Election 2020

Current District 4 Councilwoman Barbara Sexton Smith is not running for reelection, and there are six Democrats vying to replace her. There are no Republicans running in the primary, so whichever candidate wins the June 23 Democratic primary will take office in January 2021.

District 4 is a large district; its neighborhoods include Russell, Smoketown, NuLu, Shelby Park and Downtown.

WFPL held a virtual candidate forum on May 27 for all six candidates. You can view the forum in its entirety here. The following answers are drawn from the candidates remarks during the forum, and are edited for clarity when necessary.

The Candidates

JECOREY ARTHUR is a musician and educator who lives in the Russell neighborhood.

Jessiebeth Photography

Arthur says his priority is improving life for the city’s poorest citizens, many of whom live in District 4. He also wants to create a Black Louisville Agenda involving organizations such as Simmons College of Kentucky, where he teaches and with which he has a close relationship. Arthur also identifies as part of the American Descendents of Slavery (ADOS) movement.

Listen to Arthur’s opening statement:

Listen to Arthur’s closing statement:

Arthur on how he would represent the diverse district
Arthur on police reform
Arthur on grocery access in District 4
Arthur on ideas for economic growth in District 4

Courtesy Robert LeVertis Bell

ROBERT LEVERTIS BELL is a JCPS teacher and Democratic Socialist and former vice president of the Shelby Park Neighborhood Association. He is critical of the influence of developers in Louisville and is in favor of a “Green New Deal” for the city.

Listen to Bell’s opening statement:

Listen to Bell’s closing statement:

Bell on how he would represent the diverse district
Bell on police reform
Bell on grocery access in District 4
Bell on ideas for economic growth in District 4

RON BOLTON is a clinical lab assistant at the University of Louisville and president of the

Amina Elahi

Schnitzelburg Area Community Council — despite currently living in Shelby Park. Bolton is focused on neighborhoods, and wants to focus on preventing displacement and increasing healthy food access.

Listen to Bolton’s opening statement:

Listen to Bolton’s closing statement:

Bolton on how he would represent the diverse district
Bolton on police reform
Bolton on grocery access in District 4
Bolton on ideas for economic growth in District 4

ADAM CAPERTON is a real estate agent and former social worker based in NuLu. He says

Courtesty Adam Caperton

he wants to promote small business growth across the district, and plans to rely on his business and social work backgrounds to serve residents in all neighborhoods.

Listen to Caperton’s opening statement:

Listen to Caperton’s closing statement:


Caperton on how he would represent the diverse district
Caperton on police reform
Caperton on grocery access in District 4
Caperton on ideas for economic growth in District 4

ALETHA FIELDS is a teacher and community activist. Her platform includes pushing for a living wage, representing people she describes as marginalized. She says she is focused on building relationships with people of all groups across District 4. She also ran for the seat in 2016.

Courtesy Aletha Fields

Listen to Fields’ opening statement:

Listen to Fields’ closing statement:

Fields on how she would represent the diverse district
Fields on police reform
Fields on grocery access in District 4
Fields on ideas for economic growth in District 4

DARRYL YOUNG is the manager of Programming at the Muhammad Ali Center and is

Amina Elahi | wfpl.org

involved with the Synergy Project, a local initiative aimed at improving community-police relations. He plans to create an advisory council made up of members from all of District 4’s neighborhoods, as well as a youth council.

Listen to Young’s opening statement:

Listen to Young’s closing statement:

Young on how he would represent the diverse district
Young on police reform
Young on grocery access in District 4
Young on ideas for economic growth in District 4

The Issues

QUESTION: District 4 is one of the most diverse in Louisville. It encompasses the commercial downtown and several residential neighborhoods, which are themselves varied in terms of race, socioeconomic status and other factors. How will you work to make sure you engage with and equitably represent all the groups in your district?

Jecorey Arthur:

“District 4 actually touches 16 different neighborhoods. And you all are very right. District Four is the most diverse, most populated, most vibrant district in this city. But we’re also the most poor, the most homeless, the most starved and the most dangerous district in this city. Out of all of the candidates, I’m the only one who is living in one of those top two poorest ZIP codes. And we have to understand and realize that when you come from the bottom, you have a very different level of determination to make it to the top.

