Politics & Government

Council incumbent, challenger share a passion for Lexington's 9th District

Victoria Fath
Victoria Fath

Lexington’s 9th District council race has a bit of trivia attached to it: Incumbent Jennifer Mossotti’s opponent, Victoria Fath, is the daughter of a woman who sought the same seat in 2004 after Mossotti left the council.

Mossotti is an old hand in Lexington council politics, having served four terms from 1998 to 2004 representing the district that is south of New Circle Road and includes the Stonewall and Robinwood neighborhoods. She also served as an aide to Mayor Jim Gray before running for the council again in 2012.

Victoria Fath said that, like Mossotti, "I've been involved in local politics and been around it for most of my life."

Mossotti is the leader in fundraising in the race, raising $17,274 and spending only $171 as of Oct. 3. Among the donations she received was $1,000 from the Kentucky Realtors Political Action Committee.

Fath's campaign fundraising has been more modest. According to her most recent report to the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance, she had raised $3,427 and spent $2,454. Among the donations she received was $940 from the Women Republicans of Central Kentucky.

Jennifer Mossotti

Mossotti, 60, described herself as "always ... a huge supporter" of the city's Purchase of Development Rights program, which preserves farmland from future development.

"Keeping that land and protecting it has a lot to do with tourism and a lot to do with the character of Lexington," she said.

The top traffic issue, Mossotti said, "is people speeding through neighborhoods. They don't pay attention to stop signs."

The new Summit retail and housing project on Nicholasville Road at Man o' War Boulevard, while not in the 9th District, will pour a lot of traffic into the district's neighborhoods, Mossotti said.

Stormwater woes in the district will always crop up in spots, Mossotti said, but she thinks the area has "been actually pretty fortunate" with stormwater runoff lately.

However, Mossotti said neighborhoods are reporting upticks in criminal activity, such as vandalism.

"Sleepy kinds of neighborhoods are having issues they have never had before," she said.

Mossotti acknowledged that being an incumbent carried some advantages: "I've got a proven track record, but I've always been independent. ... No one knows how I'm going to vote. I'm not an expert, but I've got the experience that I'm able to look at both sides and come up with a good answer."

Victoria Fath

Fath, 27, said she is eager to serve local government.

"I didn't really think I would do it this young, but you've got to start somewhere," she said.

She and her mother, who ran for the same council seat in 2004, will both be on the ballot Nov. 4; Lisa Fath is running for Fayette County magistrate.

Going door to door in the area, Victoria Fath said, she sees "a lot of neighbor disputes, not necessarily grand issues" — such as the behavior of tenants in rental units, border arguments involving fences and parking disputes.

Like Mossotti, Fath said she hears a lot about speeding down neighborhood streets. She also thinks the district was neglected during the icy extended winter of 2013-14.

"Everybody always wants more attention to roads," Fath said. "In the winter, I think we were highly neglected over here" on streets such as Boston Road and Clays Mill Road.

Fath said she believes in a strong base of city services — including public safety and schools — as a driver of economic development. Like Mossotti, Fath said she supports the city's farmland preservation program.

"You make a nice city, business is going to follow," she said. "People don't really want their tax dollars being pumped into these big economic development projects that have no certainty of getting a payback when they see other things that are getting neglected."

About Mossotti, Fath said: "I can't compete with her experience. However, I am very driven, and this is my community. I know the people that live here. I know our past."