Tommy McGraw


candidate for 

Christian County
Tommy McGraw, 51, of Robinson Road, graduated from Christian County High School and attended Hopkinsville Community College. He’s the District 1 Captain at Hopkinsville Fire Department, where he has served for 19 years.

If elected, how would you help address the housing shortage?

I have been talking about affordable family housing for years but more so in the past 6 months. We need to recruit and incentivize developers to come to our community to build affordable single family homes that families can afford to purchase. We can look for federal and state grants to help with infrastructure to jump start home development. Again, population growth is exactly what Christian Country needs, with growth comes more opportunity and options for the betterment of all Christian Countians.

If elected, how would you work together with government, nonprofit and business leaders to encourage economic development?

We need population Growth to attract any new business to Christian County. With Christian Counties low median income, we are not an attractive business location. This can be changed by developing new neighborhoods with homes that working families can afford to purchase. This is not a short term process, it will take a few years for Christian County to see the impact of a Judge-Executive with a vision for the future. I would work with all local and State officials to bring opportunity to Christian County. The entire region will know Christian Country is open for growth and opportunity.

If elected, how would you support tornado recovery and the development of rural storm shelters?

The most important part of tornado recovery is clearing the roadways for Emergency Vehicle Response. I would make sure that our County Road Department has the tools and equipment to complete this important task. I would like to see our counties Volunteer Fire Departments be trained in Urban Search and Rescue and make sure they have all the necessary equipment to be able to complete these life saving tasks. I am in full support of community storm shelters. First, we would have to do a needs assessment and find out the cost. Survey residents that would go to these shelters versus staying at home. Then locations would have to be agreed on. Many residents have basements that are proven to be life saving and would likely share this space with neighbors, if they knew there was a need.

If elected, what specific steps would you take to help grow jobs in the area?

Without population growth and a better work force, Christian County is going to struggle to recruit new business and industry. Many of the facilities from the industrial park to the service industries can't get quality people to apply for the many job openings currently in the county. With that said, I will work tirelessly to recruit not only home development but also more industry and companies geared toward the technology sector. There is not much opportunity for our children and grandchildren to stay or return to Christian County after school

Do you support reducing the county’s tax burden? If so, what steps would you take to make this happen?

The county only gets about a fourth of its budget from taxes. The rest comes from state and federal grants and aid. Like all people, I want my taxes to be as minimum as possible and will carry that same want into the Judge-Executive's office. I know a lot of property owners just had their property valuations increased by over 10% up to 22% from my understanding. Fiscal Court did give a tax cut of 0.1 % but with the valuation increases, it was not a true tax cut. There is nothing I would rather do than cut taxes but the county also needs many improvements. An assessment will have to be made to see exactly what has to be done versus what citizens want and figure all that in the budget process. If there are surplus funds and a decent rainy day fund, there should be a tax rate decrease in my opinion.

Do you support the establishment of a library tax?

No, I do not support a tax just for the library. It should be funded by not only the county but also the city, as it is. The library does great things, not only for children but with the vast genealogy information that it contains, plus availability of books for check out. I do support funding the library.

If elected, how would you address health care inequalities and improve living conditions for low-income residents?

Healthcare is generally handled at the state and federal level but we could be inventive and figure out ways to help. We could help St. Luke's Clinic and ask for more medical professionals to volunteer time and supplies. Find ways to get the Health Department more involved out and into the community but this will cost more money in a time when people want tax cuts. We have many low income people with mental health issues. I think the county needs to work with the state to ensure the money and benefits these people receive are not being misused. I do not have a good solution to this problem but I do know it's one the county can't do alone.

Is there another issue not addressed in these questions that you believe is extremely important? If so, please explain it briefly.

To garner more citizen participation and awareness, Fiscal Court meetings need to be moved from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. so more citizens have the opportunity to have their voices heard. We also need to implement the use of a survey service to get more input from citizens. The bidding process needs to be evaluated. I believe that any contract with a sealed bid needs a PUBLIC opening. This way, not only the public but the bidders themselves will be able to attend. This will hopefully improve the confidence the citizens have in their county government.