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2020 Primary Voter Election Guide

CivicLex and Fayette Alliance have partnered with ten local community organizations to provide a voter information center for the upcoming 2020 elections in Lexington-Fayette County, available online at Lex.Vote. This primary voter center includes a ballot generator based on address, an eleven-question candidate questionnaire distributed to the primary LFUCG Council candidates, and a guide to absentee voting on June 23, 2020.

Visit Lex.Vote

Learn More About Our Council Primaries

Only Districts 3 & 9 have primaries. All other district candidate surveys will be available during the general election.

We collectively wrote this questionnaire with eleven community partners to ask City Council candidates to address major issues impacting Lexington that can be affected by Council decisions.


JUMP TO CANDIDATE:

District 3: 

Hannah LeGris / Jessica Mohler / Charles Smith / Christine Stanley

District 9:

Whitney Baxter / Willy Fogle / Jacob Glancy / Colby Khoshreza

JUMP TO TOPIC:

 

District Major Issue / Budget Shortfalls / Urban Growth / Housing Costs / COVID Recovery / Public Safety
Social Services / The Economy / Voting / Agriculture / Transportation / Public Participation

1. What do you see as the single most important issue facing your district?

District 3 Candidate Responses:

  • Hannah LeGris- The most important issue in our district is the same one affecting the entire nation. We will need to overcome a huge economic crisis and budgetary shortfall. Much of our work must focus on maintaining essential operations, but it is imperative we protect the investments and gains already made toward creating a more vibrant and sustainable city. That means being responsible stewards of our available resources, people-centric policies, and mindfully investing for the needs of everyone.
  • Jessica Mohler- Growth. The 3rd District feels a great brunt of Lexington’s growth, and as our city grows, so does the economic inequality. The racial wealth gap is widening. Neighborhoods are at risk of losing their character. From affordable housing and spatial inequality, to historic preservation and the economic segregation of our neighborhoods, schools, and school districts, it is more important than ever that we approach every decision surrounding growth in a way that is both SMART and EQUITABLE.
  • Charles Smith- The economic downturn is of particular concern to the 3rd district because of the many downtown projects still to be completed.
    Once finished, downtown activities will become more diversified, much more inviting and will enrich the lives of all residents.
    The opening of these projects will breathe new life into the local economy, tourism will increase, downtown’s appeal will be renewed, Lexington will be energized and businesses reinvigorated. I support the completion of these projects.
  • Christine Stanley- The most important issue facing the citizens in my council district is incentivizing developers to develop in this area while upholding parts of the comprehensive plan that seek to preserve and enhance existing established neighborhoods.

District 9 Candidate Responses:

  • Whitney Elliott Baxter- Traffic in the 9th District is a huge concern of mine, especially regarding the areas around our schools. In my opinion, the most critical areas are Clays Mill Road at Jessie Clark Middle School, Wellington Way at Wellington Elementary, and Nicholasville Road between the Jessamine County line and New Circle Road.
  • Willy Fogle- Public safety concerns. People should feel and be safe where they live, work, and play. It is exceedingly difficult to attract businesses, home buyers or other investors to cities and neighborhoods that have significant crime or that are perceived as being unsafe. But neighborhood safety is about more than just the absence of crime. It is also about the opportunity for residents to build relationships with each other, enjoy vibrant public spaces, and have a shared trust with the government.
  • Jacob Glancy- Did Not Respond
  • Colby Khoshreza- The most important issue in the 9th district is the safety and wellbeing of the citizens in our neighborhoods.

What is your plan to address this issue?

District 3 Candidate Responses:

  • Hannah LeGris- This is an incredibly challenging time for our city, with no easy answers. It’s critical to support our residents, maintain the necessary functions of government, and avail ourselves of every resource to minimize the impacts from COVID-19. The city’s finances are constrained by the state constitution but there are opportunities to create new taxable districts or user fees that may alleviate some of the city’s burden. I will help plan responsibly to ensure that any expenses are shared equitably.
  • Jessica Mohler- 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; to listening to all perspectives before making decisions surrounding growth and development; and to ensuring that the voices of the most vulnerable––whose needs are often ignored––are brought to the table. Compassion and LISTENING will always inform my decisions, and I will always fight for the best interest of our residents.
  • Charles Smith- Previous councils have struggled with making Lexington’s revenues less dependent on payroll taxes and net profit taxes on businesses.
    The pandemic gives us a chance to think about other options for the budget.
    Local sales tax on restaurant sales might be a future option. An increased city tax on insurance or raising the payroll tax have been mentioned.
    I have proposed a citizens’ fee to help cover the deficit in the short term, and to allow revenue for other projects in the future.
  • Christine Stanley- I will give my voice to support of polices that would modify land development ordinances and zoning ordinances that would protect these neighborhoods from infill that disregards our own comp plan. Additionally, I will work with neighborhood associations to identify what we need to do to improve stability, home ownership, property values, and protect significant views in their community.

