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Willy Fogle – 2020 General Election Questionnaire

Running for: 9th District Council

Campaign Website: http://www.fogleforcouncil.com/

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

Public safety and security concerns. My priority will be to see that our neighborhoods enjoy safe and secure conditions to lead their daily lives. It is essential to ensure we have enough well-trained, well-equipped officers on our streets to help you when you need it most, and that our public safety efforts are up to the expected standards of our citizens. My goal will be to serve on the Council’s Planning & Public Safety Committee.

My priority will be to see that our neighborhoods enjoy safe and secure conditions to lead their daily lives. It is essential to ensure we have enough well-trained, well-equipped officers on our streets to help you when you need it most, and that our public safety efforts are up to the expected standards of our citizens. My goal will be to serve on the Council’s Planning & Public Safety Committee.

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?

My first step will always be to keep an open mind and to seek out and listen to all voices in the district and in the community. The ongoing message must be made clear that in Lexington, racism, intolerance, injustice, discrimination, and hate will not be tolerated. I will fight to ensure our policies, practices, and norms offer equal opportunity and prosperity for 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?

In addition to budget tightening, we need more options to diversify revenue. We are overly reliant on occupational taxes, which limits revenue growth potential. My focus will be to fight to ensure essential services (public safety, trash collection, street paving, etc.) are maintained at the highest possible level—and simultaneously that the city consults with economic development and employment experts routinely such as the U.K. Gatton College of Business and Economics.

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?

The Division of Planning has formed an advisory panel including developers, community representatives and residents to help define/develop a Public Engagement Toolkit. The goal is to offer developers overall guidance and to educate citizens on development review process and how to find info about proposed developments and stages in process where they can have input. A huge step forward. And we must educate the public about the Comp Plan and of its importance to our growth.

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?

Lexington’s Affordable Housing Program, which includes the Affordable Housing Fund, the Affordable Housing Governing Board and the Office of Affordable Housing, is focused on these challenges and I will certainly support their important work going forward as additional strategies are developed and implemented to promote pathways to affordable home ownership as we close the affordability gap. We must ensure our local regulations are not unnecessarily increasing development costs.

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?

Many citizens face financial difficulties to pay their mortgage, utilities and essentials. We will continue to deal with impact of the Coronavirus for the foreseeable future including some businesses that may not reopen. The current and next City Council will need to focus on related fallout to keep our city moving forward. I would recommend an impact subcommittee be established in Council’s General General Gov & Social Services committee to study the matter in greater detail.

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?

Internal and external checks and balances are essential towards making sure our officers carry out their duties properly and always act with integrity. That requires the proper direction from the Mayor, the Council, the police chain of command, and certainly the community. There must be ongoing dialogue and comprehensive reviews in place.

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?

Clearly, the Mayor/Council must do everything possible to ensure future funding keeps pace with the need but that may not be possible without the support and generosity of private sector. There is nothing more vital than taking care of the less fortunate. The work these organizations do has a large impact on quality of life for so many people. With the budget shortfall, there is tremendous uncertainly right now and we must set our priorities and move forward. Everything is on the table.

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?

We must continue to build on relationships with Economic Development Partner agencies like Commerce Lexington and U.K. in our efforts of job recruitment and retention. They are key to attracting new businesses in health and educational services, technology, retail trade and manufacturing. In addition, I support strengthening the City’s Job Fund–a business incentive program designed to support business expansion. The value of a strong workforce development program should also not be overlooked.

10. LFUCG Council will soon have the responsibility of council redistricting. What is your approach to including public participation in the redistricting process?

Informed citizens are our democracy’s best defense. The Council must utilize every means possible to get the word out to constituents and the community at large regarding the specifics of the upcoming redistricting process, including newsletters, social media, neighborhood meetings and such. Public participation will be vital to the discussion.

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 importance of the Ag sector to our community’s economy cannot be overstated. I strongly support Mayor Gorton’s effort to make Fayette County a high-profile center for Agri-tech. As the Mayor has noted, our highly educated workforce, low-cost of living, quality of life, Ag infrastructure, and world-class University of KY make this area extremely attractive to such new businesses. We are well-positioned to be extraordinarily successful in this area of economic development.

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?

I support the ongoing work of the Lexington Area MPO–a federally mandated planning organization that tracks population and transportation trends in Fayette and Jessamine County in order to develop solutions for managing our growth and transportation needs. They also coordinate the allocation of federal transportation funds for our area, including investments in roads, public transit, bikeways and walkways.

13. 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?

The suspension public participation is temporary and warranted due to the disgusting abuse of the opportunity by an small number of attention-seeking individuals who sought to disrupt meetings and anger and inflame tensions. There are several other options for public feedback to the Mayor and Council, including by telephone, email, social media, etc. The Council Administrator has publicly informed the Council that a solution is being sought to resume public participation as soon as possible.