Questions and Answers
How would you address the economic crisis Frankfort is facing due to COVID-19?
To be concerned about this terrible pandemic and to also be worried about the resulting economic impact are both reasonable reactions to COVID-19. The impact on small businesses and the financial markets will take years to recover from for our community, long after there are therapeutic remedies, and eventually a vaccine to the virus. I would like to see a coordinated effort between the city of Frankfort, the local chamber of commerce, and FDIC insured lenders that could make their services available for all small businesses in our city to qualify for SBA loans, federal, state, and local grants, and disaster relief funding. One of the hardest things to do for a designated small business is to cultivate these very important relationships that are necessary to have access to emergency funds from governments after a crisis such as this. I would also hope that the local health department would be able to start antibody testing to determine when it is safe for businesses, large and small, to begin dealing with the general public. The balancing test to minimize exposure while also sustaining minimal financial impact on our local economy is a difficult but necessary one that must be navigated in the near future.
What is your opinion of the Kentucky Capital Development Corporation (KCDC)?
I believe that the concept of economic development has the potential to transform Frankfort/Franklin County unlike any other initiatives that the community may undertake. However, I believe the current state of KCDC and economic development in our community has lacked a long term vision and cooperation across entities including government and most importantly, the Frankfort City Commission and the Franklin County Fiscal Court. There are lots of resources that are currently untapped and are available to help craft that vision of a prospering future Frankfort. But, sadly these resources have not been used or even explored thoroughly. We continue to operate as if our community’s best times happened over 30 years ago. I would propose bringing all of these resources, including KCDC, together to develop a short term and long term vision of what we want our community to be and then begin the action plans to get us to that brighter future through the retention and growth of existing businesses while also targeting appropriate new businesses that can help lead to higher paying jobs and the addition of residents into our community.
Discuss an important issue that not enough people are talking about.
According to FBI statistics, as a resident of Frankfort you have a 1 in 25 chance of being a victim of crime. 92% of all cities in Kentucky have lower crime rates than our capital. In Frankfort, a cycle of high unemployment for unskilled laborers under the age of 35 has created no opportunities to better oneself. A cycle that devolves into a chronic life of crime and drug abuse that is highlighted with repeated appearances before Franklin criminal courts.
We need training for well paying jobs. We need industry to provide those jobs. And we need treatment options to truly end the cycle of addiction. During this COVID-19 crisis there were a number of break ins and auto thefts on the East Side of Frankfort. These are crimes of opportunity and necessity to fuel drug addictions to marijuana, methamphetamine, opiates, and cocaine. We have had multiple murders in the last two years that centered around drug transactions. And yet, the numbers of crimes in our city are rising annually. Our police force, one of the best in the Commonwealth, is spread thin and they are simply providing short term incarcerations for truly addicted individuals with very few resources to treat this scourge upon our community.
Our city needs opportunities for improvement for the lives of young people. And we need treatment options for those already stuck in this deadly cycle. Our law enforcement need proper and thorough funding for training and technological improvements including body cameras and dash cameras for every officer with adequate backup and storage of all data from these devices.
It is not an overnight fix for this community. It will be hard. But we can accomplish so much for our city. We can battle the scourge of drug addiction and crime that has plagued our city for decades. We can offer new job opportunities for those struggling to gain employment. And, we can build relationships between our police and law enforcement and our citizens that can change an entire generation.