District 9 Candidate Responses:

  • Whitney Elliott Baxter- To address our students’ safety, I would propose new crosswalks and signals be installed in the school zones of Jessie Clark Middle School and Wellington Elementary School. Specifically, I would recommend the installation of notification signals similar to those around Rosa Parks Elementary. Additionally, I will continue to support and be very passionate about the Imagine Nicholasville Road project. This is valuable resource to gather input from a multitude of sources.
  • Willy Fogle- If elected, I will seek to serve on the Planning and Public Safety Committee where you have a more involved focus on Lexington’s public safety situation. In addition, I will request to meet on a recurring basis with Lexington’s Chief of Police, Fire Chief, Director of Community Corrections, and the City’s Commissioner of Public Safety to ensure an open line of communication. I will also meet with neighborhood leaders, the Fayette County Neighborhood Council and constituents on an ongoing basis.
  • Jacob Glancy- Did Not Respond
  • Colby Khoshreza- As property crime seems to be on the rise, we need to be more vigilant in maintaining safe neighborhoods. We must continue strong funding for our public safety division. I am a supporter of a consistent level of funding for safety so that police officers and firefighters have adequate resources and manpower. I am committed to fostering relationships and communication between neighborhood associations and police; hosting frequent district-wide forums that educate citizens on crime prevention tips; and establishing and supporting neighborhood crime watch programs.

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2. In recent years Lexington’s budget obligations have outpaced its ability to generate revenue. In the FY 20/21 budget, this has dramatically impacted everything from economic development to social services. What strategies do you recommend to address revenue shortages while balancing spending priorities?

District 3 Candidate Responses:

  • Hannah LeGris- There was already a budget shortfall before the onset of COVID-19, illustrating the importance of predictive tax models and forecasts. We must continue to advocate for change in Frankfort but currently there are only a few options to address the shortages: raising taxes and cutting expenses. It is imperative to maintain our city’s financial health while considering the costs of our decisions. I support participatory budgeting to ensure that people have an increased say in how we allocate funds.
  • Jessica Mohler- The majority of Lexington’s revenue comes from one source (payroll taxes), and COVID-19 has highlighted the importance of diversifying revenue streams. I’d explore restructuring the taxation system; renegotiating state agreements & contracts to give equity across gov’t organizations; looking closely at our public safety funds to explore ways specific departments could contract directly with orgs whose services they rely upon, such as Arbor Youth and GreenHouse17. Nothing should be off the table.
  • Charles Smith- There are great opportunities during these difficult days to rethink some of our ways of doing things and to come up with new ideas and solutions.
    I propose levying a citizens’ fee that would be equally charged for each resident of Fayette County older than the age of 21. As an example, a universal $10 per month fee could raise close to $30 million.
    The increased revenue would aid in the current shortfall and, as the economy improves, be a way to fund some wish list items.
  • Christine Stanley- I support revising pricing models for city services and fines. For example, fines for speeding would be linked to the income of violators and how much over the speed limit they were traveling when caught. I would also propose we implement higher fees for faster processing times for any paper-based transactions or services, such as business licensing fees, construction permits, or land registration fees. Additionally, I would propose we optimize collections and audit processes to increase collect

District 9 Candidate Responses:

  • Whitney Elliott Baxter- The first thing we must do is take a hard look at what financial obligations we must fund as areas of actual need versus what we would like to do as a city. We must cut extraneous expenses and we must make common sense choices on where our money should be spent.
  • Willy Fogle- Due to the budget shortfall Lexington faces, I believe an “everything is on the table” strategy has to be the approach. Every dollar spent must be scrutinized like never before. Our city is overly reliant on its occupational taxes, which limits revenue growth potential. I am proud of the nickname I earned years ago, “Frugal Fogle.” That is my personal approach. I believe that if the expenditure is not absolutely essential in times like this, do not propose nor approve it.
  • Jacob Glancy- Did Not Respond
  • Colby Khoshreza- The top priorities for city spending should be (in order of importance): public safety, essential services (streets, garbage, sewers, etc.), and providing services to at-risk populations. I generally do not support revenue increases through taxation. The city should take every opportunity to re-visit budgetary items in order to bring spending in line with existing revenue.

