Hear from the candidates: Wilmore City Council

Published 3:55 pm Friday, November 4, 2022

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Wilmore City Council

Andy Bathje

1. I have lived in Wilmore since I began working at Asbury University in 1998. I directed the outdoor program, taught courses, and was an Associate Dean. I then served as Executive Director of AdventureServe Ministries. I am now a Realtor with The Agency. My wife and I have 2  daughters who we met in Asia.

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2. I am a connector of people and ideas. My 30 years in education, counseling, nonprofit leadership, and management gives me a wide skill set. In 4 years on council I have created whatsupwilmore.com – the most comprehensive local calendar, initiated a partnership with JCPL for a Wilmore branch, written a $30,000 grant, secured a one mile pedestrian easement to the river and served on the homelessness committee. I am active within Jessamine County by attending meetings of Planning & Zoning, Fiscal Court, Transportation Task Force and the Bicycle Pedestrian Advisory Council.

3. Wilmore’s most pressing issue is our inability to fully capitalize on our institutions, businesses, nonprofits and the city. There is awareness and goodwill between entities; yet rare to see true partnerships and regular communication. Our greatest challenge is knowing how best to join forces.

4. I will promote the great things already happening, like night markets, concerts, festivals, inspiring speakers, plays, etc. I will coordinate dialogue with leaders in each organization to consider how to address pressing issues and how the city can best serve them. I will ask collaborating questions like: What if the land owned by our city, institutions & nonprofits be connected by pedestrian pathways? What if the student meal cards could be used at our local restaurants? What if there was an interactive app for Wilmore based internships & jobs accessible for students and residents alike?

Jim Brumfield

1. I am a lifelong resident of Wilmore. I work as the Controller of Asbury Seminary and serve as a Board member and Treasurer of the Wilmore-High Bridge Community Service Center.

2. We all have gifts and ideas we can bring to the Council, and working together we can create a team approach that will best benefit our city. I have been working closely with the budget and finances of the city, and think I could continue to be a benefit in that area.

3. Being a good steward of the City’s resources and making sure that we keep our citizens protected and quality of services high.

4. Trying to keep tax increases at a manageable level during these times of the rising cost of living while maintaining a good working budget is a fine line. This past year we did not raise the property tax rate, but because of increased values were able to increase income from last year. These types of actions benefit both the citizens and the city.

Bradley Cochran

1. I grew up in Wilmore and went to Wilmore Elementary, Jessamine Middle & high school. After graduating high school I began to travel, live and work all over the world doing carpentry work, sailing, and volunteer work in underdeveloped countries. For the past 10 years I’ve had a small business in Wilmore.

2. I am a father to three girls, aged 12, 9 & 5. My wife is from Germany. We love our town and are very passionate about our quality of life here. We recognize, as so many folks do that we are a culturally wealthy town yet struggling economically. I have the benefit of perspective. Not only did I grow up here, but I’ve also seen many towns that implemented necessary changes in order to thrive. I am hungry to see some “changes” for the better come to our town. I have lots of ideas to create a long term vision for prosperity and to help sustain our local economy, so we thrive, not just survive.

3. There are several hot topics in Wilmore right now from homelessness to affordable housing that are pressing, but another major issue I feel must be addressed is to create a long-term economic development plan for our town to “grow” the budget. Doing the same thing will only have the same results.

4. The first step is to visualize what we want. This must be a collaborative effort between the community and leadership. That is KEY. There are quite a few nonprofit organizations that can be recruited to come into our town and organize workshops to help facilitate that collaboration and aid in creating a roadmap toward “smart-growth” and downtown revitalization. This idea is practical planning and could be such a great way for the community to draw together. Many incremental steps would have to follow of course, but the first step is having an overarching, long-term vision.

Kim Deyer

1. Our family has lived in Wilmore for 30 plus years. My sons David & Jakson attended Wilmore Elementary, West Jessamine Schools and are graduates of U of L both are CPA’s. Good education, safety and fun family activities in Wilmore is important to all of us. We all want to keep Wilmore this way.

