Three people are running to fill the open seat in Urban County Council District 3 where incumbent Diane Lawless is not running for re-election. They are Jake Gibbs, making his first run for office, Rock Daniels in his second attempt at this seat and Chuck Ellinger Jr. who, after serving as an at-large council member since 2003, is seeking a district position.
The district is made up of most of downtown and the University of Kentucky and reaches as far south as Southland Drive in a narrow strip between Nicholasville Road and the railroad tracks.
We believe that Gibbs and Ellinger should move forward to contest the seat in the fall.
Gibbs has taught history and logic at the Bluegrass Community and Technical College for three decades, has also been an owner and sometimes manager of a local restaurant, and served as president of his neighborhood association.
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In an interview with the editorial board Gibbs displayed a thoughtful, nuanced understanding of many of the complex issues affecting the community and the district. An inveterate walker, he had practical suggestions about ways to make Lexington more pedestrian and bicycle friendly and to improve code enforcement. Gibbs expressed strong support for increasing housing density in downtown while improving housing affordability and addressing the issue of homelessness.
Ellinger, who is not eligible to run at-large again because of term limits, has displayed an even-handed approach to his work as a countywide representative. Ellinger has not generally stepped up to propose solutions to some of the city's more pressing problems but is often careful and detailed in his review of matters that come before the council. As chair of the budget and finance committee he plays an important role in overseeing city finances.
Ellinger would have no learning curve in understanding the inner workings of city government and his experience could benefit the district.
Daniels, who has lived in Lexington nine years, is a Realtor with a focus on developing new uses for abandoned or underused properties.
An affable, energetic and engaged citizen, Daniels has a lot to offer the community. However, he has not yet displayed the depth of understanding of the issues facing the district or Lexington to make him stand out in this field.
The unendorsed candidate may submit a 250-word response by noon Monday.