Christian Motley – 2020 General Election Questionnaire
Running for: 8th District Council
Campaign Website: https://christianmotley.com/
1. What do you see as the single most important issue facing your district, and what is your plan to address it?
Since knocking our first door last November, we have had many conversations with residents. We have found that voters in the 8th District want government to perform basic functions well, responsive communication with neighbors, and an intentional strategy to support youth. Additionally, we face revenues devastated by the economic slowdown and neighborhoods destabilized due to COVID, and the challenge to repair the breach between law enforcement and community.
I am committed to getting results for our district with high quality constituent service. We are keeping neighbors updated on items like COVID testing locations and details on Tates Creek campus construction. And I’m engaged in ongoing work to support youth and meet equity challenges, for example, as a member of the United Way’s Community Impact Taskforce and the Bluegrass Community Foundation’s advisory committee overseeing deployment of resources to combat economic disparities and racial bias.
2. Given your understanding of Lexington’s long and complicated history around racial injustices, what do you plan to do to directly address inequality and its root causes in our city?
Defeating systemic racism is bigger than any one of us, and reaches across sectors and lived experiences. Creating a community where we all know we belong will take a commitment to economic inclusion, fundamental fairness in our justice system, and investing in public spaces where we can connect across differences. As a council member, I will be committed to all three, but I also recognize that creating a community of belonging will take us all.
3. 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?
Pre-COVID, we knew that we would face budget challenges and there was discussion about options to raise revenue. We know that one of the strongest indicators of a positive budget forecast is a robust economy. As we continue to battle a pandemic whose impact has destabilized families and small businesses, I believe our essential focus must be an equitable recovery that gets this health crisis under control and fortifies our economy so that we build for the future from a place of strength.
4. 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?
I believe that Lexington should prioritize infill and redevelopment as laid out in the Goals and Objectives of the 2018 Comprehensive Plan. As Lextran board chairman, I have been encouraged by the work to reimagine the Nicholasville Road corridor, where we have an incredible opportunity to take a collaborative approach to align redevelopment efforts with public transportation. We should build on implementation by incentivizing density, affordability, and walkability.
5. 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?
Too many residents struggle to make ends meet, and faced eviction before this pandemic. This health crisis, and its impact on the economy and jobs, further highlights the urgency for housing stabilization right now. I support the city’s deployment of CARES funds for service employees like educators, non profit, and retail workers at risk of being evicted. For long term housing stability, we must fully fund the affordable housing trust fund, modernize zoning, and mitigate displacement.
6. 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?
The phased reopening of the economy through COVID has been helpful to support the fiscal health and resilience of small businesses and the nonprofit community. Creating a climate where business can thrive requires that we do the hard work to defeat this public health crisis. I supported the Council’s actions to provide relief to these employers and service providers. We must continue to pair that effort with the work to increase access to testing, promote the use of masks and guidance from CDC.
7. In recent months, much of our country’s attention has been directed to issues of systemic racism, specifically as it applies to policing and the justice system. What measures would you support to ensure that Lexington’s policing and justice system is equitable?
The work to build public trust in our justice system requires accountability and policy change to ensure fundamental fairness. Since June, I have called for an end to no-knock warrants, expanded use of body cameras and exploring the creation of a civilian review board with robust oversight authority. I support Mayor Gorton’s Commission for Racial Justice and Equality, and look forward to recommendations from the Law Enforcement, Justice and Accountability Subcommittee.
8. 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?
Funding through the ESR Program has facilitated partnerships with community organizations to meet critical outcomes for residents, particularly those related to youth, families and our most vulnerable populations. The budget landscape will be challenging, not just for the city, but every service organization in our community. We have to reimagine our frame for investments to emphasize results and impact, and grow public and private partnerships to meet challenges and align for results.
9. 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?
A recovery through this pandemic is essential to any effort to rebuild our fiscal health. We should continue partnering with employers responding to COVID needs, deploy CARES funds to stabilize neighborhoods, and defeat this public health crisis. Additionally, we need a strategy to support minority owned businesses with an improved LFUCG purchasing process, curated supports for capacity building, and partnerships with other agencies to take equitable purchasing to scale.
10. LFUCG Council will soon have the responsibility of council redistricting. What is your approach to including public participation in the redistricting process?
Council redistricting is a process we go through every 10 years, informed by the Census, and is important to ensuring fundamental fairness in our democracy. Our process should be transparent, data driven, free from self interest and held in open dialogue with our residents to ensure public trust.
11. The agricultural sector has a $2.3B economic impact on FayetteCounty, 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?
The agriculture industry has major impact on our local economy, and I agree with Mayor Gorton on its potential for growth in the coming years. My priorities include promoting the industry as a place for innovative workforce solutions, particularly as opportunities for hi-tech agriculture begin to flower. We should support greater access for young people to learn about agriculture and food systems through experiential learning, and promote opportunities for new, diverse industry leadership.
12. 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?
Effective public transportation contributes to the economy, promotes sustainability, and enhances our quality of life. With emerging services across ride-share, bike-share, fixed route buses, and paratransit, it is also important that we consider how we create alignment and efficiency for residents and ensure mobility freedom for all. As Lextran board chairman, I have also supported bus shelter improvements, increasing electric buses in the fleet, and collaborations with our library system.
13. Lexington has temporarily suspended public comment in all public Zoom meetings. Meaningful public participation is vital to a responsive local government, and COVID-19 has created a new set of challenges in that regard. What strategies would you support to make ongoing public participation accessible for all?
In the age of COVID, remote options have allowed for greater access, but the truth is that council meetings should not be the only time that residents see their council member working. I have learned that many residents in my district do not know our current member or receive regular updates on key issues. I would work with residents to meet these needs, and promote remote hours spent at locations within the district, in public spaces, easily accessible via Lextran.