A brazen shooting in the Parkland neighborhood is having an impact on the race for the Louisville Metro Council District 1 seat in the final days of the campaign.
Last week, six people were shot and three died in a spree of shootings in the west Louisville district that made national headlines. In the wake of the violence, community and elected leaders have called for unity and cooperation from residents, but the five-way Democratic primary race is still a horse race.
Observers, however, have criticized incumbent Councilwoman Attica Woodson Scott and primary opponent Ray Barker Sr., who held separate press conferences last week that were minutes apart at the same location. Scott says she didn't know about Barker's event and the two aren't dueling over the tragedy, adding everyone is trying to make sense of the violence.
“I believe that what this has done is let people know that we care as elected officials. We live in the neighborhoods where this type of violence happens, it impacts us and they know that we’re humans too. And I wish that I’d known about his. I didn’t even know he was having one. I got down to our press conference and he was there. He didn’t actually have one until ours finished,” she says.
On Sunday, Mayor Greg Fischer and a number of ministers and activists met at Cole’s Place, a club in west Louisville to urge District 1 residents to cooperate with police and fight to take their neighborhoods back. Several speakers talked about job programs, reopening the Parkland Boys & Girls Club and taking personal responsibility for the community's welfare.
Waymen Eddings is Barker's campaign manager and attended the rally. He says the candidates have different approaches to dealing with the violence, and Barker is better equipped.
“Working shoulder-to-shoulder with Ray he's also sought collaborative relationships with all stakeholders—religious, government, business, community and youth-oriented service providers. So you’ve seen Ray extend his hand out to be cooperative. You have to speak to the other members in our community whether they reach back out,” he says.
Democrats Janis Carter Miller, Rosa Macklin and Steven Colston are also vying for the seat. James Ponder has withdrawn from the race, but his name will still appear on the ballot.