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3. Lexington’s 2018 Comprehensive Plan encourages infill and redevelopment as Lexington’s main growth strategy. What specific implementation aspects of the Comprehensive Plan are working and what challenges need to be addressed?

District 3 Candidate Responses:

  • Hannah LeGris- I support redevelopment plans that recognize the character and diversity of neighborhoods, bringing residents into the conversation for sustainable infill practices. The Comprehensive Plan is a well-researched document, but without broad participation and careful implementation it can result in short-sighted practices. I want to promote development without displacement and if elected I will advocate for inclusion, liveability, and sustainability by emphasizing responsible growth.
  • Jessica Mohler- I support the goals in the plan that focus on “building-up” instead of “out.” One of my top priorities is ensuring that the conversation is geared toward smart, equitable growth. A challenge is incorporating the neighbors into the early stages of development plans 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 councilmember.
  • Charles Smith- I am an avid proponent of building up and not out.
    I think the aspect of the Comprehensive Plan that’s working is its flexibility. I think, also, that’s one of the plan’s challenges.
    That conflict was evident at a recent zone-change hearing for an apartment building on Maxwell Street. A Herald-Leader editorial pointed out that the planning process costs time, money and creates confusion.
    There’s no way to stop Lexington from becoming denser, but the increased density must be managed.
  • Christine Stanley- The comprehensive plans promotes development on commercial corridors, but developers have time and again focus their attention on existing residential neighborhoods. To incentivize developers to actually develop in the commercial sectors that are in desperate need of densification I would modify land use development ordinances and zoning ordinances in order to uphold the other parts of the comprehensive plan that seek to preserve and enhance existing established neighborhoods.

District 9 Candidate Responses:

  • Whitney Elliott Baxter- I think Imagine Lexington and On The Table hosting highly attended events show the citizens of Lexington want their voice to be heard. Continuing to promote community involvement is important. However, we must hold developers accountable to take care of the precious acres we have committed to infill and redevelopment. We cannot afford to have projects started and not completed.
  • Willy Fogle- I fully support the Comp Plan which is updated every five years for setting the direction for our future growth and development. It provides a planning road map for regulating growth, development, and redevelopment. It is imperative that we continue to address our future land use needs sensibly and deliberately. Now is the time to monitor the impact of the 2018 plan, learn from it, and make adjustments as applicable for the next Comp Plan. Community feedback is essential.
  • Jacob Glancy- Did Not Respond
  • Colby Khoshreza- The Plan continues to successfully protect the farms surrounding Fayette County. It is important, as we continue to promote infill and redevelopment, that we engage district residents regarding new developments that impact them. This will require communicating new developments with neighborhoods; holding forums for community input with all stakeholders; supporting developers while requiring them to produce quality infill and redevelopment projects; and advocating for neighborhood interests.

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4. Lexington faces challenges across districts with regard to housing affordability, diversity and accessibility. What is the City’s role in addressing affordable housing and how would you recommend prioritizing policy change to address these challenges?

District 3 Candidate Responses:

  • Hannah LeGris- The city has already taken important steps like creating an 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.
  • Jessica Mohler-Affordable housing is not a problem that Council alone can solve. Forging creative partnerships with mission-driven organizations with our underserved at heart will maximize the efficiency of current resources. Fully funding the Affordable Housing Fund—a necessary building block in the creation of an equitable framework—has been a priority of my platform since day one. My compassionate perspective will ensure that together, we will flourish.
  • Charles Smith- The city plays a huge role, along with other partners, in addressing affordable housing issues.
    Throughout downtown there are acres of vacant property and parking lots. Many of these are owned by the city. The city needs to encourage building on these underutilized properties. And, of those projects that include housing, a certain percentage should be affordable housing.
    Policy changes should be prioritized with the help of those community housing partners to reach the most vulnerable first.
  • Christine Stanley- The City’s role is to ensure that’s its citizens are given a fair chance to their human right to housing. We can strengthen the Lexington Affordable Housing Trust and state that any housing policy in Lexington must include further measures to combat gentrification. Additionally, we can incentivize construction of more affordable housing stock, expand of tenants’ rights, and limit the amount that can be charged for a security deposit and limit credit and background checks time periods.

