Raised by her Kentucky Community
Kelsey Hayes Coots was born and raised in Owensboro, KY. She is the granddaughter of teachers, and of a Teamster long-haul truck driver. She is the daughter of a hard working father and a strong mother.
Kelsey grew up in basketball gyms all across Western Kentucky, as her grandfather, Adrian Hayes, coached basketball at Owensboro High School for 37 years. She was raised by her Kentucky community.
Her family and community instilled in her values like honesty, compassion, and respect. However, the greatest lesson her family, and her community, taught her was how important it was to show up for others.
Showing Up for Others
Because of this lesson, Kelsey grew up finding ways to show up for others in her communities. Throughout school she took on leadership roles within student organizations and on her sports teams. She volunteered with the Big Brothers and Big Sisters program and ultimately was a student leader at the University of Kentucky. Upon graduating from the University of Kentucky, Kelsey was accepted into the highly competitive program where she began her teaching career teaching 8th grade language arts.
During her time teaching in Houston, she became passionate about fighting educational inequity. On the front lines in the classroom, she saw first hand the impossible odds some families are facing, and how many of society’s systems are broken and leaving too many folks behind.
Ready to Lead
When she moved back to Kentucky and began teaching 8th grade in the Jefferson County Public Schools system, she realized that many of the problems her new students encountered here were the same ones her former students had faced. Kelsey quickly became a leader at school and was selected to lead her team, her department and to sit on the Site Based Decision Making council. In 2018, she was even selected by her peers as Teacher of the Year. Throughout 2018, Kelsey organized Louisville (Zone 3) for KY120United, or 120 Strong. She has stood shoulder to shoulder with teachers and public employees in the fight to defend public pensions and public education from outside special interest groups. This fight confirmed for her that too many of our elected leaders have stopped showing up for everyday Kentuckians.
The Work Continues
Kelsey knows that politics remains filled with too many “leaders” who don’t understand the issues middle class Kentucky families face, are controlled by special interests, and enable a political culture that is toxic. She knows our system is broken and that corruption and inefficiency are a big part of the problem. Kelsey knows that we need more transparency in government – to get better outcomes and to restore trust in our government. In a revenue-strapped state, even one dollar lost to waste, fraud or abuse is too much. Kentuckians deserves to have a passionate watchdog of their taxpayer dollars and Kelsey, an experienced leader and passionate advocate, is ready to be just that.
A growing coalition of teachers, young people, community advocates, citizen leaders and others from across the Commonwealth are joining Kelsey’s campaign. She is building a coalition that is ready to make its voice heard and its presence felt in ending waste, fraud and abuse in Kentucky. Together, this coalition will put us on a path to a Kentucky that works for all.