2. As a council member I support the Mayor and work together as a team with the other council members. I do not bring a personal agenda. I support the departments (police, fire, utilities, public works and recreation) help adopt ordinances and listen to citizen concerns. I encourage women to step up in leadership roles. Attend meetings and collaborate with others. If you want to be Involved, get Involved! The most recent group effort in our community is for our homeless population. We are working together and we are trying to listen to them and find shelter for them in inclement weather. 

3. There are many issues affecting us as a country that even Wilmore can’t prevent. It is key to know and love your neighbors. The Mayor & City Council have budgeted 250K from ARPA funds for improvements in downtown’s landscaping, fixing electric and sidewalks. As leaders we are working on a plan.

4. I will continue to support Wilmore’s safety through the Police & Fire Departments. I am active in Wilmore’s leisure activities. During these events it’s important for guests to experience a welcome to Wilmore! We have made progress on assisting the homeless population in town and I will keep serving on committees like this or other committees developed in regards to town issues. I am excited for what the future holds. We have a bright future and I will be here to serve as we maintain our excellence. It is an honor to serve you in Wilmore! Thank you for reading, and I appreciate your vote!

Leonard Fitch

1. I’ve been a resident of Wilmore since 1956, and I truly believe it is the best place to live.  I am a graduate of Wilmore Highschool and Asbury College.  I’ve worked and been a business owner in Wilmore my whole adult life.

2. I think my experience as a council person has great value, and I’ve proud of what we’ve done as a council that I’ve been a part of.  Being a local business owner, I easily accessible to residents of Wilmore and I try to always have a listening ear and make time to hear our resident’s concerns.  I truly care about Wilmore and what happens in our town.

3. Maintaining what we have as a town with honor and dignity.  I think Wilmore is a wonderful place to live and I strive to keep it that way with our fire department, police department, recreational staff and all our support staff at city hall.

4. I would try to be fair and open minded and keeping an eye on the future.

Randall Hardman

1. I have been a citizen of Kentucky since 2010. I am a Graduate of Asbury Theological Seminary and hold a Masters of Social work from Asbury University. I am a part-time adjunct professor at AU in the Christian Studies and Social Work departments. I own and operate Drinklings Coffee and Mugs. I have a wife and three kids.

2. I believe in the importance of building your community around its assets. In particular, its people, organizations, and institutions should all be working together to build pathways to each other and within the community. Proprietary space and interests are not wrong but sharing the responsibility of our larger spaces is an important component of being in a space. Thus, if we want to see long term certain changes for the future within our community, we need to find more ways of casting vision and collaborating together.

3. Wilmore needs to be thinking about what it will look like for the remainder of this century. We too often live in the Wilmore of the 20th century without thinking about what this place will look like for our kids and grandkids and making the decisions now that will guide that vision.

4. There is a lot that can be done but the biggest thing is to make a plan. We can begin by looking at Wilmore in the same way that we look at any business or church, by asking ‘why are we here’ and ‘what do we want to see happen?’ This is for the people here to answer, of course. And so we begin by asking that to those that live here. After that, we begin a 10, 25, and 50-year plan for how we will achieve the kinds of things we want to see in our community. This includes things like business recruitment, retention strategies, investments (which are not just economic), etc., and go from there.

Jerri Hemenover

1. I am a K-12 Art and Entrepreneurship Teacher at Wilmore Crossing Academy and an Asbury Seminary graduate. As a former downtown business owner, I understand the need for supporting our local businesses. I am passionate about addiction awareness and serve in multiple Recovery Groups in the area.

2. My experiences as a Wilmore Teacher, Business Owner, Graduate of Asbury Seminary, and Mom of two give me a unique connection to multiple groups of people in our town. These relationships help me understand the gap between people connected to our educational institutions and folks who are not. I know the challenges and needs that our kids and families have. As a council member, I could bring their voices to the table and have ideas about how to bridge communication. A fresh perspective and new ideas are needed on the council. I can provide both and ask for your vote.

3. Wilmore needs infrastructure updates, such as repairing sidewalks and downtown revitalization. New walkways would allow for areas of town to connect physically and foster community. A beautification plan would make the downtown attractive to both patrons and new businesses.

