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Fayette County Urban Council District 4

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    Emma Lee Curtis

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    John Brack Marquette

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    Brenda Monarrez

Biographical Information

What is your professional background, and what makes you the most qualified candidate for the Urban County Council in your District?

What do you see as the highest priority issue facing your district, and how will you address it?

A primary purpose of the Urban Service Boundary is to permit new development within Lexington while safeguarding rural areas. As our population increases, this Boundary is continually challenged by the desire for development and the need for housing and public facilities. How would you protect the balance between urban growth and rural protection and preservation?

Many citizens in the region lack private transportation and rely on accessible, reliable, safe, and affordable public transportation. What measures do you support to meet the needs of a growing population in Lexington, Fayette County and adjacent counties that requires public transportation for jobs, medical care, groceries, and other needs?

Crime rates, including violent crime, are increasing in our community. Some cities address youth crime using trauma-informed systems that go beyond incarceration and attend to the core of violence by providing rehabilitation and support that address mental health and trauma-abuse history. How would you work to build and fund such holistic programs?

Lack of affordable housing and its connection to poverty, crime, poor physical and mental health, and poor educational outcomes is well-documented. In Lexington, thousands of families pay more than 50% of their income on rent, while others live in substandard housing or are homeless. What measures do you support to address affordable housing in the community? 

If elected, how will you make it easier for residents to participate in local government?

Campaign Phone (859)684-0477
Education BA in Film studies, Centre College (Class of 2018)
Campaign Email
I was born in Lexington and have spent my entire adult life here.

I work as an independent filmmaker, an issue-based organizer, and an advocate focused on increasing civic engagement, voter registration, and fairness for all Lexingtonians.

As a young, working class person, I know what it's like to watch my tax dollars go towards policies that make it harder for folks like me to thrive instead of investments in our community that benefit all of us.

This city is my home. Its future is my future. I’m tired of the politics of anger and division putting that future at risk.

That's why I'm running for Council.

I believe that we can and must show up, lead with empathy and compassion, and commit ourselves to building a better, brighter, more sustainable future for the next generation.

I love my neighbors and community in South Lexington. I will always choose people over politics, community over division, and tangible good over empty gestures as the next Councilmember for District 4.
The highest priority issue in our district is improving road safety and reducing traffic. District 4 spans from Nicholasville Road to Tates Creek Road - two of our busiest and most dangerous corridors.

This issue is personal to me. Late last year, my friend Mia was killed when they were hit by a car while crossing Nicholasville Road at a crosswalk during a red light.

On Council, I will work towards innovative solutions that incorporate modern technology and infrastructure to improve traffic flows and make our roads safe for drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians. We must expand upon the Complete Streets Action Plan, invest in infrastructure projects for pedestrian safety and community walkability, and improve access to public transportation.
I opposed the Urban Service Boundary expansion and were I on Council at the time, I would have voted against it.

However, since it is happening, I will work to make sure expansion is handled as thoughtfully, intentionally, and equitably as is possible.

That means increasing our stock of affordable housing, prioritizing road safety, preventing the growth of urban sprawl, and ensuring we don’t repeat the mistakes of the 1996 expansion.

At the same time, I am fully committed to prioritizing infill and redevelopment projects, assessing the status of the thousands of acres of undeveloped and underutilized land within the Urban Service Boundary, reducing pressure on homeowners, and creating a pathway for truly sustainable growth in Lexington.
Lexington’s public transportation system is broken. LexTran needs to be fast, reliable, and affordable. Currently, it's slow, inconsistent, and expensive.

I will work to increase bus frequency, add routes, and invest wisely to ensure that LexTran gets everyone where they need to go at a reasonable pace. Doing so will not only increase access to transportation—it will improve air quality, reduce traffic, and make our roads safer.

Additionally, I support a thorough review and overhaul of our zoning ordinances to ensure we are building safe, walkable, communities where our citizens are able to thrive where they live without having to rely solely on public transportation to have access to medical care, groceries, and other basic necessities.
Violent crime is a public health crisis and it should be treated as such. It cannot be solved solely through increased incarceration or the criminalization of marginalized communities.

