Winters retires from state Senate seat

Olivia Medovich
Staff writer

Sen. Ken Winters announced Jan. 30 he would not be seeking re-election of his senate seat this term.

Winters has represented the 1st senatorial district in west Kentucky, which includes Calloway, Carlisle, Fulton, Graves, Hickman, Lyon and Trigg counties, for the last 8 years.

Winters said he decided not to run again because of health concerns with his wife, Shirley Winters.

“It’s been a little over a year ago, my wife had major back surgery,” he said.

He said when he initially made the decision to run for senator, he and his wife were in relatively good health.

As a senator, Winters has focused a lot of his senatorial work to improving education in Kentucky.

“Every young person we have in Kentucky deserves the best experience in education we can provide for them,” Winters said. “Our state depends on young people coming through the system right now.”

In 2009, Winters worked to pass a senate bill which adopted new standards for the annual Common Wealth Accountability Testing administered in Kentucky secondary public schools. The bill eliminated writing portfolios as well as arts and practical living exams from the test.

Winters and his wife currently reside in Murray.

Winters said knowing he worked to make a difference in Kentucky made driving 540 miles to Frankfort, Ky., every week worth the trip.

“It becomes more enjoyable knowing that I have been beneficial to the 800,000 students in grades K (kindergarten) through the university level,” Winters said.

Before making the decision to run for the senate seat at age 69, Winters spent 37 years working in education.

He earned his bachelor’s degree from Murray State and worked as a professor at the University for 23 years. The last 11 years he severed as Dean of the College of Industry and Technology.

While serving as dean, Winters played a role in the influence of Briggs and Stratton manufacturing company opening a plant in Murray.

He worked with Briggs and Stratton Corp. to implement a second shift to utilize students as employees, which he said, has proven to be valuable to students and the company.

Winters also served as the president of Campbellsville University for 11 years and helped change the college to a master’s degree level institution.

He said the chances of him running for office again are slim, but he can’t say he would not consider it.

“You never say never,” he said. “At my age, I would not predict I would run again. Obviously we are never in a position to say never.”

He is a member of the budget review subcommittee on education and the education assessment and accountability review subcommittee.

Before becoming a senator, Winters was a member of the Kentucky Postsecondary Education Council.

Winters said whomever is elected to the senate seat must be prepared to carry on the task of working for Kentucky.

“You can never lose focus of why you are here,” he said. “You are here to serve Kentucky.”

Democrat Carroll Hubbard, a former U.S. congressman from Mayfield, and Republican Stan Humphries have filed to run for Winters’ seat.