District 9 Candidate Responses:

  • Whitney Elliott Baxter- As affordable housing and shortages continue to plague our city, we must consider many different types of housing options for our community. We should consider all zoning options for specific housing proposals and continue to offer incentives to builders and developers who offer housing to citizens of varying levels of income.
  • Willy Fogle- Lexington’s Office of Affordable Housing, created in 2014, was created to help create affordable housing in our community and has made significant strides in that respect. I will support the effort and the Affordable Housing Fund that provides safe, quality, affordable housing. Too many people in our community continue to face a housing cost burden so much work remains to be done. Council must ensure the administration and management of the program is where it should be for continued success.
  • Jacob Glancy- Did Not Respond
  • Colby Khoshreza- The city’s role in guiding housing access is key to ensuring that citizens are healthy and safe. Lexington should continue to look for ways to increase affordable housing while ensuring the integrity and stability of existing neighborhoods. I support funding the Affordable Housing Trust Fund to incentivize developers to create affordable housing options. We must also increase housing diversity by remaining open to different types of developments.

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5. The impact of COVID-19 on local businesses and non-profits will be significant and long lasting. What will you do as a council member to support their recovery and foster their resilience?

District 3 Candidate Responses:

  • Hannah LeGris- Local organizations are often first affected within our economy and service network; they need all the support we can give. Whether by encouraging local shopping, leveraging new regional partnerships, or looking for points of connection in existing relationships, I support strategic investment and easing restrictions for local businesses. I will help create policies that direct people toward local organizations, spotlight nonprofits, and advocate for national service volunteers like AmeriCorps.
  • Jessica Mohler- Balancing the budget shortfall with the need to support our businesses and nonprofits will require outside-the-box ideas, great communication and a deep understanding of the interplay between our city’s businesses, needs and services. My background in communications, fundraising and nonprofits equips me to approach this conundrum by fostering creative local fundraising options; providing tools for business owners and nonprofit directors seeking relief; and exploring other creative approaches.
  • Charles Smith- The impact of the virus could be a catalyst to change government.
    A recent plan to allow restaurants to use more sidewalk space, and even portions of the roadway, to create social distancing seating for their customers is a great idea.
    So is the mayor’s recently convened COVID-19 response committee designed to create a plan for reopening Lexington.
    The city needs to continue this kind of work by partnering with Commerce Lexington, non-profit executives and others to mobilize our resources.
  • Christine Stanley- The proposal eliminates the previous $2.1 million budget for the extended social resource programs, as part of the elimination of a broader $6 million fund for grants to nonprofits. We must commit to fund 50% of grant requests in the Community Wellness & Safety, and Shelter priority areas to protect homeless youth, domestic violence victims, and those whose health is at risk. Safe, healthy and housed residents will support local business ten-fold when they aren’t worried about their basic needs.

District 9 Candidate Responses:

  • Whitney Elliott Baxter- As council members and as members of this community, it is our responsibility to step up and support our neighbors. I would encourage the citizens of Lexington to pledge to shop local during this time and I will support the non-profit donation matching programs proposed in our budget if they prove fiscally responsible.
  • Willy Fogle- A public-private partnership will be one way to achieve recovery. Government cannot do it alone. We need to develop a recovery road map as part of a comprehensive recovery strategy and then get the resources quickly into the hands of those impacted. If we fail to do so, we will face liquidity challenges, further job loss, and stagnation. For businesses and nonprofits to be able to survive, especially small and medium enterprises, they will need our full community support.
  • Jacob Glancy- Did Not Respond
  • Colby Khoshreza- Lexington must continue to be supportive of local businesses and non-profits during this time of economic recovery. In the short term, the Council should look to restore partial funding to key non-profits that provide emergency services to our at-risk populations. Going forward we should partner with Commerce Lexington and other agencies to develop a Local Lexington campaign that promotes and drives customers to local businesses in Fayette County.

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6. Over half of the city budget’s General Fund is allocated to public safety, yet those needs are different in each district. How will you address the specific public safety needs of your district while ensuring that those services are responsive to and effective for the community as a whole?

District 3 Candidate Responses:

