Lexington’s seven mayoral candidates participated in their last scheduled forum yesterday evening at the Central Library. The hour long question and answer period covered topics ranging from reducing violence to jobs to budgetary challenges.
Former Lexington Vice Mayor Linda Gorton called this year’s political race to head urban county government the most important in a long time. The retired nurse who spent 16 years on council bases that on a series of high profile challenges including new threats to safety and health. “We have a growing and aging population. We have financial uncertainties. We have greater competition for our labor force and the economy,” said Gorton.
Calling himself a can-doer, going to work each day for 40 years, Lexington businessman Ike Lawrence spoke about fixing up currently boarded up homes in north Lexington to be converted into classrooms for truant at risk students. “Get them into these classrooms with their mentors, their fathers, their step fathers, and learn a trade and if they don’t want to do that, then they got to go back to school.” Noted Lawrence.
Another question centered on dealing with budgetary challenges which include a sizeable increase in public pension costs. Former Lexington Police Chief Ronnie Bastin says he’s faced such a dilema previously. “As police chief, I led during the worst economic time since the Great Depression. I had to prioritize. I had to do more with less,” explained Bastin.
Regarding traffic and other transportation issues, Former Lexington Mayor Teresa Issac said getting more people to ride mass transit remains an important goal. “How can we make our public transportation more user friendly, I think you have to appoint people to the Lextran Board that are actually users to make those kinds of recommendations,” explained Issac.
Council Member Kevin Stinnett continued to stress job creation. “When 62% of people were coming to Lexington five years ago to work, now 51%. That’s a problem. We must help our small business owners,” said Stinnett.
William Wayman, who described himself as a deaf Christian in his opening, spoke through an interpreter about addressing opioid problems.
“We need to get people getting more jobs, going back to school. We need to get them occupied doing things and not have idle time to use drugs,” replied Wayman.
Skip Horine, who’s run for Lexington mayor previously, said non violent inmates could be used to help address homelessness concerns. “We could put them to work making small houses for homeless people in the community so they have somewhere to hang their toothbrush and their clothes and a base so they can go out and get a job.”
The roughly hour long candidate forum at the Central Library was live streamed.