“So in terms of serving everyone in our district, as soon as I’m the councilman I’m going to implement something called the District Four summit. We’re going to meet every year, maybe even twice a year, we’re going to talk about problems in the district, work on solutions, allocate NDF in an equitable way. And also make sure that we draft reports so that everyone in the district is well aware of what’s happening in the district.

“When I say that NDF is going to be equitable, I mean that [right now?] NuLu can apply for funds from the Neighborhood Development Fund in the same way that Russell can. It doesn’t make sense. When your wealth position is different you should be able to apply for those funds differently in an equitable lens.

“I’ll also add that communications will be vastly different: as the youngest candidate and the youngest Metro Councilman I’m going to make sure we’re using Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, phone blast, text blast every means of communication possible so that everyone knows what’s happening in the district. Because I’ve met so many people while I’ve canvas that say they say they don’t know what’s going on here. And we need better communication and someone who is connected and has an understanding of that technology to use that communication.”

Robert LeVertis Bell:

“[District] Four is a tale of two cities, you know, we have luxury hotels, but we also have probably the highest homeless or unhoused population in the city. We have these amazing public works projects, stadiums and such. And yet we have the highest level of gentrification probably in the city.

“So, you know, when we look at the different neighborhoods in our city, you have people in Russell have their own set of interests, you know, the Vision Russell proposals that are looking to preserve their community in the face of the attempts to gentrify it. You have the different businesses who are experiencing various levels of insecurity in response to the COVID crisis, especially our small businesses in NuLu but also elsewhere, Shelby Park, all throughout the district. So you have to be able to talk to and engage with every one of these stakeholders and talk to them about how we’re going to recover from this crisis and how we’re going to address the various crises that these individual neighborhoods are currently dealing with.

“I think Adam mentioned that the Government Center and the issues they’ve been dealing with over there in Paristown Point, also the Original Highlands, just getting to be listened to by the government, when it’s time to engage with these extreme renovations with the Urban Government Center project. We have these sort of dog and pony shows where the government representatives come to our communities; they ask us for input regarding how we want to renovate these areas, how we want to engage our neighborhoods. And then when it comes down to the brass tacks, we end up just going with whatever Louisville Forward says they want to do.

“So, you know, all this is a sort of convoluted way of saying that we have to start listening to the various stakeholders and all the different neighborhoods, we need to start actually participating in community-led zoning community-led development and really sort of trying to bring as many stakeholders to the table as possible.”

Ron Bolton:

“To represent all the neighborhoods that are in this district, you have to have some understanding of what it is that these neighborhoods are. I don’t know about everyone else. But I’ve had the pleasure of living in four of the neighborhoods in the district. I’ve lived in Downtown. I’ve lived in Schnitzelburg. I’ve lived in Russell and I’ve lived in Shelby Park. Each neighborhood has its own needs. The biggest problem that we have to face is the developers that are coming for us.

“I’ve already seen it in Schnitzelburg, and through my counterparts in Phoenix Hill and Butchertown, I am helping them get through these steps that I had to go through three years ago.

“The biggest step that I even learned from Barbara Sexton Smith herself, is you have to say ‘no’ to these people. Admit your mistakes when you make them. And just make sure that the plans that finally come forward, represent the neighborhood and the people that are living there now. We can’t plan for a future if we’re just planning to shove everybody out.”

Adam Caperton:

“District 4 is a very diverse district. It represents every kind of person in Louisville, which is where my passion lies. I will take all the tools and ethics that I use in my social work that I currently use in my real estate business and work hard for all people. The different neighborhoods in District Four represent many different issues that are different from each other. Butchertown, Phoenix Hill: they’ve got concerns regarding parking. Shelby Park, Schnitzelburg, affordable housing. The Russell Park neighborhood, you know, the Russell choice initiative program that is in phase one, or maybe phase two really needs to make sure that the COVID-19 doesn’t stop its development and continue to go.

“So I feel strongly that my background in social work and working with all areas of town in real estate, I welcome that opportunity. I think District Four is one of the coolest districts because of its diversity. And I look forward to taking that opportunity and serving everybody in the district.”

Aletha Fields:

“I believe the most critical way that I can serve the diversity in District Four is to continue doing the wonderful work that I have been privileged to do inside of my career as a public educator, and that is to build critical relationships with people at all levels inside of District Four.

“I believe that if I am willing, and I know that I’m able to serve the diversity of needs inside of our community, not just neighborhoods, but also the diversity in terms of culture, and in terms of ethnicity, in terms of all the different factors that we can label ourselves. I want to be the person who represents people fairly. And that comes through understanding what’s important to people. And that is building the relationships.