  • Hannah LeGris- Issues like crime, fires, and community health don’t always stop at district lines, which is why it’s important to create policies that address the root causes of public safety concerns. Minority groups continue to have more challenging relationships with public safety services than their white counterparts. If elected I will continue the important work of connecting people with first responders, building trust, and providing equitable resources and support to ensure the safety of our residents.
  • Jessica Mohler- Between UK, downtown and dense neighborhoods, the 3rd District sees a lot of crime that can be traced to root problems such as homelessness, addiction & mental illness. I will advocate for harm-reduction approaches for our neighbors battling addiction & encourage permanent supportive housing models to help resolve root issues, while working to make the 3rd safe for all. I’ll also explore creative ways to approach our public safety contracts to ensure that we are maximizing that funding.
  • Charles Smith- The 3rd district includes downtown, UK, and many unique neighborhoods.
    Despite that, the specific safety needs of the 3rd district are not that different from the community as a whole – except for an occasional Final Four or large downtown event.
    Public safety personnel seem to be very responsive and proactive with their outreach into all of the County. Programs are in place to target specific needs within our community such as neighborhood policing units and outreach programs in our schools.
  • Christine Stanley- By engaging the community and drafting policies that are designed to meet the wide variety of specific challenges a neighborhood might face, while alleviating individual concerns. The use of technology and the ability to collect and understand traffic, parking and safety data will improve how cities provide services and protect their citizens. Most of the public safety issues that our residents face relate to pedestrian and cyclist safety so our streets need to adjust for all modes of transport.

District 9 Candidate Responses:

  • Whitney Elliott Baxter- The 9th District has a specific issue with car and home break-ins. We have a responsibility to be vigilant and protect ourselves as much as possible. We need to encourage neighborhood watch efforts and promote resident education on what steps we can take to protect ourselves. Education seminars and neighborhood forums are a great way to gather residents and local officials to discuss these topics and open the lines of communication. Together we can make Lexington a safer community.
  • Willy Fogle- Frequent communication with neighborhood leaders and constituents are essential to determining specific needs. Whether it be a “town hall” type meeting or one-to-one meeting, I will strive to keep the lines of communication open with constituents to best understand the needs and concerns of the district. As I noted previously, I will also seek to serve on the Council’s Public Safety Committee to better monitor our community’s needs and issues.
  • Jacob Glancy- Did Not Respond
  • Colby Khoshreza- We must continue strong funding for our public safety agencies. I am a supporter of a consistent level of funding for safety so that police officers and firefighters have adequate resources and manpower. Ongoing communication, attending neighborhood meetings, fostering relationships between neighborhoods and police, advocating for more frequent police patrols, and hosting frequent district-wide meetings will help educate and drive our district’s response to neighborhood crime.

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7. Revenue shortfalls have made it difficult for the city to continue supporting external social resource agencies at a time when they are needed most. What specific city-level policies do you support to ensure that every resident has access to a basic quality of life?

District 3 Candidate Responses:

  • Hannah LeGris- City government has always focused on public safety, streets and roads, and trash pickup. During this period we must include public health and economic stability. However to meet the challenges of our society we must address pervasive concerns like affordable housing, healthy food access, recycling and environmental health, and workforce development. If elected I will build partnerships and work within our means to confront these larger issues and advocate for a higher quality of life for all.
  • Jessica Mohler- 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 is 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 inspire me to fight for a unified Lexington. My heart is with the people. That’s why I’m running.
  • Charles Smith- The city needs more stable revenue sources.
    I recently read a report that says disasters can bring about growth of goodwill and community spirit. The city needs to tap into that sentiment and create ideas that will be beneficial to those underserved in next year’s budget.
    Ensuring that every resident has access to a basic quality of life is the on-going work of the city.
    Foundations and private philanthropists should be called upon to step up until Lexington can get the economy back to normal.
  • Christine Stanley- By addressing racial inequality and supporting racial justice for Black people, indigenous people, Latinx people, immigrants, those who are undocumented and all people of color by engaging individuals, community leaders and organizations in developing specific strategies, programs and policies that explicitly address institutional racism and to expand opportunity and access for individuals by strengthening outreach, public engagement, and access to City services. PLANT MORE TREES

District 9 Candidate Responses:

  • Whitney Elliott Baxter- Every human deserves the right to food, shelter, and public safety. Even though the proposed budget for ESRs has been depleted, I feel we really need to concentrate on what we can still provide regarding homelessness, affordable housing, and food security. Our budget will not change as far as public safety is concerned and that we can be thankful for.
  • Willy Fogle- We are in a time of uncharted waters. The Mayor and Council have not even formalized the next budget at this point. The situation is understandably very fluid. It would be premature to advocate for current policies at this juncture that may not be in existence when the next City Council is sworn-in in 2021. If elected, I will strive to review any proposed policy changes thoroughly that come before the Council and revisit any recent policy changes that appear to be detrimental to our community.
  • Jacob Glancy- Did Not Respond
  • Colby Khoshreza- Lexington has an obligation to create a safe and healthy community for all people. We must remain dedicated to partnering with agencies that aid residents who need it the most. First, I support a consistent level of funding to the Office of Homelessness. Second, I pledge to support ongoing funding to the Affordable Housing Trust Fund. Finally, I would also advocate for funding our social service grants for non-profits that provide emergency relief to at-risk populations.

