The Louisville Metro Council is losing one of its most outspoken progressive voices. Democrat Tina Ward-Pugh won’t seek re-election next year.
Ward-Pugh served on the old city Board of Alderman, and was an inaugural member of the Metro Council since 2002. She represents District 9, which includes the Crescent Hill and Clifton neighborhoods.
While serving on the council, Ward-Pugh sponsored and co-sponsored several proposals for increased ethics and more transparency and accountability in government, including the Ohio River Bridges Project.
In an interview with WFPL, Ward-Pugh says she is proud of her record, but it’s time for the next generation to takeover.
“There are a lot of new faces and new voices in District 9 that need to be heard. And I don’t want to stay too long and I don’t pretend to have all the best and newest ideas,” she says. “So part of it is letting others figure out what they can offer.”
Recently, the councilwoman joined a non-profit group called WaterStep that seeks to provide clean water worldwide.
As the first openly-gay lawmaker in Louisville history, Ward-Pugh told WFPL it was important to put LGBT rights at the forefront. She was a key vote to the Fairness ordinance in 1999, which barred discrimination against citizens based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.
But Ward-Pugh says tried to keep her personal relationship out of politics for the most part.
“While that meant that I was open and honest about who I was and I answered those questions truthfully when asked, I didn’t beat the community over the head with it. And I’m saying that there is a role for people in this world to beat people over the head with it. It just wasn’t my role,” she says.
Ward-Pugh has also been an advocate for environmental issues in her district, promoting recycling and gardening. Inside of government, she has pushed for more women to run for office on the city and state levels.
Gabe Bullard contributed to this story.