Max Wise, McCreary County’s State Senate Elect, Prepares to Take Office
By: Eugenia Jones
The statewide redistricting which threw McCreary, Wayne, Clinton, and Cumberland Counties into the freshly drawn 16th State Senatorial District along with the three northern counties of Russell, Adair, and Taylor provided new Republican 16th District State Senate Elect Max Wise an opportunity he just couldn’t refuse.
Always interested in politics, Wise felt the opportunity and timing were right for him to make a bid for the state senate seat. After prayer and discussion with his family, Wise threw his hat in to the political ring and came out victorious against incumbent State Senator Sara Beth Gregory in last May’s Republican Primary.
With no Democratic or write in opposition in the November election, Max Wise is set to assume his responsibilities as a state senator for the next four years when he is sworn in to office in January.
Although he comes from the most northern of the seven counties in the 16th District, Wise is adamant that he does not view his job in terms of geographic boundaries.
“I feel my job is to represent all,” Wise commented in a recent interview with The Voice. “I don’t want this to be about ‘north’ and ‘south.’ I will represent and serve the entire 16th District, and I do think, at the end of the day, we are all Kentuckians. It’s all about communities and doing what is best for the people you serve.”
Wise, at thirty-eight years old, takes an impressive background with him to Frankfort. A staunch conservative on social issues, Wise is a former Intelligence Analyst for the FBI. He worked at FBI Headquarters, FBI Lexington (KY) Joint Terrorism Task Force, FBI Louisville Field Intelligence Group, and served as the FBI’s liaison representative at the Kentucky Office of Homeland Security’s Intelligence Fusion Center in Frankfort.
He is currently the lead professor for the Campbellsville University Political Science program. Wise, whose wife, Heather, is a pediatric dentist, is also the father of four children under the age of twelve and claims a six year old Westie named Buddy as part of the family.
The Senator Elect has definite goals as he heads to the State Capitol.
“I am a team player,” Wise stated. “I will work well with both sides of the aisle. I’ve demonstrated leadership skills throughout my past. I’m of the generation that wants to see someone serve in office and not be self-serving.”
One of Wise’s top priorities for McCreary County is completion of the State HWY 92 project.
“I’ve asked to be on the transportation committee because I know the importance of the 92 project.”
Wise would also like to see grants used to fund more progressive development of the local McCreary County Industrial Park and feels it is important to examine the type of jobs that are needed in the area. He considers economic development, tourism, agriculture, transportation, and the growing heroin drug problem as being the leading concerns currently facing his district.
Wise feels tax reform and “right to work” initiatives are necessary for economic development in Kentucky. He is quick to point out that tax reform does not automatically mean a tax increase.
“In order to be competitive, we need to look at other states in terms of tax reform,” Wise stated. “I think our state tax system is very antiquated. We can’t keep delaying reform.”
While understanding the need for universal health care, Wise expressed concern over Kentucky’s expansion of Medicaid.
“I understand the need, but I don’t see how we can sustain good medical coverage,” Wise said. “I worry in two years we won’t be able to afford expanded Medicaid.”
Wise, who has served on the Taylor County Tourism Commission, sees tourism as a potential way to bring vibrancy and jobs to McCreary County. He sees the Stearns Trail Town initative as having the potential to bring people to McCreary County and provide unique opportunities.
Wise’s wish list for committee assignments are seats on the education, economic development/tourism, agriculture, and transportation committees.
Wise also wants McCreary Countians to know they can depend on him.
“I truly want to be a personable face in McCreary County,” Wise commented. “I want to be a part of the community and have periodic community forums. I can’t be at all community events since I represent a large district in addition to having a wife, children, and students who depend on me in the roles of husband, father, and college professor. However, I want the people of McCreary County to know me and know that I am here for them.”
Wise is already busy preparing himself for the job ahead.
“I’m all about learning,” he remarked enthusiastically. “I’ve been meeting with so many lobbyists and groups. My job this first year is to network, watch the process work, and see what I can do to help my district. I’m all about teamwork, and I’m like the sixth man on the bench who studies everything and goes in the game giving 110%.”