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Alison Grimes and  Ray S. Jones IISecretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes and Sen. Ray S. Jones II will address graduates at commencement ceremonies at the Mountain Arts Center on May 6-7, Big Sandy Community and Technical College President Dr. Devin Stephenson announced.

We are thrilled to have Secretary Grimes and Senator Jones share their message of promise and opportunity with our graduates, said Dr. Stephenson. I am honored that they have accepted our invitations.

Secretary Grimes will speak at 7 p.m. at the Friday, May 6 ceremony. As a successful business attorney in Lexington, Grimes helped businesses open, expand and thrive in Kentucky, allowing them to create jobs and foster economic growth. She also worked with Kentucky institutions such as the Salvation Army, Cardinal Hill Rehabilitation Hospital and Gods Pantry Food Bank, where she serves on the Board of Directors.

As Kentuckys Secretary of State, Grimes has helped modernize and streamline government services to make sure Kentuckys doors truly are open for small businesses. She works with industry leaders to promote Kentucky and embraces bipartisan cooperation to help expand our economy and create jobs. Her efforts, including establishing a one-stop business portal and a uniform business identification number, are helping businesses spend less time interacting with government and more time creating jobs and giving back to their communities.

Grimes has also ushered in new laws that protect the voting rights of victims of domestic violence and absentee voters, maintain the integrity of the democratic process and save counties money in administering elections.

In September 2012, Grimes traveled to the Middle East to meet with deployed soldiers to learn how to improve military voting procedures. Her recommendations received overwhelming bipartisan support and were signed into law in April 2013. The law, Kentucky Heroes Voting Initiative, the first of its kind in the state, will allow military members and their families to register to vote and update their registration online, ensuring that military voters have sufficient time to vote in special elections and extend existing protections to state and local elections and National Guard members.

Grimes is a native of Maysville, Ky. She received a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Rhodes College in Memphis, Tenn., where she served as a trustee to the Board of Directors. She obtained her law degree, graduating with honors, from American University, Washington College of Law, in Washington, D.C.

Sen. Ray S. Jones II will address graduates at a ceremony at 2 p.m. on Saturday, May 7.

Sen. Jones, the Senate Democratic Floor Leader from Pikeville, has represented the 31st Senatorial District since 2001. A graduate of Eastern Kentucky University and the University of Louisville School of Law, he is a former assistant Pike County attorney and past two-term president of the Pike County Bar Association. He is currently a managing partner of Jones PSC, a law firm in Pikeville.

Senator Jones has passed important legislation such as the Blue Alert that creates an emergency alert system to help catch persons suspected of injuring or killing a police officer and legislation that requires convicted sex offenders in Kentucky to disclose their Internet user names or other online identities to the Justice Cabinet. He also has been a leader in the battle against drug abuse and sponsored legislation to help curb the growing prescription drug epidemic in Kentucky. Senator Jones has focused on public education and been a strong advocate for increased funding for secondary and post-secondary education.

He has served on such important Senate committees as Appropriations and Revenue, Transportation, and Judiciary.

Senator Jones and his wife, Dr. Paula Jones, a family physician, have three children, Grayson Nathaniel, Lauren Elizabeth and Lawson Bennett. The Jones family resides in Pikeville.

For more information on commencement ceremonies, contact Jimmy Wright at (606) 886-7347 or email