Voters in Lexington's 8th District should pass up the familiar name on the Nov. 4 ballot and choose political newcomer LeTonia A. Jones to represent them on the Urban County Council.
Since finishing second in the four-person primary to former councilman Fred V. Brown, Jones has been working hard to meet district residents and hear their concerns — consistent with her pledge to be accessible and give constituents a voice in decision-making.
Workforce development, job training and expanded employment opportunities remain her top priorities. She also wants to encourage local buying, hiring and contracting.
Since the primary, she says her frequent encounters with parents who are working multiple minimum-wage jobs has convinced her that Lexington should enact an increase in the minimum wage.
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Louisville already is debating a local minimum wage increase. Rather than putting Lexington at a competitive disadvantage, Jones argues a higher wage would stimulate the economy because people would have more money to spend.
It is certainly an issue worth discussion, along with the city's new focus on tackling homelessness and providing more affordable housing.
Jones polished her impressive powers as an advocate while working for Lexington's Rape Crisis Center, the local domestic violence shelter and as an administrator for the Kentucky Domestic Violence Association. She started her own social work and expert witness business last year.
She would represent a diverse district that stretches from New Circle Road between Tates Creek Road and Alumni Drive and is bounded on the south by Man o' War, Squires Hill Lane, Kennesaw Drive, Spring Creek Drive and Rockbridge Road.
The council seat is open because 10-year incumbent George Myers ran unsuccessfully for another office in the primary.
Brown — who served on the council from 1994 to 2004 — is promising to pursue solutions to traffic congestion, park maintenance, stronger code enforcement and more police. A semi-retired accountant, Brown also promises to be accessible.
But the district and the whole city stand to gain far more from Jones' thoughtful analysis, energy, enthusiasm and skills as an advocate.
The unendorsed candidate may submit a 250-word response by noon Tuesday.