WKU sophomore running for Bowling Green mayor

Bowling Green sophomore Brandon Peay, 25, wants to give back to his hometown in an unusual way for someone his age. He is running for mayor. “First they thought it was a joke,” Peay said about friends, family and co-workers.

Natalie Hayden

Forget a small start in politics. Bowling Green sophomore Brandon Peay is running for mayor.

“I decided to run for mayor because I figured I could bring a new look onto the town,” Peay said. “I always told my mom I would run for a political office, and mayor and city commissioner happened to be available so I figured, ‘Why not go for the top?’”

Just 25 years old, Peay thinks his youth could be beneficial, describing it as a “double-edged sword.”

“It can be detrimental, but it can also be advantageous to have a younger person [as mayor] with new ideas for the city,” he said.

One of his ideas is better marketing for Bowling Green. Peay said although the city currently does a good job advertising, it could do better “getting it out more, and advertising more on Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare to make Bowling Green a little more attractive to prospective companies and businesses that want to come to town.”

Peay also has ideas on how to keep WKU alumni in Bowling Green after graduation.

“Students are leaving Bowling Green because of the lack of jobs,” he said. “Students need to know that we are trying to accommodate them to have more jobs come into the city.”

However, Peay said that it may be challenging task attracting employers.

“We’re also having growing pains, with Scottsville Road and all the traffic issues we have. So we need to make sure [graduates] know we’re trying our best to get more jobs into the city, while adjusting for the growing pains as well.”

One thing Peay is adamant about is the smoking ban, which the Bowling Green City Commission passed in January.

“I believe clean air should be available to everyone,” Peay said. “I know it’s your right to smoke, but it’s also people’s right not to be around it. They shouldn’t have to be around it if they don’t want to.”

Peay is running against mayor Joe Denning and city commissioner Bruce Wilkerson.

If elected, Peay wants to enhance communication between representatives and their constituents.

“The biggest thing I hope to accomplish is just making sure the city wants to work for the people, making sure that any elected official has their door open for any suggestion from anybody,” he said.

Should he become mayor, Peay plans on remaining enrolled at WKU, saying he would be able to balance his time.

Peay also hopes to gain some experience if elected.

“Honestly, I have no [experience],” he said. “I’m looking to gain that, but experience comes with age, and as I get older, I will gain more life experience.”

Assistant professor Walker Rutledge, who had Peay in an English class, said that Peay is “a very bright individual.”

“I’m delighted to see him enter politics,” he said. “What he lacks in political experience, he makes up for in intelligence.”

Peay will appear at the mayoral forum Oct. 20. at Bowling Green Junior High School.