In the coming year we have to overcome an economic crisis and budgetary shortfall. As we work to maintain essential operations, I want the city to make strategic investments that keep people employed, healthy, and safe. This means being responsible stewards of our available resources, fulfilling our existing obligations and project commitments, focusing our policies to be more people-centric, and equitably investing for the needs of everyone to create a more fair and sustainable community.
Mayor Gorton and the council have worked hard to devote resources for housing insecure residents in this year’s budget. The next step should be to allocate money supporting local businesses and their employees. If elected, I will work to direct state and federal dollars to a local business fund to provide more options for those at-risk. It is critical that we help residents stay employed and stable for individual well-being and also to benefit the city’s economic foundation and tax base.
There was already a budget shortfall before COVID-19, illustrating the importance of careful tax forecasts. At present, we can create new tax districts and consider a small single-time user fee. I also support participatory budgeting so residents have an increased say in how the LFUCG allocates funds and ensure that costs are distributed equitably. In the future, we should continue to advocate through the legislative delegation for changes in Frankfort to explore future revenue options.
I support redevelopment plans that recognize the character and diversity of neighborhoods, but effective planning cannot function without effective enforcement and implementation. In order to meet the goals of the Comprehensive Plan we need to change our zoning and code enforcement processes to make them consistent and dependable. As councilmember I want to encourage broad community participation so that we can promote infill, sustainable growth, and liveability throughout the district and city.
The city has already taken important steps by creating the Affordable Housing Plan and Trust. If elected I will work to create more diversified, mixed-income, and evolving format housing to serve the growing community need. LFUCG should continue to look for grants, public/private partnerships, and federal subsidies to incentivize affordable housing initiatives. Safe housing is a human right and it is critical to address this issue intelligently and inclusively now to minimize future costs.
Local organizations are the first affected within our economy and service network; they need all the support we can give. Whether by creating a local business fund, leveraging new regional partnerships, or fully funding nonprofits within LFUCG, I support strategic investment and minimizing burdens for local organizations. If elected, I will create policies that promote nonprofits, recommend national service volunteers to build capacity, and direct resources toward local organizations.
As councilmember I want to create policies to eliminate the racial disparity in policing, prioritize early interventions and wrap-around services, and hold those who abuse the public trust to account. I will work with public safety and community partners to address homelessness, addiction, and mental health through shared services rather than first responders. I support increasing transparency and community input for policing so that we can rebuild trust, protect people, and keep Lexington safe.
City government has always focused on public safety, streets and roads, and trash pickup. However because of growing disparities in health, wealth, and safety within our city, I believe we need to make strategic investments in affordable housing, local agriculture, recycling and environmental health, and workforce development. While we can’t fund all of these programs, we can use data-based policies that will ultimately reduce our costs over time, and protect our most vulnerable residents.
Since the shutdown, LFUCG has worked hard to keep the Affordable Housing Fund solvent and provide financial resources for the housing insecure. The next step should be allocating funds to help local businesses and their employees. If elected, I will work to direct state and federal dollars to a local business fund, giving more options for those at-risk. It is also important to maintain basic services like streets, sidewalks, and trash collection so businesses can continue to accommodate clients.
I believe public servants have a responsibility to advocate for rules that facilitate participation, provide quality information, and increase the resiliency of our civic system. Since day 1, my campaign has worked to educate and empower people both young and old regarding the civic process. An informed and active voter base is essential to democracy and I support collaborating with state election officials to share information and promote participation and voting access.
Local agriculture is critical to making our community healthier, minimizing our environmental impact, bolstering our economy, and increasing our resilience to supply chain disruptions. We’ve already seen substantial economic gains due to the local food coordinator position. I will continue to support accommodations for local producers and farmers markets, increase participation and education around food systems and the environment, and promote more connections between producers and consumers.
I believe public transit should be a convenience, not a compromise, but that requires re-evaluating our current system and promoting smart mass transportation. I want to update our transportation plan to build bike/ped infrastructure, reduce traffic in residential areas, generate options for alternative transit, and increase liveability. We should also consider limiting new development in high-traffic areas, creating commuter routes, and promoting rideshare programs.
COVID-19 has exacerbated the disparities within our community and as leaders, we need to engage residents and incorporate their feedback. We should use technology to gather widespread community input, update council protocol to screen and accept comments from those who can’t attend, and solicit more participation throughout the council cycle. In my campaign and my service on the board of Civic Lex I have worked to promote civic engagement and if elected I will continue that work at city hall.
We can take meaningful steps to reduce structural racism in several ways including:
Create sunshine policies within LFUCG for transparency to ensure that all residents are treated fairly, regardless of ethnicity or orientation
Community-led review groups for local government agencies
Expand partnerships with organizations like the Urban League, KCTC, & Workforce Development to provide education, job training, and affordable housing to assist those who have suffered from discrimination
Growth. The 3rd District feels the brunt of Lexington’s growth. And with growth comes disparity. From affordable housing and spatial inequality to preserving older neighborhoods' identities, while addressing economic segregation in neighborhoods and schools, each decision around growth must be seen through a SMART and EQUITABLE prism. I believe we can take care of current residents and welcome new neighbors. I will always prioritize working to make sure ALL of our city’s population is served.
