Jeffersontown Mayor Bill Dieruf has announced he will run to be the next mayor of Louisville.
Dieruf has served three terms as the mayor of suburban Jeffersontown, which is situated within the boundaries of Louisville Metro and operates as an independent city.
During a campaign announcement Wednesday, Dieruf said he wants to focus on jobs, safety and education.
“We’re going to be a city that is going to be the one that everybody in the United States says ‘I wish I was them.’ We’re going to be the city that they’re going to say ‘I want to move there, I want to move my business there, I want to be a part of there,” Dieruf said.
Dieruf is the first Republican to join next year’s race to lead the heavily Democratic city.
Greg Fischer, a Democrat and current mayor, cannot run again because of term limits.
Dieruf is an accountant and owns a hardware store and previously worked as president of the Kentucky League of Cities.
Louisville hasn’t had a Republican mayor in more than 50 years, though former GOP Metro Councilperson Hal Heiner came close in 2010 when he nearly beat Fischer in his first campaign.
Dieruf has advocated for the state legislature to pass a bill requiring Louisville’s mayoral races to be nonpartisan, a move that would likely make it easier for Republicans to get elected in the city.
During his announcement on Wednesday, he said people need to get past political divisions.
“We have to act like there’s a tornado right now and move this city forward where it needs to go in the future,” Dieruf said.
Next year’s primary election will be on May 17. The general election will be on November 8.
Correction: this story previously stated that Jeffersontown is a “quasi-independent city.” When Louisville consolidated into a city-county metro government, Jeffersontown retained its status as an independent city.