“I’m a dedicated public servant. My passion only gets stronger every year. And I’m very excited about that, because I don’t feel myself slowing down by any measure by anything. So I want to bring fair representation to all citizens inside of District Four and do my city proud.”

Darryl Young:

“We talk about the diversity in District Four. It starts by building relationships and creating stakeholders. Part of my platform is to help break down some of the silos we see in our district. We have 14 distinct neighborhoods in District Four. We should be telling the same exact story that we tell about Smoketown when talking about NuLu. But sometimes we build up other neighborhoods and we tear down other neighborhoods, because we only recognize some opportunity in some neighborhoods and affluence in other neighborhoods, and then sometimes we’ll talk about neighborhoods, I won’t talk about the crime rate, or we talk about the poverty rate.

“We have to talk about District Four, all of it, as a livable, workable place that’s equitable for everybody. And you create stakeholders by bringing people into the decision. Part of my experience is I actually served as co-chair for the One Love Louisville Initiative, which oversees the office protecting other neighborhoods, initiatives to create a better, more equitable, Louisville. When the office first came about, over 300 people came together to write the work plan. I think it’s that kind of collaborative work model that has to be implemented in District Four.

“We need folks to feel like their voice matters in this district. Part of my platform is actually creating two different oversight councils made up of everybody from the district of all neighborhoods, one being for adults in our district, and another being for youth. So people feel like they truly have an authentic voice. They have a reason to care about their district, be able to communicate with their councilperson and also get to know one another. So it’s not Russell versus Smoketown. It’s not Merriweather versus Phoenix Hill, but that truly everybody feels that they live in a connected neighborhood.

QUESTION: Authorities are continuing to investigate the fatal shooting of Breonna Taylor. Meanwhile, family and community members, as well as activists and supporters outside of Louisville are demanding the police officers who shot into her apartment be fired and charged. What reforms do you think are necessary at the Louisville Metro Police Department?

Jecorey Arthur:

“Well, first, I’d like to say that Kenneth Walker is currently on house arrest. His charges were dropped, but he needs to be let go of that house arrest right now immediately. And I share Councilwoman Jessica Green’s sentiments that he is a hero and anyone who thinks otherwise is a hypocrite because if someone breaks into your home unannounced, you got to be real about the situation. I would shoot back and you probably would too to protect your family.

“I want to put this killing into context. In the 1820s, the police department was founded to maintain and regulate the slave population in this city. In the 1920s, we saw first black police officers. One was a woman. One was a man named William Woods. William Woods was killed for mistaken identity by a white drug addict in the line of duty. 100 years later, we have Breonna Taylor being killed, really for the same situation: mistaken identity.

“So from the 1820s to the 1920s to the 2020s, we have been getting killed by this city’s police department. My phone has been ringing off the hook from the mayor’s office to the mayor himself. They are asking me what we should be doing about this situation. So this work is already happening from me. I’m already talking directly with the family, I’m already working with organizers such as Chanelle Helm from BLM, Cassia KFTC, the ACLU. And we are going to demand no-knock warrants be banned. Barbara Sexton Smith said that last week then changed her tune. That’s not good enough, because I would rather much save a life than save the evidence that police are so worried about being destroyed. All three of those officers need to be fired without pay, they need to be charged for murder. And when I’m in office, we’re going to make sure that these police officers are held accountable for any crime that they commit.”

Robert LeVertis Bell:

“Well, I want to echo everyone’s comments about the Breonna Taylor tragedy, murder. My thoughts are with her family. Obviously, the charges against Mr. Walker should have never been filed, he shouldn’t be on house arrest, etc.

“I’ve also done this work for a very long time. Back in the early 2000s, I was one of the chairs of the Citizens Against Police Abuse, CAPA. We worked to put what is currently the civilian review process into law.

“I want to talk a little about policing in general, though for a second. I say this all the time, you know, Abraham Maslow said that ‘If all you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.’ And many of these police shootings occur because armed police are the poorly-forged hammer we use to approach these disparate problems that have far better solutions. More than just getting upset when these predictable murders happen, these communities are being terrorized and then we offer platitudes and we offer our sorrows to their families. And perhaps we even put police on trial for their crimes, which actually we should, but we need to evaluate and reevaluate our priorities of what it means to create a secure, safe community. Initiatives that improve the quality of life for the most precarious members of our community, those who are likely to be the victims of police violence: the poor, the young, the housing insecure, the jobless, the mentally ill. We do that and that will repay us in a safer and healthier society far more than armed police and more mass incarceration.