Growth is only sustainable when it is done with an equitable framework in mind. I am committed to advocating for initiatives that help decrease economic disparity while listening to all perspectives before making decisions surrounding growth and development. I will work to bring ALL voices to the table to hear each perspective on growth in order to champion initiatives that mitigate economic and racial inequality.
COVID-19 has shown the importance of diversifying revenue streams. I will explore many options to balance revenue with spending needs, such as restructuring the taxation system so the bulk of revenue is not coming from one source; renegotiating state agreements and contracts to give equity across government organizations; and examining public safety funds to find ways some departments could contract directly with organizations whose services they rely upon, such as Arbor Youth and GreenHouse17.
I support the goals in the plan that focus on “building-up” instead of “out.” One of my top priorities is ensuring that conversation is geared toward smart, equitable growth. A challenge is incorporating the neighbors into the early stages of development to avoid the long, expensive process of defending their neighborhoods. The key to solving this challenge is through community engagement, collaboration, and listening––approaches that will drive all my decision-making as a councilmember.
Safe, adequate, and affordable housing is a cornerstone of a just and equitable community. Fully funding the Affordable Housing Fund is the No.1 policy to pass. Forging creative partnerships with mission-driven organizations maximizes the efficiency of current resources. I support the impactful use of our city’s vacant land to secure long-term housing solutions. We must ensure our city’s growth is self-sustaining, accessible to all, and considerate of neighborhood identity and culture.
The interplay between citizens, business owners, nonprofits, and the government has never been more important. Lexington’s greatest asset is our people. Listening directly to the business owners and nonprofit directors as we move into this phase of recovery will strengthen those relationships. The city has a responsibility to make sure that data about our local economic recovery efforts is looked at with an equitable framework, to confirm aid is not being distributed disproportionately.
Accountability and transparency among government entities are critical to build a safe, trusting community. Changes to the LPD’s collective bargaining agreement, such as forming a disciplinary citizen review board for police and banning officers from removing past disciplinary actions from personnel files, will help. We also must strive to hire officers who reflect the communities they serve, by race and gender. Faith and trust in our officers, in those who protect and serve, make us ALL safer.
Funding the Affordable Housing Fund and making it a permanent line item in our budget is the #1 policy that needs to pass. Second, all our workers deserve to make a wage that commensurate with our cost of living. While this is tied up in Frankfort, Lexington could lead by example and pay a living wage to all city employees--even part-time. It’s our everyday people who make up this community that inspires me to fight for a unified Lexington. My heart is with the people. That’s why I’m running.
Investing in education & closing the “achievement gap,” which I prefer to call the opportunity gap, is essential to a strong economy.
Added assistance to businesses that are more vulnerable due to structural inequalities. It’s important to make sure they are seen & receive needed resources.
Work with economic entities to develop & sustainably grow the great community of Lexington businesses so they can hire more people – and pay them more – is just as important to bringing in more revenue.
I will appoint an advisory committee to aid the County Clerk in gathering citizen input from the community. The committee would include 12 citizens, each representing the district where they live, their council member, and an at-large member to oversee. The committee would offer a series of digital public meetings & public educational opportunities in each district to solicit public input. An online survey will be available for additional input or a printed survey sent by mail if requested.
Fewer hungry mouths in Lexington will always be my top priority when it comes to agriculture and food systems. As a councilmember, I will bring together local farmers and community members to develop a sustainable system that incentivizes an increase in food production being allocated to those who need it the most. I also would like to help create economic programs that foster new ag-tech research and development in Lexington, as well as attract existing ag-tech companies to our city.
Our streets were designed for the hurried driver. Instead they should be envisioned as public spaces everybody has a right to use. The lack of multimodal convenience is one reason I support public transportation and transit-oriented development. The only agency Council has over Lextran is their budget, which I will scrutinize. However, I will support new Lextran initiatives that diversify their vehicles to entice drivers to keep their cars at home and attract new riders with different options.
I was in the meeting overrun by racists. What our councilmembers endured--CMs James Brown and Angela Evans, the only two Black members on the council, were specifically targeted--was appalling. I believe that voices need to be heard and have a direct impact on council decisions. I am mindful of how traumatic comments can be, especially when those spewing hate are clothed in anonymity. It makes sense to update our current technology to allow for prescreening of those signed up for public comments
I will always listen to and follow the lead of those most directly impacted by racial inequality. To that end, as a councilmember, I will support the NAACP and local Black faith leaders' stipulations that Lexington has 15% minority representation in city contracts. The current Commission for Racial Justice & Equality must be a permanent government department with a direct revenue stream to help develop and track equity-related metrics. Such data will identify where the city is failing BIPOC.