When the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve, it will mean more than the beginning of 20-13. It will also mark the end for four members leaving Lexington’s Council. Council members Jay McChord, K.C. Crosby, Doug Martin, and Tom Blues have all made their mark on the Lexington-Fayette governing body. Two are moving out of politics while two are keeping a hat ready to possibly toss back in the ring.
Ninth district council representative Jay McChord has been a man on the go who urges those people around him to also get moving. On Council, he pushed for recreational trails while also co-founding the ‘Second Sunday’ movement. On the second Sunday of October, residents are urged to go outside and get some exercise...
“What do you want to be remembered for. Being the guy that was focused on changing the community’s health for the better. If that’s what I’m known as or the guy that built trails. There’s a lot worse things in politics you could be known for than being the guy that wants to see people healthier and more physically active,” said McChord.
McChord, who’s served eight years on council, surprised some people when he didn’t seek re-election. He laughs when asked if he might run for Lexington mayor someday. McChord says 20-13 is a year with no political races and a time to weigh options.
“2014 is an interesting year with lots of things that are open from the mayor’s race, to council, to Frankfort. We have redistricting that goes on and how’s that map look,” added McChord.
McChord says he wants to serve where he can make the best impact, whether that’s in the private sector or in a government position.
Seventh District Council rep K-C Crosby has spent six years at city hall. She is known as someone who asks ‘tough’ questions.
“I’m a critical thinker and the citizens of Lexington elected me to do a job and sometimes that requires asking tough questions and being transparent to the public about what’s going on down here and how their tax dollars are being spent,” said Crosby.
Crosby has tried for statewide office. She made an unsuccessful run for state treasurer.
“It didn’t work out for me, but I say sometimes God closes the wrong door to open the right door. I don’t know what is in my future as far as running for office. I just try to do the best job at what I’m doing at the time and if something opens up, then certainly I would consider it and look at it,” explained Crosby.
Crosby certainly hopes to stay in politics. She is now serving as finance chair for the State Republican Party.
Someone who is getting completely out of politics is tenth district councilman Doug Martin. Martin says it’s time to get back to family and the full time practice of law.
“It’s a fast pace, It’s kind of a blurr so, while I’m glad I had an opportunity to serve, it’s gonna be a relief to get back to just normal life,” said Martin.
No question about it Martin’s number-one priority in recent years was fixing the city’s underfunded police and fire pension system. Ultimately, Martin says ‘everyone is gonna have to give something.’
“And the citizens are going to have to pay more taxes to contribute more money to the pension fund and for their medical benefits and the employees and the retirees are gonna have to take less in benefits. Now, we have to meet somewhere in the middle,” said Martin.
The fourth outgoing council member is Tom Blues, of the second district. Blues never dreamed he’d go into politics after retiring from the University of Kentucky. To him, creating a connection between Lexington’s neighborhoods and city hall was important.
“I’ve attended a number of neighborhood association meetings. It’s also been a part of my regular routine. I’ve tried to assist neighborhoods in any way that I can so they can really be connected in a productive way to the Urban County Government,” said Blues.
Blues played a prominent role as the city began an overhaul of its sewer system. He muses the best prepared council member would have degrees in law, business and economics with courses in accounting and architecture, city planning, civil engineering and public policy. Since many lack such expertise, he admits they must rely on city administrators. Currently, council positions are part time, but Blues thinks that could change some day.
“I think that at some point, we as a city, as a community, need to consider this possibility of moving to a full time council,” added Blues.
That would take change in Lexington’s urban county charter, and Blues is willing to undertake a lobbying effort. The charter was created 40 years ago and he says an overhaul could be due.
The replacements for these four council members take their oath in a few days and will then join the rest of the council around the “horse shoe’ shaped conference table at Lexington City Hall.