The best way we can address this public health crisis at the Council level is to address its underlying causes: poverty, lack of mental health care, and lack of access to economic opportunity. 

I agree with Devine Carama, the Director of One Lexington, when he said that “true prosperity will never be reached until we transition from continuum of care/services to a continuum of opportunity.”

On Council, I’ll work to ensure that we make that transition by engaging community partners to remove barriers and create economic opportunities for our young people, expand our Community Paramedicine Program, offer trauma support to all who are impacted by violent crime, and provide the resources that our communities need to break the cycle of violence.
As a renter, I am experiencing the consequences of our affordable housing crisis firsthand.

Lexingtonians deserve homes they can thrive in at prices they can afford. I will always advocate for policies that prioritize Lexingtonians, not the predatory out-of-state corporations and special-interest groups that are preying on our neighbors.

On Council, I will push to create more emergency housing for those experiencing homelessness, overhaul our zoning ordinances and land-use guidelines, and fight to significantly increase the amount of money allocated to the Affordable Housing Fund.

I also support the creation of an eviction diversion program and guaranteed seats for tenants on the civic boards and commissions directly related to housing.
If we are going to build a thriving and prosperous city for all, we need to make sure that we are actively promoting civic engagement and making our local government accessible to everyone.

On Council, I will work to adjust our meeting schedule so that Council Work Sessions—where the most robust debates about proposed policy occur—take place in the evening when more people are able to attend in person or watch remotely via Lex TV.

I am also fully intent on making myself the most accessible and transparent Councilmember in Lexington. It's why I give my personal cell phone number to the people I meet while canvassing in the 4th District.