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8. Lexington’s tax revenue base is dependent on a thriving and sustainable local economy. What are your top three priorities for helping the city promote and support economic development?

District 3 Candidate Responses:

  • Hannah LeGris- Our top economic priority must be assisting the survival and recovery of existing local businesses. Any federal relief funds we receive should be directed accordingly. We should keep existing projects like the Civic Center on track and refocus our efforts to bring new business to the city. I support strengthening relationships with large employers like UK while working with the legislative delegation to increase options for revenue generation, job creation, and continued growth in the Bluegrass.
  • Jessica Mohler- Investing in education and 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.
    Working with economic entities to develop and sustainably grow the great community of Lexington businesses so they can hire more people – and pay them more – is just as important to bring in more revenue
  • Charles Smith- There are many on-going projects that will update and enhance downtown. They need to be completed for us to reach our potential.
    Other priorities include better signage, an improved transportation system that will reduce our carbon footprint and tourism promotions to attract out of town visitors.
    Since the LFUCG – UK land swap, Coldstream Research Park is capable of generating lots of good paying jobs. Collaboration between the city and UK is important to attracting those jobs to Lexington.
  • Christine Stanley- Investments in housing infrastructure strengthen Lexington’s long-term fiscal health. We can fund social services through a combination of additional budget savings, and updating taxes and fees. Additionally, I repeat others’ calls to our statewide leaders in Frankfort to advance a state Constitutional Amendment to give localities like Lexington more revenue options.

District 9 Candidate Responses:

  • Whitney Elliott Baxter- 1. We must open our economy for business.
    2. We must address affordable housing and housing shortages.
    3. We must continue to promote Lexington as the tourism hub of The Bluegrass.
  • Willy Fogle- 1. Work with Commerce Lexington as applicable.
    2. Fully support Lexington’s current Jobs Fund program.
    3. Seek the ongoing input of the U.K. College of Business and Economics.
  • Jacob Glancy- Did Not Respond
  • Colby Khoshreza- We must routinely evaluate and retool our economic approach to attracting and retaining high paying jobs in our city. My top priorities include continued partnerships with educational institutions to meet gaps in our local workforce; leveraging and finding new opportunities around our core economic bases of horses, healthcare, higher education, and high-tech sectors; and expanding our tourism efforts to better promote our iconic Bluegrass region, our horse farms, and local distilleries.

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9. In light of the COVID-19 crisis and new voting regulations, what can you do as a council member to improve voting access, education, and security?

District 3 Candidate Responses:

  • Hannah LeGris- Having an informed and active voter base is essential to democracy. I support increased collaboration with state election officials to share information and promote voting access. In this election and beyond I will continue promoting civic participation among young people and working to improve voting access for constituents. We have a responsibility to advocate for systems that facilitate participation, provide quality candidate information, and increase the resiliency of our election system.
  • Jessica Mohler- Improving voting access is a priority of my campaign. I believe in the power of civic engagement to create a more equitable, fair and just society. I am pleased with the nonpartisan decision to expand voting by mail and early voting options. I created a page on my website (JessicaForDistrict3.com) highlighting the new information. Equalizing voter turnout is essential to our democracy. That is also why I support restoring voting rights to former felons. I believe in power for all the people.
  • Charles Smith- Kentucky law mandates what takes place with voting regulations: the governor’s new executive order set the guidelines for June’s primary.
    As a council member, I would follow those regulations, ensuring that voting access, education and security are a priority.
    The Fayette County Board of Elections does a good job of running our elections.
    And I support organizations such as the League of Women Voters of Lexington that advocate for voting rights and encourage informed participation by voters.
  • Christine Stanley- I generally support vote-by-mail initiatives, in addition to implementing automatic voter registration, eliminating ex-offender disenfranchisement laws, making Election Day and primaries local holidays, strengthen civics education in schools, and investing in integrated voter engagement and outreach.

District 9 Candidate Responses:

  • Whitney Elliott Baxter- Ensuring our residents are educated on the deadlines and processes of our new voting methods is priority. We will have to address security of any new voting process, but I think if we educate our community effectively on any change we encounter, we will see a successful outcome. This could pave the way for extended absentee or alternative voting measures, which may lend itself to increased voter turnout in the future. We cannot forget the privilege and importance of the vote.
  • Willy Fogle- The Council has limited options with respect to the logistics of voting other than educating constituents about the plans in place. I would support continued funding of the County Clerks Office as applicable similar to the new and improved voting machines budgeted last year. I would also welcome hearing of any voting issues or concerns that arise in our city. Everyone must do their part to ensure voting is easily accessible and that we have the most secure and trusted procedure possible.
  • Jacob Glancy- Did Not Respond
  • Colby Khoshreza- Voting access and education is crucial – especially as we move towards mail-in absentee ballots. We must do frequent and clear promotions through all media types to educate the public on how to request a ballot and the associated deadlines for submission. The Council should continue to provide the needed funding to the elections department of the Fayette County Clerk so they have the appropriate level of staffing and resources to protect and secure the mail-in voting ballots.

