New and familiar faces are in the Urban County Council at-large race

vhoneycutt@herald-leader.combmusgrave@herald-leader.comMay 16, 2014 

  • Coming Sunday: Our Voters' Guide and list of candidates for Tuesday's primary elections.

This year's Urban County Council at-large race boasts one of the largest fields in recent years.

Thirteen candidates have filed to run in the at-large race, which will ultimately decide who is the next vice mayor.

The top six vote getters in next Tuesday's primary will move on to the Nov. 4 general election. The top vote getter in November becomes vice mayor. The second and third-pace finishers are at-large members, who serve four-year terms.

Vice Mayor Linda Gorton announced earlier this year that she would not run for re-election in the non-partisan race. Chuck Ellinger, another at-large council member, is term-limited from running again in the at-large race. That leaves Steve Kay as the only at-large incumbent in the race.

But there are some other familiar faces. Councilman Kevin Stinnett, who was first elected to represent the 6th District in 2004, is seeking a seat. Richard Moloney and Bill Cegelka, both former council members, are also running.

Other candidates range from Don Pratt, a community activist who has run unsuccessfully for council four times, to Jon Larson, a lawyer who is the Fayette County judge-executive.

The field additionally includes Kenner "Pete" Dyer, who was pardoned in 2013 by Gov. Steve Beshear of a felony second-degree robbery conviction from the early 1990s. Dyer, who served three years in state prison, went through a "painstaking process to earn back his voting rights and right to run for public office," Dyer's spokesman Garett Ebel said. Dyer said he has learned from the mistakes he made 23 years ago and wants to help others.

The top three fundraisers for this race were led by Stinnett, who raised $58,936 so far this election cycle, according to reports with the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance. Kay came in a distant second with $29,716. And Cegelka raised $13,850, records show.

The 13 candidates have faced off in forums, touching on homelessness and affordable housing, good paying jobs and funding for the renovation and expansion of Rupp Arena and a new convention center.

Here, in alphabetical order, are the candidates:

Shannon Buzard, 44, a community volunteer, describes herself as "a mom on a budget." She says her focus, in part, will be on jobs. When deciding issues, Buzard said she will ask, "How will it be paid for? What is the risk? Who's getting the revenue? How can citizens get better value for their dollar?"

Bill Cegelka, 44, a former council member and small business owner, thinks that some of the city's most pressing issues are jobs, public safety, taxes, the budget, housing, development, and education. Cegelka said he tries to solve problems by researching, listening and building consensus towards solutions that work.

Ray DeBolt, 63, an attorney and former Lexington police officer, said a resolution of Lexington's pressing issues requires funding, primarily received through employment and occupational licensing fees. DeBolt said he would improve "on what our great city already has to offer by ensuring public safety, livability, traffic control, and infrastructure to provide an attractive business climate."

Kenner "Pete" Dyer, 59, who is self-employed, said the city's most pressing issue is that, on average, one out of five people are struggling to make ends meet, to keep a roof over their head, and to put food on the table. Assistance programs including job training and affordable housing must be revamped to ensure those living in poverty have the opportunity to create a better life, he said.

Steve Kay, 70, an incumbent and organization consultant, said when city property is not maintained and timely upgrades aren't made to police and fire equipment and fleet vehicles, "we pay more in the long run and lose enhanced service now. I would advocate for making these basic city services a funding priority."

Connie Kell, 60, a semi-retired auditor and accountant, said she refused campaign contributions to eliminate the potential for a conflict of interest. Kell said she would work to fix systemic problems in the city's revenue department that both independent and city internal auditors have found.

Jon Larson, 68, an attorney and county judge-executive, said local government has neglected to recognize that Fayette County is only one part of a growing metropolitan community, which includes the surrounding counties. Larson advocates joint regional efforts to preserve horse and agricultural farms, ensure smooth traffic flows, support business and create jobs.

Chris Logan, 46, a business owner and pastor, said he would promote job growth and efficiency in local government. He said city government "must stop spending money we don't have for things we don't need and get back to providing the basic services like public safety and infrastructure."

Richard P. Moloney, 54, has served as the city's chief administrative officer, head of the state's building department in addition to being a former council member. Moloney, who is now in part-time sales, said public safety is a top priority and he would work for adequate police and fire protection in Lexington.

Jerry C. Moody, 62, a singer and songwriter, said the Urban County Government should promote local entrepreneurship while providing living wage jobs. He said he would provide a fresh perspective and be a better steward of Lexington's resources.

Don B. Pratt, 69, a foster parent and retired grocery owner, said local government needs more fiscal responsibility with greater openness, and more public input. "I question wrong and advocate what's right," Pratt said.

Jacob Slaughter, 30, the executive officer for a pedicab company, said the lack of economic mobility and higher paying jobs for many citizens is a pressing issue. Slaughter said he would work to streamline city policies that affect small business owners. Fayette County District Court records show Slaughter was convicted twice in 2010 for alcohol intoxication. "I've learned the lessons of my youth," Slaughter said in response.

Kevin Stinnett, 40, the 6th District councilman and small business owner, said local government's top priority should be jobs and that better paying jobs mean more local revenue and higher incomes for citizens. Stinnett said local government must be open and responsive to new ideas and creative solutions to workforce training and job creation.

Valarie Honeycutt Spears: (859) 231-3409. Twitter: @HLCityhall

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