“So in short, we talk about police reform we’re talking about we need to our priorities and our society in general: decriminalize drug possession, expunging possession-based criminal records, abolishing cash bail, expanding restorative justice initiatives, allocating more funds to programs for youth, jobs and community mental health. Obviously we need to get rid of no-knock [warrants].”

Ron Bolton:

“In the area of this tragedy, I mean, this was a first responder who was in her own bed and was shot and killed by the police. They’re supposed to be protecting us. The first step that has to be done without question, without reservation: all police officers wear body cameras all the time. It’s my understanding that due to budget cuts, we’ve had to cut back on police academy classes. We’ve got fewer cops on the streets right now than we did two years ago. Well, now we’ve got more cameras available. I want to know what they’re doing. So we don’t have to ask questions, ‘well, what happened?’ Why did this person have to be killed just to come to a point like this.

“I’ve heard that the charges [against Taylor’s boyfriend Kenneth Walker] have been dropped by the county attorney. But at the same time, and I believe this was a WFPL article, it cited that they still have the option of bringing further charges against him in the future. He was defending himself in his apartment. We need to drop it and be done with it.

“Outside of that, with the similar tragic, tragic killing, that happened in Minneapolis. A few years ago, Minneapolis put into effect a rule with the police that officers are obligated to step in when unreasonable force is being used on someone. So we don’t have to see someone having their neck crushed until they suffocate and die. We need a rule like that with LMPD. So body cameras, and a rule that other officers have to step in when excessive force is being used.”

Adam Caperton:

“I am saddened in anger that an EMT was gunned down in her own home early in the morning after a no-knock order was issued and police entered her home. I do applaud Tom Wine for dropping the attempted murder charges on Kenneth Walker but I have to say I feel like no charges should have ever been filed to begin with.

“The no-knock order needs to be reviewed and if used should be reviewed by the mayor and the chief of police before implementing. Also, if no-knock warrants are issued, then body cameras must be on. This will cover both the LMPD and those involved. The police chief is retiring, and I propose that the Metro Council work with the mayor and the community and Metro Council to identify the new police chief.

“Recently we’ve seen a string of cases that have shown a lot of police misconduct and abuse of power and downright murder. And I say it is about time that the mayor and the Metro Council come together to fully support a Citizens Review Board with the authority to subpoena people who have information and helping to complete an investigation.”

Aletha Fields:

“This tragedy with Breonna Taylor highlights the corrupt behavior of certain individuals who are entrusted with the public safety and that must be redressed immediately. Charges need to be brought against those officers and the no-knock warrant needs to go. When officers are not willing to identify themselves, that is putting multiple people — particularly non-white people — in harm’s way, especially if they choose to defend themselves like Mr. Walker did.

“I agree with Adam that we do need a Citizens Review Board to address what goes on in regards to police violence and police brutality. And the wrongful death of Breonna Taylor is inexcusable. The excessive force that was used needs to be investigated and the gross negligence by a Citizens Review Board. That needs to be an independent oversight agency that can investigate review and audit and also recommend or make the disciplinary measures for the police officers who do violate in this particular way to be held accountable. We need to hold public servants accountable.”

Darryl Young:

“I think this tragedy is just another in a long line of state-sanctioned murders that you see perpetrated against Black people.

“I truly am devastated by the death of Breonna Taylor and all Black people who are murdered by the police. It’s something that keeps on happening. And it seems like the only reward for killing Black bodies is administrative leave with pay.

“We talk about reform, I do support a Civilian Review Board. But to everybody’s point, we talk about the ability to have subpoena power. That’s something that currently Metro Council does not have the power for. The mayor will tell you that. We would have to go and work through the General Assembly to get subpoena power. So we really have to figure out what is in our own power in the city to really enact change to make sure that we’re not just offering platitudes and flowery language and we talk about that we care about people like Breonna, people like Kenneth Walker who’s still sitting in the jail to get his process out.

