Raised on a farm in western Kentucky, Representative Suzanne Miles (R- Majority Caucus Chair), learned the value of hard work and a love for Kentucky at an early age. A passion for the people and traditions of the bluegrass state led her to Frankfort, and since her election in 2014, she has worked hard to promote the interests of her fellow Owensboroans.
“I’ve always been in customer service in one way or another,” Miles remarked. “Public service is just an extension of that. As a public servant, my primary role is to help others navigate government agencies and processes.”
Since taking office, Miles has brought a renewed focus to the “small things” that are the very fabric of our community.
“I’ve always been of the mindset that even the concern of just a few citizens affects everyone,” Rep. Miles remarked. “An example is a flooding and infrastructure issue that was occurring on parts of Highway 60 and affecting Henderson, Union and Daviess counties. When flooding would occur, it would become impossible for emergency vehicles to get through, homes were being damaged, and people would become stranded. There had been plans for a long-standing road project that had been overlooked for years. We ended up raising portions of the road to prevent the flooding.”
Another key issue Miles has led the way in addressing is Kentucky’s shortage of healthcare workers, especially post-COVID.
Miles sponsored HB 751, which would create a regional pilot program that includes a hands-on training facility that services 18 western Kentucky counties. The bill would establish the Commonwealth West Healthcare Workforce Innovation Center (CWHWIC) in Owensboro.
“I have been thankful for the opportunity to collaborate on this,” said Miles. “Owensboro Health has been an amazing partner and resource. Dr. Scott Williams with OCTCS has testified in front of a committee this session with updates, and will continue to update the general assembly with full implementation.”
Miles continued, “This collaboration is not limited to, but includes multiple high schools, public and private higher education institutions, and healthcare industry providers. When fully implemented, I’m confident this will be a model that can be used all across different regions for Kentucky and the nation.”
Making our community safer for the vulnerable has also been a top priority for lawmakers recently, and Representative Miles has taken the lead on this front.
In 2020, Miles filed House Bill 2, which would close a loophole in how human trafficking offenders are treated in relation to the sex offender registry.
“Like most legislation, you stumble upon something that needs attention,” said Miles. “I’ve been fortunate to collaborate with the staff of the attorney general’s office and the judiciary chair of the House. There were some gaps between state and federal laws that enable predators to harm vulnerable citizens of Kentucky. The more I have learned about human trafficking, the more I realize that most people may not even realize it is happening.”
Miles stressed the importance of education and awareness.
“With this and other legislation, the attorney general’s staff is conducting phenomenal training across Kentucky and in conjunction with other states. The week after that law went into effect, a KSP trooper called and told me they had made their first arrest under the new law. This law is making our community safer.”
Looking forward, Representative Miles believes Kentucky is on track to be more competitive economically with zero state income tax.
“We have made record investments in education,” noted Miles. “Solid infrastructure, safe communities, business-friendly atmosphere, quality access to education and top-notch healthcare all contribute to a great vision for Owensboro/Daviess County.”
Miles continued, “Personally, it is a tremendous honor, privilege and responsibility to represent the community. My focus is and always has been to find a common ground for the greater good.”
Like others in our community, Rep. Suzanne Miles knows what lies at the heart of Owensboro’s appeal.
“Lots of barbecue and bluegrass music in our future!” said Miles. “And planning for our next big thing, whatever that may be. Owensboro is a community that knows how to honor its heritage while looking to the future, and I’m honored to be a part of that.”