILLE, Ky. (WYMT) – We are less than two weeks away from the Special Election for the 31st District Senate Seat.

It opened up after Ray Jones won his campaign for Pike County Judge Executive in November.

As the race heats up, the candidates want to lay out the facts.

“The fact that I’m pro-life, pro-gun and pro-coal,” said Democrat Darrell Pugh.

“I’m here to fight for our people. I’m here to fight for investment,” said Republican Phillip Wheeler.

Pugh grew up in Paintsville where his family holds a long-reigning jewelry store. Now, Pugh also has a jewelry store of his own in Pikeville.

“I’m a life long Eastern Kentuckian. I have three sons. They all express interest. They want to come back here and I want to do my part to help,” explained Pugh.

Wheeler is from Pikeville where he practices law.

“I have worked for people who are out there trying to make this community a better place,” Wheeler pointed out.

The two opponents may not agree on everything but they find common ground in economics.

“Jobs and economic development. That’s what we’re starving for,” said Pugh.

“We need to bring the types of jobs that puts the workforce back to work with decent paying jobs that a person could support a family on,” explained Wheeler.

As election day is quickly approaching, both aim to win your vote.

“I hope to not only bring new jobs to the area but keep the ones that we have,” Pugh pointed out.

“I’m here to fight to make Eastern Kentucky great again,” said Wheeler.

The 31st District includes Pike, Martin, Lawrence, Elliott, and Morgan Counties.

The special election is on Tuesday, March 5th.