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CivicLex Candidate Survey

District 2

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Josh McCurn

Top Three Issue Priorities:
Economic Development, Education, & Public Safety

Joseph Smith

Top Three Issue Priorities:
Public Safety, Economic Development, & Development & Housing


Agriculture & Food Systems

Josh McCurn:

Most Significant Issue: Working with our local agriculture and the University of Kentucky to help promote shop local and Kentucky proud products throughout Lexington and highlighting these businesses.

Plan to Address it: I believe in working on the local level to develop a public garden that allows for members of the community to share agriculture and consumer products.

Joseph Smith:

Most Significant Issue: The continued success of agriculture is based on our ability to effectively capture and transfer skills and knowledge across generations. However, it is essential that today’s farmer programs reach beyond knowledge sharing. We need to learn from current limitations of beginning farmer programming and challenge structural barriers, including land, capital, gender, and race. In the 2nd Council District we have a variety of cost-sharing programs with Agricultural and Food Systems in mind.

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Plan to Address it: I will continue to support and seek new opportunities for access to neighborhood -level food systems, how food is produced, distributed sold, and consumed. This may include education, zoning, attracting new/cooperative grocery stores and direct marketing outlets, including community gardens, NBHD farmers market with local funding subsidy programs; food panties, meal programs, and summer meal programs for school-age children.

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Arts & Culture

Josh McCurn:

Most Significant Issue: Public arts are steadily increasingly around Lexington and is important to the surrounding community.

Plan to Address it: I support public arts because this brings culture, community pride, and diversity to Lexington and shows that this is a city for all to belong. In most cases, public arts have increased property values to the surrounding neighborhoods and can provide history through arts.

Joseph Smith:

Most Significant Issue: Overall, Lexington is home to several cultural art programs and venues, including: Lunch with the Arts, Big Band and Jazz Series, Summer Shakespeare Festival, Ballet Under the Stars, to mention a few. Lexington also host many cultural festivals celebrating its diversity such as the Roots & Heritage Festival; the Festival Latino de Lexington and the Pride Festival. These are just a few of a variety of ways in Lexington for its citizens to engage in the community and culture.

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Plan to Address it: I believe funding and grant opportunities for Art Organizations, Individual Artists, facilities and public art are essential for Lexington growth potential in the art and cultural world.

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Community Design

Josh McCurn:

Most Significant Issue: The way our community works together is vital to the growth and establishment of our district. We learn from our strengths and opportunities and bind together to improve communication and inclusiveness.

Plan to Address it: I believe in being hands on in the district, working with our neighbors to better understand each neighborhood and their needs and will work to continue uniting our district together.

Joseph Smith:

Most Significant Issue: I believe in providing well-designed communities by improving regulations, expanding opportunities for neighborhood character preservation, and commitment to expanding mixed-use/type housing, reusing infrastructure, and redevelopment. I strive for positive and safe social interactions in neighborhoods, including neighborhoods that connect pedestrians and transportation. By minimizing the disruption of natural features when building we can protect the character and context of neighborhoods.

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Plan to Address it: Successful growth relies on diversifying, eliminating unnecessary barriers to housing development, and preservation to meet community needs. I will pursue incentives, zoning and regulatory approaches that encourage creativity and sustainability. By responsibly accommodating the demand, prioritizing higher housing density and type mixture, we will provide safe, affordable and accessible housing. Incentives that strengthen opportunities for higher density and housing affordability are essential.

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Development & Housing

Josh McCurn:

Most Significant Issue: One of Lexington's biggest crisis' is the lack of affordable housing. As Lexington continues to focus on infill and development, I will work with neighborhoods that are transitioning to seek the input of the residents and to ensure they're not removed from their home and displaced or forced to relocate.

Plan to Address it: I will work with developers to focus on developing and maintaining affordable, high density and higher quality housing to keep Lexingtonians in Lexington.

Joseph Smith:

Most Significant Issue: Lexington’s affordable housing must continue as a priority for discussion. We must work to achieve an optimum level of communication between developers, LFUCG Planning Commission and staff, and citizens, including identifying ways to improve the goals and objectives. We measure our Comprehensive Plan's effectiveness by identifying indicators of success or failure and ways to increase accountability. However, the total increment of housing stock needed must meet the increase in housing demand.

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Plan to Address it: Well-designed neighborhoods and communities enable existing and new neighborhoods to flourish through (1) improved regulation, (2) expanding opportunities for neighborhood character preservation and public commitment to options for mixed-use and mixed-type housing, and (3) provide educational resources and home-buyer lending opportunities.

