Andy Bathje joins Wilmore council

Published 11:39 am Thursday, January 17, 2019

From staff reports

Andy Bathje, a resident of Jessamine County for 20 years, is a newly-elected Wilmore City Council member, replacing Lynn Cooper.

Bathje has a masters in clinical psychology. His professional background includes leadership development, service ministry and outdoor education.

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His civic involvement includes the Direct a Volunteer Organization, being an alumni of the Jessamine County Leadership program, being a volunteer on local trail committees and being involved in a local church.

JJ: What in your background prepared you for your new role?

AB: Living, listening and leading in Wilmore for 20 years. At Asbury University, I was a part of multiple teams to facilitate growth amongst a student community. Then directing a nonprofit that serves Kentucky and working with a board of directors, I have learned to manage staff, resources and most of all, an agreed upon vision for growth.

JJ: Why did you choose to seek public office?

AB: I was encouraged to do so by respected leaders of Wilmore. I wanted to be part of important decisions to steward the good and bring more to Wilmore.

JJ: What challenges do you see in the community, and what steps do you think needs to be taken to address them?

AB: We don’t have enough safe pathways for bicyclists, runners and walkers. For a small college town with two state highways crisscrossing through, we need more designated paths for pedestrians to safely navigate to school, to the Kentucky River or past the “Y” north up to Lexington.

This will increase economic activity and enhance the friendly feel of the town. I have already been involved in the Jessamine Trails, Wilmore Trail Group and the Jessamine School Connector Trail.

Poverty and/or drug additions are serious problems in our community.

We have a few agencies and people who are addressing these issues. I want to connect and highlight the resources we have as well as make people who do care aware of how they can help.

Many people move here because the excellent public schools or close proximity of our safe neighborhoods to Lexington.

One challenge is our restaurant and business activity has not kept pace. I want to work to decrease any burdens on businesses and increase draw.

JJ: If you could tell the public one thing about yourself, what would it be?

AB: I like to hear different points of view and would love to see more people show up and express their opinion at city council meetings.

JJ: If you serve one term, or many, what do you want your legacy to be?

AB: Developing and connecting pedestrian pathways.

JJ: What are your future plans in politics?

AB: I would like to stay on Wilmore City Council for a few terms to be a sound and steady voice of stewarding the good in this town.

JJ: What is something no one in the public might know about you?

AB: I am from Wheaton, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. Even though I am not from here, I cherish the history and special character of Jessamine County. My favorite Kentucky author is Wendell Berry.

JJ: What do you do for work besides the city commission?

AB: I direct AdventureServe Ministries which guides missions and wilderness trips throughout Kentucky to grow faith in action.

JJ:  What do you do in your spare time?

AB: Anything outside — bike, paddle, cave, hike and explore beautiful places nearby. I’m involved in my church, love to play with my kids and be with friends. Most of all, I like a good honest conversation.

JJ: What do you look forward to accomplishing in 2019?

AB: First, learning the process and the critical topics. Then, gaining the respect of my peers and supporting the good work happening in Wilmore. Finally, providing new insight and ideas for keeping Wilmore “home” and “second home” to so many. I am already helping plan a new trail destination and eco-shelter in Wilmore that the council has designated funds toward. I would love to see that plan become a reality in 2019.