“I will say one thing I do think we can do quickly, is the fact that there are so many times we see unarmed black people in duress, whether it be mental health issues, or whether it be physical illnesses that are causing them to act out. Those do not need officers to respond to. Those need trained professionals to respond to those calls. We need to figure out a way that our police department can work with experts, therapists, psychiatrists, people who actually know how to handle things. So that we’re not sending people who don’t know what they’re doing out there and putting themselves in situations to murder Black people.”

One of the major issues affecting the quality of life for residents across District 4 is a lack of access to fresh and healthy groceries. How would you address this?

Jecorey Arthur:

“Well, first I would be serving on the Community Affairs, Health and Education Committee to also help fight environmental injustice but of course, our food apartheid injustice that’s been happening. Something we have to come to terms with is that in order to do good business, which opening a full service grocery store is good business, we have to stop doing bad business.

“When you go through our communities in the urban corridor of Louisville, you’re going to see so many Family Dollars, so many of these small convenience stores that are supposed to be serving our communities food. They don’t have fresh food, and in many cases, the food they do have is overpriced. So we need to put an ordinance in place that limits not only the dollar stores, but also the stores that are exploiting our communities. Because when you limit those and we don’t have as many, then we can attract a full service grocery store. Then someone like Megan Bell, who is trying to find a grocery store independently and locally on her own, can actually create one for our community, because our community is in desperate need of food, which is going to impact safety, which is obviously going to impact health, which is going to impact everything outside of your body. So it’s important we make that happen.

“I’d also implement community commandments so that every neighborhood in this district all 16 of us can make sure when developers move in, when stores move in, when anyone moves in, you have to abide by these commandments. So if you don’t have fresh food in your convenience store, you are not welcome here. And we have to stand on that and demand that so that we can not only create local jobs, but we can also feel local stomachs.”

Robert LeVertis Bell:

“I want to reiterate a lot of things other people already said. The lack of access to affordable, healthy foods is indicative of the structural inequalities in our food system and it’s all connected to housing insecurity, job insecurity. And this is all holistic and our responses have to be holistic. There are grassroots food organizations that are working in District Four that deserve to be recognized as public goods in our city. We need to really advance our efforts towards advocating for Fresh Stop markets and urban agriculture and those who doing that work in our city already.

“Additionally, we should advocate for a living wage, improving public transportation routes, things that other people are talking about as well. And inventive solutions. There’s a program called ‘Stack full of produce’ in Stockton, California, where they give infrastructure grants to corner stores, the convenience store owners. They give them infrastructure upgrades so they can promote the sale and storage of healthy food options. It’s not like all the small corner stores in our communities are, you know, not serving healthy or not providing healthy foods because they don’t want to. A lot of times they simply don’t have the resources to be able to do that so we can assist them in that way. We need to protect our currently existing urban agriculture and our tenure arrangements in order to protect these land spaces from land speculation. We do spend a lot of public dollars raising awareness about the health, social and financial benefits that these operations bring. You know, I worked very closely with people over the years who have done this work. And I think we have a lot of expertise in this community, in this city, that we should be tapping into and advancing to solve these problems with things like food insecurity.”

Ron Bolton:

“There are chains out there similar to Aldi that are spreading across the US. There’s one in particular it’s called Lidl. It’s another German chain just like Aldi. They currently have stores going from New York all the way down to Atlanta. They are spreading as fast as they can along the coast. Well, at some point, they’re gonna have to take a step inland. That’s where we need to be waiting for them. It’s my understanding that the city has talked to them in the past, but I’m stubborn. I want to go talk to them again. I’ll drive to the corporate office–I think it’s in Virginia. Let’s go knock on their door. Let’s say ‘hey, this is what we’ve got.’

“You know, the city owns a lot of property that just sits there. And you know, sometimes issues and development deals that we’ve all seen go bad. So I think that we should sit there and say, ‘you know, I’ll let you have this piece of property. I’ll give it to you for $1 a year for 100 years, as long as you operate a grocery store there.’ And all of a sudden we’ve got people beating down our door because they don’t have to pay rent. They’re getting these choice locations that they could not afford, or would have to pay thousands and hundreds of thousands of dollars for.

“As far as farmers markets go, a lot of them are maxed out. The farmers market here in Schnitzelburg did not make it because we could not get enough people to come and be vendors at it. As far as urban agriculture, I am on the board for Louisville Grows, and that is one of their initiatives. There is plenty of room in this county for people to grow enough produce to sell; we’re going to have to specialize some people to do it properly. But the people are there, the initiative is already there. We just need to get the word out a little bit better.”