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Economic Development

Josh McCurn:

Most Significant Issue: As a small business owner, I understand what it would take for me to relocate and expand my business.

Plan to Address it: I will work with local companies to help utalize the resources in place to grow their businesses and to highlight them in the district. I will do this by creating a business network that educates neighbors on the surrounding commerce to keep buinsess local. I will work to revitalize business parks that are already in place and work to provide new opporunities for growth.

Joseph Smith:

Most Significant Issue: I am running for 2nd District Councilmember for three reasons: to support a strong, inclusive and sustainable District’s quality of life, invest in our community’s future, and stand for the values of our neighborhoods. This comprehensive community-centered approach involving government, residents and the private sectors, blends social and economic development to stimulate and strengthen sustainable economic decelopment in our community.

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Plan to Address it: I am very passionate about services to neighborhoods, closing gaps, and advancing opportunities and academic excellence in our local school system, livable and sustainable community growth and development, jobs and economic sustainability and businesses growth and development. I believe in building strong relationships with community leaders and residents.

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Education

Josh McCurn:

Most Significant Issue: mportant for our youth and for those continuing their education. The 2nd District hosts Kentucky's largest neighborhood, but does not have a high school for these students.

Plan to Address it: I will work to find the location to build a high school, offering students the opportuntiy to recieve their education in the district and allowing for additional extra curricular activites instead of additional traveling. I will champion to bring back programs like DARE to our schools and for after school. Education is pivital for all and the key to a great city. The opportunities to learn and better our education is programs to keep our youth busy.

Joseph Smith:

Most Significant Issue: I support the Fayette County Public Schools Five-Year Strategic Plan, Expect Excellence, developed with input from more than 18,000 stakeholders including students, staff, families, community and business leaders, and adopted by the Fayette County Board of Education. The five imperatives bring to light the right focus to guide the district and through development and implementation of the strategic plan, I feel encouraged it will guide transformational efforts our Fayette County Public Schools.

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Plan to Address it: Adaptability in our FCPS programs must be an ongoing process if we are to continue to challenge our students and prepare them for success in today’s rapidly evolving global economy. Further, the quality of our educational system is a plus factor in encouraging our young people to stay in our community. In addition, in order to attract, retain, and motivate the best and the brightest, we need to raise the starting and overall salary scale of teachers to be competitive with other professions.

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Environment & Energy

Josh McCurn:

Most Significant Issue: Lexington is absolutely beautiful. We take pride in the look of our home town, but as Lexington continues to grow, I propose a campaign that draws awareness to recycling and disposing of waste properly.

Plan to Address it: Adding additional trash bins along walking trails, parks, and additional high profile public spaces would reduce the amount of litter and keep our parks and trails inviting and clean. Converting our public transit over to eco friendly buses (over a set time frame) would reduce our carbon footprint and provide a clean measure of transportation.

Joseph Smith:

Most Significant Issue: Lexington encourages public participation in Live Green Lexington programs designed to raise awareness and preserve, protect, enhance and educate Lexingtonians and visitors about nature in our urban environment and the need and benefits of creating a healthy and sustainable quality of life for our community. In addition, the Pam Miller Downtown Arts Center helps showcases art inspired by local greenway and streamside restoration projects, which adds value to the community.

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Plan to Address it: I will continue to urge local government officials to support commonsense regulatory reform that restores accountability, transparency and public participation in the rule-making process across all regulatory agencies. I work closely with our local Environmental Quality and Public Works Division for my District to ensure that the implementation of infrastructure projects critical for community development is economically sound.

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General Governance

Josh McCurn:

Most Significant Issue: The issue we tend to see is a political agenda set by representatives that's either based on personal goals, or doesn't change to fit what the community calls for. As Councilmember, open lines of communication, accesibility, activeness in the community, and responsiveness are key aspects that are needed. Neighbors of the district need to be heard, and the political agenda needs to be a revolving door that changes based on the needs of not just Lexington or the district, but each neighborhood.

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Plan to Address it: To tackle this issue, after taking office, I will host a community forum in each neighborhood for community input. Each resident desereves to be heard and responded to, and I will work with an open agenda that fits to the needs o each community in the 2nd district. I will continue to stay active in the community and volunteer to help, understan and better our community together.

