Akers, Dunn strongest for District 2

Shevawn Akers
Shevawn Akers

The three Urban County Council candidates in District 2 show promise of one day being able to fill the big shoes left by Tom Blues. But they have a ways to go.

A retired University of Kentucky professor, Blues is one of the council's most astute and productive members but is not seeking a fourth term.

Competing to succeed him are Shevawn Akers, Brannon Dunn and Lisa Sanden, all residents of newer suburbs along Leestown Road.

Of the three, Akers has the most varied experience and is running the best campaign by far. A social worker with a master's degree, she has volunteered her time to all sorts of good causes and progressive politics, from fighting breast cancer (she's a survivor) to promoting walking trails.

She wants to advocate for parks in the 2nd District, where she says public amenities such as basketball and tennis courts have not kept pace with population growth. She's also an advocate for affordable housing.

Dunn, an entrepreneur and the Greater Lexington Apartment Association's 2012 maintenance technician of the year, would bring to the council important, but too often overlooked, perspectives and experience.

As a volunteer in Community Organizers of Lexington, or COOL, he is working to channel teens away from violence into constructive activities.

He's concerned about low-income suburban youngsters who are isolated with no access to bus service, no place to walk and no way to get to jobs if there were jobs for them. He also wants to end what he sees as the neglect of older neighborhoods such as Davis Bottom and Irishtown.

Sanden, founder of the Fayette County Cemetery Trust, has done more than anyone to protect Fayette County's forgotten family cemeteries from being obliterated as formerly rural areas are developed.

She is well informed and comes across as someone who does her homework and researches issues.

Her lackluster campaign has come as a disappointment. She has failed to file campaign finance reports and is considered delinquent by the state Registry of Election Finance. Her lack of engagement in the campaign raises concerns about whether she'd be engaged as a council member.

Our endorsements of Akers and Dunn to advance to the November ballot come with some reservations.

Dunn needs to sharpen his understanding of the council's role. While he's correct that education could solve many problems, the council has no say over schools and little role in education policy.

Both Dunn and Akers need to show an interest in digging into the nuts and bolts of the city's operations and a commitment to providing the time-consuming and sometimes mundane services required of a district council member.