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Election 2022 Candidate Questionnaire – Brack Marquette

Running for: Council District 4Brack Marquette election 2022

Question: What brought you to Lexington-Fayette County? What do you love about our community?

A native of Williamstown in Northern Kentucky, I graduated from
Georgetown College and headed out of state for graduate schools and my first
college teaching job. Soon, though, I returned to Kentucky in 1983
committed to stay and make a contribution here. There are very few locations that compare with the amenities of our beloved Lexington and Central Kentucky. My
family has deep roots here and my two grown sons could not have had a better place to prepare them for life. Lexington/Fayette County well deserves its popularity and acclaim and our diligent, careful management now to keep its luster and prosperity going for generations to come.

Question: Like the rest of the nation, Lexington faces critical challenges around developing adequate Affordable housing for low-income families and increasing attainable missing middle housing for the average income resident. What specific policy recommendations do you have to address these different challenges?

The variety of solutions being put forward for our city that address housing affordability rarely address the needs for residents with the lower incomes. The “affordable” housing typically proposed is out of range for a growing number of our citizens who provide the workforce upon which our city functions and thrives. Whether as renters or homeowners, individuals and families at the lowest incomes face a nearly impossible task of finding safe and livable housing. MUCH work and community-wide commitment remains necessary before workable and sustaining solutions can emerge. Paths to home ownership, increased affordable housing stock, and reforms to support infill and development are all potential solutions to address our housing shortage. I am fully committed to help lead that task of research, input from the public and experts, and full participation from under-served residents from whom much needs to be learned. We cannot be a truly great community if we are not an inclusive community dedicated to the shared prosperity of all our citizens.

Question: The 2018 Comprehensive Plan, Imagine Lexington, prioritizes infill redevelopment within the Urban Service Boundary as a primary strategy to accommodate our growth needs. How do you propose we incentivize infill and redevelopment to activate the approximately 17,000 acres of vacant, underused and underutilized land (much of which exists on our major commercial corridors) within the Urban Service Area? What specific policy recommendations or incentives do you think we could utilize to ensure we sustainably use our existing resources to meet our needs?

Population growth is inevitable and its careful, strategic, management could not be more critical to our ability to retain the rare assets which make our community attractive and prosperous. Proposals for growth must first provide for effective re-use of the land already within the boundary. Any expansion of the boundary must meet rigorous review and be tethered to land use requirements which are fulfilled. As an experienced business representative to economic development efforts in Kentucky and numerous other states, I fully support job creation that helps diversify and strengthen our local economy. Further, the solutions ahead must be regional ones where all the Central Kentucky communities coordinate growth, economic diversity, and build prosperity for all our citizens.

Question: The balance between our urban and rural areas is essential to our unique economy, environment, and quality of life in Lexington-Fayette County. Since the last expansion of the Urban Service Boundary in 1996, only 51% of the land brought within the boundary has been developed, and no Affordable housing has been built in those dedicated expansion areas. Do you support an expansion of the Urban Service Area during the current Comprehensive Planning update process? Please explain.

see answers above

Question: To grow Lexington-Fayette County sustainably, we must grow equitably and consider impacts on our marginalized and underserved communities. What specific policies would you recommend to incentivize community-driven investments in historically disinvested neighborhoods while preventing displacement which can result from gentrification? 

In addition to solutions posed in responses above, here are some of the needs I will address:
–Neighborhood enhancement through leadership development and citizen input.
–Neighborhood driven solutions to crime and lawbreaking.
–Support for grassroots entrepreneurship.
–Leadership from city government to invigorate the full potential of all our schools.
–Partnership with neighborhood-based organizations to solve problems together.
–Full support for making diversity our partner in progress.

Question: What do you see as the pillars of Lexington-Fayette County’s strong and diverse economy? What specific policies do you recommend for: a) activating existing economic development land for jobs, such as the nearly 250 acres at Coldstream; b) creating opportunities for job growth utilizing the significant vacant office and commercial spaces within our urban area, and c) leveraging our unique assets and community strengths to support job growth and continued economic prosperity?

In addition to answers to questions above, let me reiterate that my many years spent working with workforce and economic development, I am well informed on the issues of growing quality jobs in Fayette County across all sectors. The one thing Fayette County and Central Kentucky has that most other regions areas lack is superior attractiveness. The solution ahead for our city/county must be accomplished in tandem with the cities and counties in our larger region so all of Central Kentucky can grow, prosper, and retain its exceptional attractiveness.

Question: Fayette County agriculture industries are a significant part of our local economy and cultural identity, having a $2.3 billion dollar annual economic impact, supporting 1 out of every 12 jobs, and anchoring a $2 billion dollar local tourism industry. What specific policies do you support to ensure the continued strength of our agriculture industries and the rural land that supports them?

My early life was tightly knitted to farm families and includes my personal experience working on those small farm tobacco and livestock operations. Thus, my high regard for the value of agribusiness cannot be understated. The challenges for agribusiness are monumental in this era of attractive non-farm employment and a shrinking farm workforce. I support fully any and all efforts to keep and grow agriculture jobs jobs and maximize that valuable economic sector which is essential to the future of Lexington/Fayette County and our region.

Question: The federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) funds offer Lexington-Fayette County a transformational opportunity to invest in transportation, water, power and energy, environmental remediation, public lands, community resilience and broadband. What specific policy recommendations do you have for approaching quality of life investments and capital improvements to make the most efficient use of these funds in the coming years? What are the top priorities for investment in Lexington-Fayette County?

The opportunities are immense. We must
-Increase access to broadband,
-Ensure quality drinking water and effective waste water management,
-Improve public transportation options and effectiveness
-Rehabilitate environmental dead zones inside the urban service boundary that impede reuse and redevelopment
-Upgrade our existing parks, and
-Provide more opportunities for greenspace and protected areas.

Question: According to the Center for Neighborhood Technology, the average Lexingtonian spends 24% of their income on transportation costs and 26% on housing. What specific policies would you propose to incentivize public transportation, bike/pedestrian improvements, and walkable developments near existing infrastructure to help alleviate both traffic and transportation costs in our community?

Studies have already been done though more recent updates need to be accomplished to measure significant changes in need and demand since in onset of COVID. Many believe our city’s spoke and wheel major artery configuration will always necessitate high personal vehicle volumes. However, investment in public transportation solutions that are innovative and repositioned to meet today’s needs is critical. Transportation costs are too heavy a burden for our low-income families. Addressing that issue is a major concern going forward. We have century-old public transportation solutions that must be retooled in the next decade. I look forward to helping address this important issue which a key to our city’s future economic and social diversity and success.