4. The city has received an ARPA grant for structural improvements that could be used for these initiatives. The council needs to listen to our residents and businesses to determine what is needed most. Wilmore can be more than a bedroom community, and I can bring my creativity and vision to enhance the business district. We are blessed by people with many talents in town and we need to welcome their voices and collaborate. Physical space is also needed for our youth and families to connect. I have relationships with students and families and can understand what is needed most.

Wesley Metcalfe

1. I was born in Lexington in a small business family doing construction. I graduated and met my wife at Asbury while studying Equine and Business. I’m a small business owner and regularly attend city council meetings. I was appointed to the planning and zoning board of adjustments and later, the planning commission.

2. I have attended over 80 percent of the city council meetings in the last four years in an effort to be involved and gain in-depth experience in the function of our council. I have served on the board of adjustments as well as the planning commission. I also have a lifetime of experience in private sector small business ownership. I know what it’s like to sweat and work hard to provide for your family. I think my common sense worldview, combined with a love of God and country, fits Wilmore well. Our best days are ahead, and my background, education, and experience have prepared me to serve you well.

3. Inflation. Rising costs are affecting everyone. Our large institutions and small businesses are working hard to keep up, while our families are doing their best to make ends meet.

4. I would focus on fiscal management with a goal of building up reserves, eliminating any waste, and prioritizing our essential needs with the future in mind. I would also do everything possible to keep costs down in an effort to avoid increasing taxes on an already stressed citizenry.

Wade A. Mitchell

1. I own Wade’s on Main Barbershop in Wilmore, teach tai chi, and am a musician on the side. I also have experience in the corporate sector (HR mostly), worked for the city government in Lexington, including as a sworn corrections officer and served in the Navy.

2. My experience and strengths can make me a great addition to this team! I bring relevant experience to this office (City Government, Wilmore business owner, and worked with the homeless working for Fayette County Corrections), and I can bring a lot of energy to a cause. I understand my strengths in a team environment (adding positive energy, maintaining group focus, and when needed, public speaking).

3. While it may not be the most visible issue, the homeless issue in Wilmore is the most pressing. Just a few months ago, we had four or five homeless folks in town. Last I heard it’s up to 20. Many of them are transplants. Wilmore is too small to handle numbers like this. We need a good plan and swift action.

4. We need to balance helping homeless people and enabling them. Give them alms, but the help has to lead to some eventual positive outcome. You need some type of anti-vagrancy ordinance that gives your community a way to get these folks off the street and back into “the system”. If they refuse the programmed help Wilmore offers (and some will), they should not be allowed to drift around Wilmore without consequence. If they are caught again, they can choose to go somewhere else or be cited and given a court date (or arrested) and are at least back in the public support system.                   

David Riel

1. I have learned to listen to people and collaboratively problem solve in my 23 years as an elementary principal, public school supt., and univ. professor.  I am the board president of a local $125 million credit union.  Board president of mental health and recovery board.

2. I love Wilmore. I have devoted the past 6 years on city council to revitalizing our downtown area, working to maximize every available dollar, and listen to what our residents would like for Wilmore.  I have served on the Community Development Bd. and participate in every town event possible.  I shop in our town.  I am the editor of the Wilmore Newsletter as communication is at the heart of good leadership.  I publish my cell number and respond to every question/concern/idea that is shared with me.  I have supported our fire/police departments and our other valued employees. I love Wilmore.

3. The most pressing overarching issue for our town is determining our collective idea about our preferred future.  We need to continue to collaborate about what we want for our downtown area, what we want in terms of improvements for our parks, and how we want to manage our residential growth.

4. I would use my experience as a school administrator and public servant to find ways to bring people together to collaboratively work on making decisions in those above areas and then develop action plans to see them become realities.  I would continue to be the editor of the Wilmore Newsletter so that people know what is going on in our community.  I commit to do all that I can to be certain every person in our town has the chance to express ideas, ask questions, and share frustrations.  I want total transparency in our govt. and with the services we provide. I will continue to love Wilmore.