I believe that everyone deserves to have their voices heard and I promise to always show up and listen.
Campaign Phone 859-202-0008
Education EDUCATION, LICENSES, ACCREDITATIONS: ABD, Doctoral Studies, Speech Communication and Higher Education Administration, Indiana University, 1977 to 1984 M.A., Speech Communication, Louisiana State University, 1977 B.A. with Honors in Communication, Georgetown College, Georgetown, Kentucky, 1975 Graduate with Honors, Williamstown High School, Williamstown, Kentucky, 1971 Kentucky Graduate School of Banking, 1990 Graduate, Kentucky Institute for Economic Development, 1996 Certificate of Completion, Year One, Economic Development Institute, 1997 Fully Accredited (APR) by the Public Relations Society of America, 1994 Licensed Realtor, State of Kentucky, 1986 to 1992
Campaign Email
1. Extensive prior executive leadership of a state government cabinet including management of budgets, legislation, personnel, policy, public information and more. 2. Served on LFUCG Boards and Commissions. 3. High work energy, innovative approaches, and ability to unite colleagues and move policy decisions forward. 4. Full commitment to public service and advocacy for ALL citizens.
Funding and gaining budget allocations to a. improve inner-neighborhood public transportation b. fully staff our police force and end high vacancy rates and reduced service levels c. eliminate the sewer smell and processing problems at the West Hickman Sewer plant d. support code enforcement staffing
As a trained economic development professional and long-time neighborhood association and historic preservation leader, I know how to lead so that ALL citizens enjoy the benefits IMPROVEMENTS to 1. our exceptional quality of life, 2. quality employment opportunities, 3. quality housing availability and affordability, 4. sustaining our exceptional agricultural/equine economic base while attracting new businesses and investment 5. regional cooperation across the Bluegrass 6. our leadership in the healthcare sector 7. a vibrant and attractive cultural core 8. accommodating growth in ways that make the best use of land already within the USB and carefully planning how and where to place additional, limited expansion
While the 278 page 2022 LexTran Operations Report provides a remarkable amount of data on current operations and customer usage these are areas for which I will be a strong advocate: a. improved inner-neighborhood passenger service b. increased route connection points for travel ease across all routes c. fleet vehicle acquisition to better match actual passenger volumes on routes d, viable route connections to neighboring communities and cities e, improved coordination between large employers and availability of routes serving their employees
Crime deterrence is a complex goal that must be focused neighborhood by neighborhood through every available public and private resource. As a leader with extensive budget management experience I will take a lead in securing funding and looking for how thorough coordination of services across public and private sectors can make best use of our tax dollar allocations. Programs with proven results and fact-based findings and recommendations by deeply experienced advisors will guide my efforts. We are not the only city facing these challenges. To expedite our response, where are the successful initiatives we can learn from and copy? Then, how can we be innovative locally to address needs and reduce crime? Let's invest wisely to realize improvements and results.
I strongly support every fair, just and reasonable option available stemming from thorough citizen input, unbiased fact-finding, and the law. I always have been and will continue to be an uncompromising advocate for equity and human and civil rights. Those principles would guide my consideration of any proposal envisioned by the question above.
There cannot be too much access to voting, public input, transparency, equity, and fairness in government regardless of the level. I strongly support every fair, just and reasonable option available stemming from thorough citizen input, unbiased fact-finding, and the law. I always have been and will continue to be an uncompromising advocate for equity and human and civil rights. Those principles would guide my consideration of any proposal envisioned by the question above.
Education Bachelors in Business Administration: Management, University of Kentucky
Twitter @monarrez4lex
Campaign Email
I am a dedicated, driven leader with varied job experiences that have provided me with a skill set that makes me an effective Councilmember. My long list of accomplishments in just the first year of my first term is a testament to my hard work. I work 10-12 hour days up to 7 days a week and this includes my work on City Council as well as the many hours I volunteer on a weekly basis. Among the titles I've held are: Business Owner, Director of Human Resources, Marketing Manager, Realtor, Business Development Officer (Housing), Operations Manager for a global corporation.
There are two issues equal in needing attention. Crime and traffic. Police officers must receive the support, tools, training, and compensation they need and deserve so they can remain safe as they protect our communities. I'm also committed to funding mental health services, youth services, affordable housing & so much more as these affect crime rates. With regards to traffic, there are too many drivers cutting through our neighborhoods at high speeds. I immediately started making a difference as soon as I took office. I have had edgelines put down, speed tables are imminent, added flashing stop signs, added additional signage, lowered speed limits and there is so much more already on the way to address these concerns for my constituents.
Growth must be well planned and intentional. Maximizing the use of all available land for infill as well as any land added in the imminent expansion is vital. Incentivizing developers to diversify the types of projects to address our housing shortage and make these developments accessible to home buyers when it comes to pricing. There is demand for all housing price points. Planning for services that these new developments need and planning to fund those services is also essential. Realizing the need to make new areas safe for drivers, pedestrians, cyclists, and accessible to public transportation while also being forward thinking with the demand for additional schools and adequate infrastructure.
I like the idea of microtransit. However, more work needs to be done to find a more viable and less costly solution than the options for microtransit that are readily available today. I support making changes to routes and adding new routes that reflect the demand that exists and continues to evolve. We should improve our Wheels service. Lastly, we can collaborate with surrounding counties to develop customized solutions for residents who commute to and from these areas.
Lexington has a wonderful program called One Lexington. The men in that organization go out and have a hands on approach with our young men in Lexington. This organization seeks to partner with community leaders, volunteers and organizations to expand the work they are doing. Continuing to provide grants, as Lexington is doing this year, to fund organizations who do this type of work because One Lexington cannot do it alone. Funding additional personnel, if needed, and continuing to support partnerships who are intentional with this type of work.
I support creative ways of incentivizing developers to create more housing that is affordable. The government has shifted from owning properties to providing housing vouchers and other forms of assistance. Ownership is too costly. Because of this, it is necessary to have programs and partnerships with developers that help them take Lexington's affordable housing needs into account when planning new projects.
I am currently in office and seeking re-election. I have made myself accessible to my constituents and personally address the various issues no matter how big or small. My constituents see how bringing their concerns to my attention leads to actions to resolve those matters. This has increased the number of residents who engage with me because they realize that I truly listen because I care about the issues at hand. I am an intentional, effective and accessible Councilmember. Whether it's an email, phone call, or in person meeting, my constituents feel heard and this has lead to increased participation from my District.