Joseph Smith:

Most Significant Issue: Mayor Jim Gray and his Administration have done an exemplary job moving Lexington forward during his 12 years of service. However, much remains to be done to ensure the best quality of life, particularly within public safety, crime, jobs, affordable housing, traffic and transportation. Another consideration is a comprehensive technology plan taking into account the rapidly changing industry. At good practice is an end of the year review of overall services to determine needed improvements.

Plan to Address it: Currently in my Council District, I am tackling a number of issues: One being crime and public safety and another issue dealing with traffic and transportation. I will continue to communicate frequently with Council District 2 businesses and residents and the responsible LFUCG departments, as well as collaborate with my colleagues to address these issues.


Immigration

Josh McCurn:

Most Significant Issue: Lexington is a welcoming city for all that embraces the different cultures.

Plan to Address it: I will work with imimgrants and the agencies in place to bring residents together and make them feel safe. I believe in diversity and inclusion and that we should celebrate the different cultures with festivals in the parks. We need to be cognizant of the many issues effecting immigration and working to provide paths to citizenship.

Joseph Smith:

Most Significant Issue: I have one of the most diverse Council Districts in Lexington and I believe I respect the importance of the rule of law to our democracy and the quality of life in our community. Therefore, as with laws affecting all citizens, I believe duly passed immigration laws should be respected as well.

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Plan to Address it: I will continue monitoring closely the efforts made through our Kentucky State Legislative process on all issues related to immigration.

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Public Health

Josh McCurn:

Most Significant Issue: Helath education is important for communities to know and understand the diseases and outbreaks in the area and ways to prevent this. The opioid crisis draws us to need further educate on the ways of disposing expired or unsued perscriptions safely and the resources available for those who are seeking recovery and help to access.

Plan to Address it: I plan to work with programs like OneLex, SAVI, DrugFreeLex, and other spreading education and awareness. I will work to see programs like DARE back in out public schools to teach our youth the importance of drug prevention.

Joseph Smith:

Most Significant Issue: The opioid epidemic has had a significant impact on service sectors in Fayette County. A tremendous impact has been on our First responder workforce including Lexington police, fire, and EMTs. Reports indicate that overdose deaths in Fayette County among residents and non-residents have increased steadily in the last few years.

Plan to Address it: A number of strengths in the Lexington-Fayette County service delivery systems address the opioid problem and as Councilmember, I will continue to monitor our city’s progress along with my colleagues. A number of innovative programs are positively targeting the opioid epidemic including the Opioid Advisory Council, the University of Kentucky bridge clinic, the Bluegrass.org, and the Lexington Division of Fire and Emergency Services Community Paramedicine Team.

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Public Safety

Josh McCurn:

Most Significant Issue: Public safety is number one, as this effects all other issues. I support our law enforcement and will work to provide the additional recources necessary to have a stronger police presence, and support the different models of policing.

Plan to Address it: I believe that community based policing is important to not only the adults to know who their police officers are, but for children to see police in the community also. This also allows for the officers to understand the needs of the community and better ways that we can serve each other. I will work to ensure the safety of panhandlers through legislation that will provide a means for income away from traffic.

Joseph Smith:

Most Significant Issue: Public Safety and Traffic issues can present very challenging problems. My district office continues to monitor police and traffic reports along major corridors daily.

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Plan to Address it: We respond to citizen and neighborhood complaints advocating on their behalf with Traffic Engineering for necessary traffic concerns. I also communicate frequently with District Police Commanders, business, neighborhood associations, HOAs and other community leaders and residents about traffic control, speed deterrent signage and other issues.

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Transportation

Josh McCurn:

Most Significant Issue: I believe that community based policing is important to not only the adults to know who their police officers are, but for children to see police in the community also. This also allows for the officers to understand the needs of the community and better ways that we can serve each other.

Plan to Address it: I will work to ensure the safety of panhandlers through legislation that will provide a means for income away from traffic.

Joseph Smith:

Most Significant Issue: I believe developing a viable network of accessible transportation alternatives for residents and commuters is a challenge that I believe we must meet.

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Plan to Address it: Our transportation network should include a variety of transit strategies. Initial actions include concentrating efforts to enhance mass transit along our corridors, as well as efficiencies in our transit system and traffic operation strategies. Considerations include adjusting vehicle sizes and routes to best reflect resident and neighborhood needs. Education and PR strategies can encourage citizens to use mass transit and ridesharing with special traffic lanes during high commute periods.

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Richard Young