Politics & Government

One-term incumbent faces Army veteran in Urban County Council 7th District race

Incumbent Jennifer Scutchfield and challenger Michael Moynahan
Incumbent Jennifer Scutchfield and challenger Michael Moynahan

Lexington's Urban County Council 7th District race pits one-term incumbent Jennifer Scutchfield against challenger Michael Moynahan, an Army veteran who is the grandson of the late federal Judge Bernard T. Moynahan.

Scutchfield has more money in her coffers for the nonpartisan race, according to the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance.

As of Oct. 3, Moynahan had raised $17,423 and spent $4,4265. His donors included former mayor Scotty Baesler, who donated $500, and the Teamsters Local 651 political action committee, which also donated $500.

Scutchfield had raised $25,266 and spent $9,701 as of the most recent election finance report. Her donors included local attorney Bill Lear, who gave $200; the Kentucky Realtors PAC, which gave $1,000; and the Republican Party of Fayette County, which gave $500.

Jennifer Scutchfield

Scutchfield said she has spent a lot of time going door to door in her district, where residents are concerned about crime. The Woodhill neighborhood has been a focus of concern in recent years, but Scutchfield said she thought a proposed community center in the neighborhood's park would help unite the community and give area youth a place for focused free time.

"I have a private citizen that is willing to basically foot the bill to build a community center in Woodhill," she said. "It will obviously make a big difference."

The 7th District includes parts of neighborhoods around Todds Road, Squires Road and Richmond Road outside New Circle Road, extending in a long leg toward Armstrong Mill and Delong roads. The area's population is growing thanks to new homes going up off the Richmond Road corridor.

Scutchfield said residents raise concerns with her about school redistricting, which the council does not directly address, and about neighborhood cohesion and traffic. "We're booming," she said. "We deal with it all the time."

The suburban areas off Alumni Drive have particularly bad traffic issues, she said, as does the area near Athens-Chilesburg Elementary School. On Alumni, she said, children play in yards close to speeding cars.

Scutchfield said her stands on two issues — the city's program to preserve horse farms by purchasing their development rights and helping Lexington's homeless — have been misconstrued.

She said the Purchase of Development Rights program was useful, but she also wants to be sure Lexington has room to grow. "I want to make sure we're using it in the right way," she said of PDR.

She said she also wanted more information on options for funding the city's plan to alleviate homelessness beyond its initial stages. Scutchfield said she opposed adding money to the program "before we even had the plan in place."

"I'm not in favor of raising taxes to pay for it, but I do want to see it succeed," Scutchfield said, adding: "You don't throw money into creating a bureaucracy before we have a plan."

Michael Moynahan

Moynahan, who grew up in Laurel County, said he opposes expanding the urban services boundary, the line that limits new residential and business growth in Fayette County.

Instead, Moynahan said, he favors pursuing opportunities for infill, such as the area around Jefferson Street in downtown.

Moynahan, who has been a homebuilder and property manager, said he had seen up-close Lexington's "drastic need for affordable housing."

"It's not being met currently," he said, adding that he would favor a dedicated funding source to address affordable housing as a long-term problem.

"It's very hard to run a nonprofit, or any organization that's helping people, when you don't know year to year how much money will be available," Moynahan said.

He said traffic complaints in the district center around congestion along Man o' War Boulevard, particularly with backup into surrounding neighborhoods.

"I enjoy going door to door," Moynahan said. "I get questions from speed bumps to foreign affairs ... (but) probably public safety is the most common thing brought up in my district. They're seeing the increased crime in the news."