Adam Caperton:

“District Four does not have a grocery store and it is a food desert. I will be the one to lobby with the grocery store industry. A real grocery store that everyone is welcome in– not the high end market and was placed in the Omni. We need to support the local marketplaces that highlight our local food industry and buy locally when possible. Fresh markets, just like the one in Phoenix hill that started last week, are good for neighbors. They bring collaboration, they bring a sense of community which are important. I will make bringing an affordable grocery store into District Four a priority of mine, and with my real estate background and negotiating skills, I’m the person that can do this.”

Aletha Fields:

“I don’t use the term ‘food desert.’ We have a food apartheid in District Four. There’s not a lack of food– a desert even has thriving, living things but a food apartheid is where we have grocery stores who are redlining and refusing to come into certain ZIP codes, because they won’t serve people in certain socioeconomic statuses.

“So, one way to address that is to directly call that out. And also look at who the developers are who refuse to build sustainable grocery stores inside of District Four. The sustainable food movement is growing by and large, but I would support urban agriculture and rooftop gardens, things like that, as well as community gardens. I believe that’s another step in the right direction. I also believe that we should lobby strongly to have grocery stores that are willing to serve healthy food at affordable prices that bring better health outcomes in our citizens in District Four.”

Darryl Young:

“So I think there are a number of things that can be done to talk about food insecurity in the Fourth District because as we know, we do not in the limits of District Four have a grocery store, a full-fledged grocery store.

“One of the things that I really do believe in is uncomplicating the navigation to fresh food. If you write a TARC, which many residents in District Four do, you know sometimes just to get to the grocery store, you have to ride two or three buses, having to lug groceries, bags, buggies that you have all over the city just to get to the grocery store and back, which can take hours. It’s extremely inconvenient. I would work with TARC to create rapid bus routes to go directly to grocery stores where we have them at. I also believe that we do need to fund with grant dollars we do need to fund and expand programs like the Fresh Stop initiative so that all neighborhoods have access to fresh healthy foods. I also believe in urban agriculture and redistributing or repurposing abandoned lots for things such as community gardening and bio gardening as well.”

Let’s talk about opportunities to promote economic growth, both downtown and in neighborhoods such as Russell where historic practices have impeded a lot of that kind of activity over time. What would you do as a council member to support healthy economic growth in District Four?

Jecorey Arthur:

“As I’ve said, we have the poorest district, the most unhoused district and our current Councilwoman is not sitting on the Labor and Economic Development Committee. So, as soon as I’m in office, I’ll make sure I join that committee so that everyone in our district has access to economic opportunity.

“I’m going to focus on creating not just more jobs, but also high higher paying jobs. Louisville is 16 out of 17 according to peer cities in this area, when it comes to high wage jobs, so we need to make sure that we’re focusing on adding new jobs, but also adding jobs that pay more. I’ll be looking for new streams of revenue. As brother Darryl just touched on, he talked about expanded gambling, he talked about medical cannabis. We need to fight the state and make sure that we have the leverage to do what we need to do because we help fund the rest of the state, so we need to have the liberty to make sure that we can help fund ourselves. And by ourselves, I mean the people, our community that lives here.

“And then also I’ve been working with a number of organizers who are working on bringing a professional sports team, specifically in the NBA, to this city. We have the biggest college rivalry in the country. Why not have a professional NBA team that is going to help bring 10s of millions of dollars of revenue to the city of Louisville. I’m going to prioritize training and hiring people who live in the neighborhood where those developments are, and ensure that all businesses have equal opportunity and access to economic boom. Because as we know, the Kentucky Derby has shut off and neglected the West End of Louisville, even though over half of the first 30 races were won by Black jockeys. So we need to make sure that that justice is happening, not only economically but also socially and musically and artistically and otherwise, because our end of town is being neglected.”

Robert LeVertis Bell:

“We talk about economic growth; you have to ask ourselves ‘growth how and growth for whom?’ You know every day we watch our city slowly decay. District Four feels that as much as anywhere. The buses aren’t running as they should, our libraries are underfunded. We’re losing community centers, swimming pools, parks. In the same district, we have luxury hotels, sports stadiums being built with millions of dollars of taxpayer money.

