Four new faces to join Urban County Council; eight incumbents re-elected

The Lexington-Fayette Urban County Council will have four new faces come January from districts where incumbents did not seek re-election. Meanwhile, eight incumbents, including four who faced challengers, won another two-year term.

New members on the council include Shevawn Akers, who defeated Brannon Dunn in the 2nd District; Jennifer Scutchfield, who was unopposed in the 7th District; Jennifer Mossotti, who defeated Bill Polyniak in the 9th District; and Harry Clarke, who beat Steve Nelson in the 10th District.

Returning incumbents include Chris Ford, who defeated Marty Clifford in the 1st District; Diane Lawless, who won handily over newcomer Stephanie Spires in the 3rd District; Julian Beard, who won easily over Sam Cox in the 4th District; and Ed Lane, who easily turned back opponent Ralph Ruschell in the 12th District.

Akers, 38, a social worker, said Tuesday night that she was "humbled by the support and I look forward to serving people in my district."

Akers won by 6 percentage points over Dunn, 31, in the narrowest council victory of the evening.

"Brannon got support from different neighborhoods and I want to have good relations with those voters, and with all neighborhoods throughout the district," she said.

The 2nd District extends from the west end of downtown to Masterson Station and surrounding neighborhoods. It was represented for three terms by Tom Blues, who opted not to run again.

"This district is one of the most diverse — economically and racially," Akers said. "My first agenda will be reaching out to neighborhoods, establishing positive relations. I really do want to represent everyone."

Former Councilwoman Mossotti, 58, was successful in her bid to retake the 9th District, which she held from 1997 to 2004. Her opponent, Polyniak, 41, a sales representative, was in his first race for public office. Incumbent Jay McChord did not seek re-election after four terms on the council.

Mossotti, a Realtor, said the most pressing problems in her district are antiquated sanitary and storm sewers. She also wants to make sure the Clays Mill Road expansion is fully funded and finished on schedule.

Scutchfield, a development director for the Girl Scouts and a lawyer, ran without opposition to fill the 7th District seat held by KC Crosbie, who did not seek re-election. Reached Tuesday night, Scutchfield said she was excited about serving her district.

Scutchfield said she was concerned with "overwhelming issues" facing the city, in particular the unfunded liability in the police and fire pension fund.

"We have to think about the economic impact that will have on every one of us," Scutchfield said.

Clarke, the councilman-elect in the 10th District, said he was "absolutely delighted" about the win.

"It's my first time in the political scene," he said. "It was a lot of hard work, yet incredibly enjoyable."

Clarke said he's excited to take office and that incumbent Councilman Doug Martin will be helping him transition into the new role.

Issues in his district include drainage problems and neglected streets that need paving.

"I've talked to people who, literally, when it rains, they've got sewer water coming up in the streets," Clarke said. "We've got to solve those problems."

In the 4th District, incumbent Beard easily defeated Cox, a junior at the University of Kentucky. Beard said his first order of business in his next term will be paving streets and working toward a solution to the police and fire pension fund's unfunded liability.

The pension fund is "the biggest thing that could get us into deep trouble, especially if the economy turns on us," he said.