An Elizabethtown native, Jeff Gregory stood among more than 100 supporters Friday morning — many already wearing “Gregory for Mayor” T-shirts and holding bumper stickers — and made a promise: “We are going to work hard from start to finish.”

The potential path to the Elizabethtown mayor’s office began minutes later as the doors to the Hardin County Government building opened at 8 a.m. Gregory, 43, who began his retirement Tuesday as a Kentucky State Police trooper, signed the official paperwork to enter the race.

Gregory said he has pondered the move for a long time.

“I’ve always had it in the back of my mind of seeking political office,” he said. “I’ve been watching and weighing my options. The way things have evolved in the mayor’s race, this is a good place to jump in.”

Gregory ended his law enforcement career following 4½ years in the Hardin County Sheriff’s Office and serving 17½ years with KSP.

Among those attending Friday to show support for Gregory were current Elizabethtown Mayor Edna Berger, former mayor Pat Durbin, some current and former Elizabethtown council members, 10th District State Sen. Dennis Parrett, former classmates, friends and youngsters he’s coached in athletics.

“He’s a good people-person and he’s smart,” said Durbin, who said she has known Gregory his entire life. “He will listen to people and consider what they are saying, and I know he will always do what is right. ... He’s just a solid person. You can count on him.”

Gregory, who has lived his entire life in Eliza­bethtown, said the city is heading in the right direction and he wants to “build on what our past administrations have done.”

“... We’re all one great big team,” he told supporters. “That’s what I’ve always tried to strive for, whether I played ball or worked for the state police or sheriff’s office, or whatever I was doing, we always relied on each other and I’m glad I can rely on you.”

Gregory, who graduated in 1993 from Eliza­bethtown High School, said he is “honest, loyal, fair and accessible.”

“I’m passionate about our city,” said Gregory, a married father of four. “I love this place and I want to see it prosper and grow.”

Gregory is the second candidate to file for the seat. Financial adviser and businessman Ben LaRue, a native of LaRue County who has lived in Elizabethtown since 1994, filed Nov. 22. The filing deadline for Eliza­beth­town City Council and mayor is Aug. 14.

“I’m not running against an opponent,” Gregory said. “I’m running for the office.”

LaRue said he and Gregory met for the first time last week.

“I understand he’s a nice person and I’m a nice person,” LaRue said. “It should be cordial and discussing the issues.”

The 2018 general election is Nov. 6.

Jeff D’Alessio can be reached at 270-505-1757 or jdalessio@thenewsenterprise.com.

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