I grew up in Water Valley, a Western KY town of around 300 people. I grew up working on the family cow, soybean and corn farm. I fell in love with Louisville on my first trip. Louisville felt to me like a very big city as I watched airplanes and cars out of my hotel windows. It felt very vibrant and alive and I wanted to be part of it. I moved here to study at the University of Louisville where I majored in English and Philosophy. Before graduate school, I was a bike courier, server, retail worker, ghost tour guide, pedi-cab operator, barista, and ESL teacher in the US and abroad.
I decided to go back to school to study law and urban planning after four years out of school because my being a dedicated bike commuter in Louisville and living abroad led me increasingly to see clearly some of the ways people miss the mark in planning cities that are livable for all residents. From a bicycle, you can see everyone doesn’t drive. You can feel the consequences of urban sprawl and traffic choked by vehicles driven by people who don’t feel like they have a choice. You can ride through neighborhoods people dismiss as crime ridden and feel that its a community like any other full of mostly wonderful people. You can smell pollutants and see the legacy of decisions that left people of color and poor communities burdened with too great a share of pollution. I wanted to devote my professional life to making sure Louisville is leading the way to a better future. I was, and remain frustrated people talk about us being the next Portland or Nashville. I’d rather we just be the best Louisville we can possibly be.
My legal career started with the Legal Aid Apprenticeship program where I received world-class training in representing people in poverty while helping them remove legal impediments to financial stability. As an attorney I have focused on consumer protection, tenant protection, and helping people start non-profits and mission-driven for-profit businesses.
In addition to my legal work, I’ve volunteered countless hours as a grassroots activist and community advocate. I was involved in the Move Louisville Transportation Plan, the Vision Louisville Report for Improved Urban Infrastructure, the Vision Smoketown report, as well as Louisville People’s Guide to the Budget. I represented Kentuckians for the Commonwealth on the community advisory board for the new city comprehensive plan. I served on the steering and executive committee of Kentuckians for the Commonwealth and the steering committee of Democratic Socialists of America Louisville Chapter. I have been on the ground and seen grassroots organizing mobilize community-led decision making. I know the best ideas come from the bottom up, not the top down.
I want us to rethink how we do economic development, address our housing crisis, implement restorative justice policies, and do more to protect the environment. I want to create new avenues for community-based decision making and do more to value the voices of ordinary residents. I want to create a city-wide participatory budgeting process that allows residents to vote directly on how their tax dollars are spent. I believe that the ideas found within neighborhoods and communities have the power to transform Louisville.
I’m running for Metro Council because the best ideas for District 10 and Louisville aren’t being heard. As a moral document, our budget is a failure. Our city’s response to homelessness is unethical and fails to address the root causes, disrupting our unhoused population without any promise of a better situation at the other end. At a time when peer cities are leading in sustainability we are glacial in passing simple protections like a tree ordinance. Our climate plan is the sort of milktoast thinking that will lead us off the extinction cliff. Our economic development strategy is largely corporate welfare that creates big city problems for Louisville while giving away too much of the taxes we’ll need to pay increased services needed to support our growth.
As your metro council representative, I promise I will be responsive to your needs and fight for you when you aren’t being treated fairly. I will make sure your voice is authentically valued in decision making processes. When we disagree, I will be open and honest with you about my reasoning, and I will communicate my position to you as transparently as possible. I look forward to getting to know the people of District 10 and serving as your representative.
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