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10. The agricultural sector has a $2.3B economic impact on Fayette County, accounting for over $8.5M of the city’s payroll revenue. It is poised to grow with the support of Mayor Gorton’s Administration for making Fayette County a center for ag-tech. As a councilmember, what are your priorities for the agriculture and food system economy?

District 3 Candidate Responses:

  • Hannah LeGris- 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 large 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 direct connections between producers and consumers.
  • Jessica Mohler- Fewer hungry mouths in Lexington will always be my top priority when it comes to agriculture and food systems. As a councilmember, I will strive to bring together local farmers and community members to develop a sustainable system that incentivizes an increase in food production is allocated to those that 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.
  • Charles Smith- At the 2019 ONE: Alltech Ideas Conference, speakers discussed Lexington’s assets that make it ideal for an ag-tech center.
    My priorities for the agriculture and food-system economy include diversity and a willingness to innovate.
    The PDR program has been great for Lexington at both protecting land for agricultural purposes, but also helping to make Lexington a tourist destination. UK’s decision to use more locally sourced food for its dining service is a great example of what can be happen.
  • Christine Stanley- Work with the many experts within the food system – including Cooperative Extension agents, Soil & Water Conservation District staff & boards, planners, developers, and community groups – to promote a sustainable food system within the city. There are multiple options for flexible local ordinances and incentives; more community gardens, urban agriculture, mobile markets, expanding local food supply chain infrastructure, agritourism, microlending & access to capital for food related businesses.

District 9 Candidate Responses:

  • Whitney Elliott Baxter- I am happy to see such support from the Mayor’s administration and think we should continue to encourage conversations between local farmers, restaurant owners, and city officials. We have all the resources we need to be an industry leader, we just need to streamline processes and build resilient programs to continue on the path to being the center for ag-tech. Continuing to support Farms to Food Banks, Farmers Markets, & Kentucky Proud will only further our position in the agricultural sector.
  • Willy Fogle- Ag-tech is a burgeoning industry and we are well positioned to capitalize. My priority would be to support an effort to attract innovative startups in the Ag-tech space. Unfortunately, in today’s tough economic climate, farmers may be more hesitant than ever to deploy new technologies. We must proceed cautiously. The establishment of a local food coordinator and Bluegrass Farm to Table program were smart moves and I will certainly support this ongoing effort as economic development.
  • Jacob Glancy- Did Not Respond
  • Colby Khoshreza- I will be a strong supporter of preserving our horse farms and agricultural economy. Our local food coordinator has been critical to jumpstarting our efforts to grow and sustain our local food economy. Going forward we must ensure careful maintenance of the urban boundary, continued funding for the purchase of development rights program (PDR), and support of local food initiatives including the Bluegrass Farm to Table Program which connect local farmers with retailers and food suppliers.

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11. Well-planned infrastructure strengthens communities, boosts local economies, expands opportunity, and promotes equitable development. What policies would you support to achieve a more accessible, efficient, and sustainable transportation system in Lexington and the Bluegrass region?

District 3 Candidate Responses:

  • Hannah LeGris- I believe public transit should be a convenience, not a compromise, but that requires re-evaluating our current strategy and promoting smart mass transportation over unlimited private traffic. An updated transportation plan could increase liveability by reducing traffic in residential areas, generate options for alternative transit, and require bike/ped infrastructure. We should consider limiting new development in high-traffic areas, creating commuter routes, and promoting rideshare programs.
  • Jessica Mohler- Our streets were designed for the hurried driver. I would pursue more “people-first” designs by envisioning streets as public spaces that everybody––cyclists, pedestrians, drivers alike––has a right to use safely. The only authority Council has over Lextran is its budget, which I will diligently review. I would also support—in any way I could—new Lextran initiatives that diversify its fleet of vehicles to entice drivers to leave their cars at home and attract new potential passengers.
  • Charles Smith- Imagine Nicholasville Road suggests we could try an express bus service from Brannon Crossing to downtown. I would like for Lexington to try that for six months to see if it would increase ridership and be economically feasible.
    With the anticipated completion of many downtown projects, Lexington is poised to take advantage of its central location and the unique landscape it has to offer.
    A thriving convenient and affordable mass transit system would only augment Lexington as a destination.
  • Christine Stanley- As the transit network expands, we can expect a corresponding increase in jobs related to transit as well as an increase in the city’s tax base. We should strive to eventually make transportation free of charge, lobby the state and federal government for more investment in public transit and as the severity of the climate crisis becomes more evident; public transportation will help reduce air pollution, reduces traffic congestion, and increase mobility and independence.

