Candidate Amy McGrath seeks to inspire students, women at campus event hosted by UKY Democrats


Amy McGrath speaking to students on Tuesday, April 3, 2018 in Lexington, Kentucky. Amy McGrath is the second Congressional Candidate UKY Democrats have hosted this semester. Photo By Genna Melendez | Staff

Genna Melendez

Marine veteran, Kentuckian and mother are just some of the ways to describe Sixth District Congressional Democratic candidate Amy McGrath.

McGrath came to UK Tuesday evening to speak to the UK College Democrats about her future plans of her candidacy where she covered topics ranging from health care to gun control.

McGrath, an advocate for change, was the first female marine to fly a fighter jet into combat during her 20 years in the service.

“The military is a melting pot of America,” McGrath said. “It was my honor to serve.”

Being a Democrat in a red state can pose some challenges for McGrath, but she said she is prepared to take these challenges head-on. Growing up with a mother that survived polio and worked in the medical field, McGrath’s main objective is to provide suitable health care for Kentucky.

“Republicans tried to push away the Affordable Care Act for political reasons,” McGrath said. “ACA was not perfect, it was never perfect, but show me something better first.”

During her speech, McGrath spoke of the future of politics being in the hands of college students and how dire the need is for a new generation of leaders.

“We need people whose campaign inspires others,” she said when asked why UK students should support her. “Officials born into political backgrounds do not inspire young people.”

When asked what makes her different from other politicians, McGrath said she wants to be honest.

“I won’t be that person who’ll tell you what you want to hear like other politicians,” she said.

Going from one male-dominated environment in the military to another in government, McGrath hopes to inspire other women to run for political positions.

“I’m not a cheerleader, I motivate by my actions,” she said. “Words don’t matter unless they’re backed up by actions. I want to show women the only reason we don’t win is because we don’t run.”

During her speech, McGrath spoke to her audience in a personal matter while establishing credibility. Sophomore Alec Foust was impressed with McGrath.

“I enjoyed listening to her speak, a bit militaristic but practical,” he said. “She has a good head on her shoulders.”

Sophomore Lidya Yatin, a Reggie Thomas supporter, said McGrath is a strong candidate.

“I believe she portrays her democratic candidacy more progressively than she is, a more moderate democrat,” Yatin said.

McGrath was the second congressional candidate that the UKY Democrats have hosted this semester; Thomas spoke on Feb. 27 and Jim Gray is scheduled to speak on April 24.