“Recently the National Bureau of Economic Research published a paper that illustrated what we already know, which is that there’s no evidence that these firm specific tax incentives like the ones we gave the Omni actually increased broader economic growth at the state and local level. It’s just been basically a giveaway. So we need a city that works for working families. And when we talk about how we are going to mobilize growth, when you talk about how we’re going to build a city that lasts for the next hundred years, one things I’ve talked about a lot is the Green New Deal. The Green New Deal is simply this: we know that climate change is inevitable. And we know that in order to prepare our society, in order to even possibly even still have a society, still have a human race, we’re going to require lots of work and lots of inventive solutions to these problems.

“One of those things that we’re going actually need is lots of workers who are doing the important work of rebuilding our society, making the buildings that we have more sustainable. So we need to be partnering with JCTC, with JCPS and prioritizing specifically in communities that have been underserved by environmental racism, or racism in general, and finding the people in those communities, the children now in those communities, the young adults, finding them well-paid union jobs that are going to help rebuild our society and make our society sustainable for the future.

“That’s what the Green New Deal is. And I think that’s how we grow for everyone. We grow for our society, we grow for our working families.”

Ron Bolton:

“I think we need to look at the examples that are already working in the district. If you look out in Russell, Reverend Dr. James Ferguson, I always mess up her titles. She is a friend of mine. We have discussed neighborhood things for years. Through her church, St. Peter’s, they are doing the mobile village. They are creating aiding a development that is by the community for the community. And in the process of putting this building together, she is already helping people that have been through prison and other unfortunate situations to get them back into the working population and possibly even start a business of their own.

“Now once we get past things like this, these bigger projects, we have to look at what the neighborhood itself wants. I’ve talked to people in the past, out here in Schnitzelberg it’s like if you want to sell alcohol, we might have a problem. But if you want to sell a beer, who cares? Out in Russell, they don’t want that either. But you have to see what the neighborhood wants. Once you identify what the neighborhood wants, then that is where the council member would have to step in.

“We can host like small business classes for people specifically in the Russell neighborhood. You want a small business? Well guess what. Right now with COVID-19 going on, that’s what we need. We need small businesses. Here’s how you can do it. Just giving everybody the tools that they do not already have, helping them find the money that is probably already out there available. Just find it, make your dream come true and build your neighborhood.”

Adam Caperton:

“I’m looking at what we are going to be experiencing post COVID-19. And what COVID-19 has taught me, in this pandemic, is the financial and health care inequality that exists in our city, our city’s working families, and especially working families of color. We need to support people out of work by advocating at the state and federal level for further assistance and working with nonprofit partners to find innovative solutions to support Louisville residents and our city’s growth into the future.

“We must support new employment opportunities in our city that pay living wages to employees. We also need to be advocates for our small and local businesses who are hurting because of this crisis to receive financial assistance from the federal government. These are just a few things that I have issues that are coming to light, regarding the COVID-19 issues, and we are going to really have to look outside of the box and come up with innovative ways to create revenue on this forum, and affordable housing.”

Aletha Fields:

“I really support small businesses. I believe that investing in small businesses is the way to make our community stronger. It offers services and goods that people want inside of their neighborhoods. And it also provides employment for people inside of those neighborhoods. I also believe that as we move forward in development and supporting our communities, we need to hear from the people themselves of what they want, what they would like to see and what would be beneficial to them. So I do believe though small business is the way to go: shopping local, and empowering our own community members to make a difference.”

Darryl Young:

“One of the challenges that we face is we talk about revenue and bringing money into the area is that Louisville does not have a way to really MP special taxes or things of that nature; it has to go through the assembly. We’ll talk about revenue generators that we’ve seen, like expanded sports betting, we talk about legalization of marijuana. We talk about these other issues that we can see raise money. They sound like great ideas, we want to put them in Louisville. But for us, we really only have so many metrics. They usually involve raising people’s tax dollars.

“I think we have to really figure out how do we go to Frankfort? How do we actually work with our representatives who are in the assembly? We have great representatives in the city. But how do we really start saying, ‘if this is what it takes to get this done, this is the operation to do it. This is the committee. This is the group that’s going to go and advocate for us to be able to make these changes that our current city structure does not allow us to make.’

“I do support small business loans. I do support creating new entrepreneurs in our district and supporting them in Louisville. We really got to talk about how we want to actually raise capital. We talk about a city that is going to be devastated. We talk about the pandemic, putting the budget shortfall on the city as well as what we’re already facing from the pension crisis.”

Amina Elahi is WFPL's City Editor.