FOX 56’s Bode Brooks sat down with three of the four candidates—Adrian Wallace, David Kloiber, and Linda Gorton—to ask questions as well as discuss issues including crime, homelessness, infrastructure and traffic, and ways to keep Lexington affordable.
The fourth candidate, William Weyman, is not actively campaigning.
The three candidates had many similarities, but their approaches to crime showed the biggest divide.
Who is Adrian Wallace?
Wallace is a nonpartisan candidate who lives in Lexington.
The former Kentucky Army National Guardsman studied at Kentucky State University where he earned his prelaw degree and later founded the Lexington-based nonprofit Bishop and Chase Foundation.
“The Bishop & Chase Foundation exists to bring community and economic development to the most under-resourced neighborhoods within our community,” the Bishop and Chase Foundation page reads.
According to Wallace’s Ballotpedia page, his career experience also includes working as president of The National Association for Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).
“Adrian Wallace is a community development professional, small business owner and minister,” Wallace’s campaign website noted.
Adrian Wallace’s stance on issues
In Wallace’s roughly 19-minute interview, he talked about his “people-centric policies” including the crime and poverty link, housing first initiative, and safe gentrification.
According to Wallace, Lexington needs fewer politicians and more public servants.
“I don’t believe we need any more politicians – we need true public servants – people who believe in building community promoting economic growth and stability and expanding educational opportunity,” Wallace said.
Crime and poverty
“When we look at rising crime rates we have to first of all look at the foundation issues and that is poverty.”
“Children were taking guns into Fayette County Public Schools’ properties,” he said. “What was identified was, that they were taking weapons into the schools because they didn’t feel safe in their own communities.”
“When we look at the violence, gun violence, and the homicide rate in Lexington all of that can all be attributed to concentrated poverty.”
Homelessness, the housing initiative
“Housing first is a program and philosophy in which we don’t put barriers on individuals experiencing homelessness,” he said. “Whether it be substance abuse, mental health, the lack of a job because, statistics have shown nationally; once housing, adequate housing is provided for an individual, no matter what other issues they are facing appropriate support and resources can be brought along side those individuals to get those individuals to get them permanently housed.
“We just had a meeting today and we talk a lot about housing first has to be our priority,” he said.
“Lexington is a great city. We have essentially and effectively ended veteran homelessness. We are creating programs to house families, families along with their pets. These are areas that have been identified as failures and gaps in services in Lexington.
“The way to end homelessness is to invest in housing first initiatives,” he said. ‘Lexington has yet to do that and under my administration, we will do that on day one.
“The bottom line is we have to put more money in folks pockets,” he said. “It’s a two-prong approach. Number one is protecting affordable house. Then also, number two is workforce development.”
“I want to build consensus around development, first of all, when it comes to our real estate and development industries, but then also with our horse farm and preservationist. We need a bridge builder to build consensus on how we develop.”
“What we want to fight is the displacement that comes along with gentrification. While we want Lexington to be a thriving city with property values that keep rising … want to make sure people can still afford to live here. That’s what I mean when I say people-centric policy.”
A light rail, regionalism, and bad traffic
“Do we want to actually be a city, a growing and thriving city, or do we want to be a large-small large town?” he said.
“In 2017 the projection was that we would run out of housing stock in 20 years. We are going to be there unless we invest in equitable infield, but then we also find out how to expand in a way that would still preserve our rural landscape,” he said.
“Light rail could not only ease our infrastructure and car parking issues inside our city. It could help with commute times as it would run along our main corridors. Then it would promote regionalism.”