District 9 Candidate Responses:

  • Whitney Elliott Baxter- I would like to see an increased use of public transit and a decreased stigma of using public transportation. I think we should address transit routes to make them more efficient and consider a Bus Rapid Transit option. Transportation Oriented Developments should be something we consider moving forward in our Comprehensive Plan. If we can design more efficient roadways in conjunction with less overall traffic due to number of vehicles on the road, we will see a definite change in our city.
  • Willy Fogle- As crucial federal funding for essential transportation projects and programs are prioritized and channeled through the MPO planning process, I support the ongoing work of the Lexington Area Metropolitan Planning Organization. Public transit planning is a core component of what they do. In addition, Lexington’s recently established Imagine Nicholasville Road project was certainly welcome to help eventually guide future traffic/transit-related decision-making for Nicholasville Road.
  • Jacob Glancy- Did Not Respond
  • Colby Khoshreza- We must be strategic and thoughtful about managing our transportation systems. We should increase efforts to promote and enhance mass transit services including establishment of rapid transit lines to make for faster mass transit travel. The Re-Imagine Nicholasville Road project is looking to improve travel and I support these efforts. It is also important that we continue to look at change of turn lanes, traffic light timing, and emphasize the building of more walkable communities.

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12. Meaningful public participation is vital to a responsive local government. What are three innovative approaches that you would advocate for to make government processes more accessible, equitable, and transparent?

District 3 Candidate Responses:

  • Hannah LeGris- Running for council has been a privilege and has shown me the challenges many feel trying to be engaged. We can learn from the current moment about gaps in our communication, using technology to better connect with each other. We must share information proactively and seek input, working to connect people with systems of power. And we can always educate one another about civic literacy and the value of participation. If elected I will work to improve the lives of those in the district and beyond
  • Jessica Mohler- First, I will advocate having all city websites meet Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, which make data easier to consume for people with disabilities and more accessible on more devices. Second, I will work to create a model for a citizen participatory budget, which would produce a more equitable distribution of public dollars and resources. Third, and most importantly, I will prioritize listening to my constituents. As your councilmember, I work for YOU – I will never forget that.
  • Charles Smith- I have proposed a neighborhood resource center which would help level the playing field when development plans involve changes within a neighborhood.
    It would be staffed by city employees and services would include: printing of development plans and zoning maps and staff who are able to assist neighborhood associations with questions about zoning, historic preservation and code enforcement, etc.
    A more accessible government center would give more people a feeling of ownership in the LFUCG.
  • Christine Stanley- I support moving meetings to times that are less likely to conflict with work schedules, increasing the use of internet services like Zoom or Skype, and allow citizens to submit questions or comments online during meetings, as has already been done in some Council work sessions; Free Wi-Fi on our public transportation system to allow citizens to interact with city government on their commute; Empowering our neighborhood associations by implementing participatory budgeting.

District 9 Candidate Responses:

  • Whitney Elliott Baxter- Transparency and education are the main reasons I ran for office. I would schedule routine community education forums between local officials and residents where issues can be discussed and understood. I would also like to make our government more friendly by modifying our website and establishing a central info hub for those who are interested in getting involved with the local government or neighborhood.
  • Willy Fogle- In addition to email and utilizing social media and a district newsletter to reach constituents, I will work to educate constituents about the opportunity to attend “town halls” and participate in many City meetings and about Lexington’s LexTV which broadcasts and archives numerous City and Council meetings. Better communication is key. Many people are unaware of just how much information the City presently makes available to the public. The more citizen input, the better.
  • Jacob Glancy- Did Not Participate
  • Colby Khoshreza- Accessibility and transparency are crucial aspects of effective government. In order to make myself more accessible I would host quarterly district-wide meetings that would provide updates to residents while also soliciting feedback and ideas. I will also host frequent in-district open houses at local coffee shops to connect with residents. Further, I would advocate that city council meetings are broadcast on Facebook live in order to engage more constituents.

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