Skip to content

Meet the Candidates

Mary Beth Sallee

Managing Editor

Hart Co. News-Herald


A Special Election will be held on Tuesday, March 19 to fill the vacancy left in the 24th District House after the resignation of Representative Brandon Reed. There are three candidates that the voters of the 24th district, which includes Hart, Green, and LaRue counties, can choose from. They include Democrat John Pennington, Republican Courtney Gilbert, and Independent Craig Astor (write-in).

In an effort to provide additional information about the candidates to our readers, the Hart County News-Herald provided each candidate with four questions to answer.

Courtney Gilbert – Republican

 Why did you choose to run for Representative of the 24th House District?

When I heard that Rep. Reed was vacating the House seat, I realized that a special election would render only a few days for a legislator to be in office representing this district in 2024. In 2022 I ran for this seat and prepared to serve this term. My desire is that Hart, Green, and LaRue Counties have adequately-informed and ready representation for our district this year.

What makes you the best qualified candidate for the job?

Since I was seventeen years old I have had legislative training and experience, including numerous trips to Frankfort as a citizen lobbyist and developing relationships with legislators. From the time I was eighteen I have been a registered Republican. Nine years I served as the Youth Chair of the LaRue County Republican Party. In 2008, 2012, and 2016, I was a delegate to the Second District and Kentucky State Republican Conventions, serving on committees each time. I have worked on several campaigns for conservative candidates. Currently I am a precinct captain in the LaRue County Republican Party. Serving as a State Representative for the citizens of House District 24 will be a new context for me, but I believe my history of active involvement within the Republican Party—as well as within the Capitol walls—has adequately prepared me for such a time as this.

What are the top 3 key issues that are important to you?

Three of my top issues are children’s well-being, personal freedoms, and government transparency. But in this situation, the reality is that the deadline to file bills is passed already. There will be no opportunity for me to file new bills or take any particular issues to Frankfort that are not already there. By that time the legislature will be operating at full throttle speed. My job, as I see it, is to enter the session knowing which bills are where in the process, and to take action wherever I can effect the greatest leverage to either amend, pass, or stop bills. Being familiar with the process and some details already, I feel I will have the best chance to insert our district’s voice into Frankfort.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?

I thank you for your vote and look forward to soon representing you in Frankfort!


John Pennington – Democrat

Why did you choose to run for Representative of the 24th House District?

I am running because I want to be the voice for the forgotten
ones, THE PEOPLE. The ones of us that get up everyday and go to work paying in the taxes that keep KY going. I intend to represent the people equally, regardless of political preference. As a citizen of the 24th
district your problems are my problems. This job is not only about
passing bills and laws it’s about finding out the problems our counties
are facing and finding ways to fix them.

What makes you the best qualified candidate for the job?
As a Certified Occupational Leader that has served as the
Political Chair in the Steel workers union, while serving on the Civil
Rights Committee, I feel I can adequately communicate with other leaders and reach openly across the aisle to work on Bi Partisan bills  and other issues, coming together to do what’s best for the people. With my 4-plus years of training and experience with the NPS, working on bridges and roadways, has furthered my knowledge on how to spot infrastructure issues. We need someone who will get things fixed when needed, instead of waiting until it’s election time.

What are the top 3 key issues that are important to you?
There are many issues to be concerned about but my top 3 would be: affordable healthcare, cutting taxes, and protecting workers rights.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
I intend to have open communication with our communities. You
should know your leaders. Communication is key. Lastly, as an
agriculturist, I understand the needs of the farmers and see the
struggles they are facing. I see our teachers purchasing supplies with
their own money when they can’t even get a raise because the current
legislature doesn’t support them. Let’s get someone in there who cares.
Help me to help you by sending me to Frankfort!


Craig Astor – Independent – Write-In Candidate

 Why did you choose to run for Representative of the 24th House District?
As an Independent, I am concerned over the extremes of the major parties being unduly influenced by outside big money and special interests groups. Legislation too often pleases them over promoting the general welfare of our citizens. I believe a legislature’s primary focus should be improving roads, bridges, infrastructure, schools, public safety and services to better our communities.

What makes you the best qualified candidate for the job?
Being 60, married to Ruth for 38 years, raising 4 children, I realize it’s not about me, but what’s best for the whole. Being an aircraft mechanic for over 33 years, and a preacher for 39 years, I don’t know it all. But it appears in the current era of partisan politics, if some do not get their way, they try to shut down the government by drawing a line that leaves no room for compromise. We cannot function this way. The arena of our political process should form consensus by the voice of the people being heard to form a more perfect commonwealth. I hope to be that voice for the 24th District.

What are the top 3 key issues that are important to you?
As a tradesman, I strongly support funding public education that prepares students to be successful, whether entering college or a trade, to gain stable employment within our region, without becoming a lifetime debtor slave in the process.

As a minister, I’m thankful for our religious heritage, but strongly believe in the separation of Church and State where no law should give preference to any religious sect or denomination. Freedom of and from religion safeguards the individual liberties of all. I will oppose the extremes of both the Left, as well as the Religious Right.

Working within a balanced budget is fundamental in keeping Frankfort honest and fiscally accountable, while appropriating revenue for projects and services we expect from a functioning government.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
I humbly ask for your vote by checking the Write-In box and printing CRAIG ASTOR. I am CRAIG ASTOR and promise to work hard for you! Thank you.









Leave a Comment