Fayette County

Four newcomers join familiar faces on Urban County Council

Urban County Council member Shevawn Akers spoke in August during a dedication ceremony for a mural at the Share Center on Georgetown Road.
Urban County Council member Shevawn Akers spoke in August during a dedication ceremony for a mural at the Share Center on Georgetown Road. Lexington Herald-Leader

Lexington's Urban County Council districts will be represented mainly by familiar faces next year, but also by some new ones and one returning from a decade ago.

The newcomers are J. "Jake" Gibbs, who won in District 3; Susan Lamb, who unseated incumbent Julian Beard in District 4; Angela Evans, who defeated Thomas Hern in District 6; and Amanda Mays Bledsoe, who unseated incumbent Harry Clarke in District 10.

Then there is Fred V. Brown, who dropped off the council in 2004 after a decade of service but defeated LeTonia A. Jones in District 8 on Tuesday.

Four incumbents — Chris Ford in District 1, Bill Farmer Jr. in District 5, Peggy Henson in District 11 and Ed Lane in District 12 — automatically were re-elected on Tuesday because they had no opposition.

District 3, District 6 and District 8 were assured of getting new representation Tuesday because no incumbents were running.

Incumbent Shevawn Akers, 41, held on to her 2nd District seat with a close victory over challenger Michael Stuart, who was making his first run for office.

"I think the vote reflected the work that I have done over the past two years," Akers said Tuesday night. "I was involved in the community and I responded to constituents. I think that was a real positive for me."

For Akers, 41, the election was a satisfying rebound from some rough spots that turned up during the campaign. She was cited for a misdemeanor campaign violation in August, over questions about whether some of her election papers were signed by the proper people. She ultimately was placed in a district court diversion program.

Stuart later sued her in circuit court, questioning whether her filing papers had the required voters' signatures and contending that she lived out of the district for six months before filing for re-election. The court ultimately ruled, however, that Akers had met the requirements to stay on the ballot.

Gibbs defeated Chuck Ellinger Jr. in District 3, ending Ellinger's 12-year run as a council member. Ellinger ran for a district seat Tuesday because he was legally barred from another at-large term.

The seat was open because incumbent Diane Lawless didn't seek re-election.

Gibbs said he wasn't surprised by his win.

"I have really deep roots in the community and in the district, and people have responded to me," he said Tuesday night. "Also, I had an awful lot of people helping me."

Gibbs called his opponent "a very nice guy" but contended that Ellinger lacked strong ties in the district, despite his years as an at-large council member.

Meanwhile, Lamb rolled past Julian Beard in her first race, ending Beard's hopes for another term. Beard had said going into the election that it would be his last campaign. Like Gibbs, Lamb's lack of election experience was somewhat deceiving. She had worked as the Urban County Council clerk and had been involved in city government for more than 20 years.

District 6, another open seat, went to Evans, 38, a lawyer with the Kentucky Attorney General's office. She easily outdistanced Thomas Hern, 65, a consultant and small-business owner.

Kevin Stinnett, the district's incumbent, ran for an at-large seat this year.

Incumbent Jennifer Scutchfield held on to win re-election in the 7th District, edging past Michael Moynahan, 36, who was making his first run for public office. Moynahan, a Kentucky National Guard officer, is a grandson of the late U.S. District Judge Bernard T. Moynahan.

Brown's victory in the 8th District could be traced to his experience on the council from 1994 to 2004. Brown, 72, said he decided to run this year because being semi-retired would allow him more time to concentrate on the job. He defeated LeTonia A. Jones, 42, an advocate for victims of domestic violence who was running for the first time.

Incumbent Jennifer Mossotti, another fixture on the council, had little trouble retaining her seat. She defeated small-business owner Victoria Fath, 27, who was taking her first plunge into electoral politics.

Mossotti, 60, served on the council from 1997 to 2004, and she later worked on Mayor Jim Gray's staff. After leaving the Gray administration, she ran successfully for the 9th District seat in 2012.

Another incumbent was unseated in District 10. Harry Clarke, 76, couldn't hold off challenger Amanda Mays Bledsoe. Another newcomer, Bledsoe was no stranger to the inner workings of government, having been an analyst for the Council of State Governments in Lexington. She also has taught at Midway College and Bluegrass Community and Technical College.