NewsCovering Kentucky


Candidates for Lexington mayor, Fayette County attorney participate in forum

lexington mayor candidate forum.jpg
Posted at 6:20 AM, Apr 27, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-27 06:20:05-04

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Incumbents and their challengers faced questions at a forum in Lexington Tuesday evening. Several organizations came together to host the event, focused on law enforcement, racial justice, and accountability. The questions focused a lot of policing, racial inequities, and affordable housing.

Incumbent Lexington Mayor Linda Gorton said that while homicides have risen the last couple of years, she said they are down this year. She also said her office has done a lot to figure out how to make housing more affordable and has created a department of housing advocacy that is just getting up and running.

"We've fought through the violence and our numbers are showing real improvement. The facts show that this time last year, compared to today, our gun violence, our gun homicides, are down 50% and that is a fact," Gorton said.

Challenger Adrian Wallace, who is a veteran and works in community development, said there are too many disparities in how officers police the city, focusing too much on minority communities. He advocates for a civilian oversight board for the police department and also said the mayor's office needs to push housing-first programs to help solve homelessness.

"I'm running because I don't believe we need any more politicians. We need true public servants and my record proves that's what I've done since I left the military. We need folks who understand how to build community, promote economic growth and stability, and expand educational opportunity. We need folks who understand policing," Wallace said.

Current Lexington councilmember and mayoral candidate David Kloiber said the mayor's office needs to make sure officers are policing equally across the city and said the city needs to incentivize home-building to increase inventory and help make housing more affordable. He also said the current budget is unsustainable.

"Our city faces many problems and to hear it talked about today, we would be led to believe that everything's already being done in order to solve them, all while gun violence is rising, housing costs are rising, and we have wage disparities hanging like a dark cloud over our entire city," Kloiber said.

Incumbent Fayette County Attorney Larry Roberts and challenger Angela Evans also took questions at the forum. Evans said she sees clear disparities in the cases the office prosecutes and in the sentences that come down in the cases.

"It is time that we are smart on crime, by acknowledging not just the crimes that we have, but how they disproportionately are impacting people. That is a part of what the county attorney's office should be doing. We are a part of this community and we need to be involved in that discussion and see what we can do to correct those disparities that have gone on," Evans said.

Roberts said he doesn't see a disparity and said his office judges each case on its own merits, challenging people to point to any specifics. He said he would not prosecute any cases he thought were wrong.

"The county attorney's office has a four million dollar budget from three different sources. Four million dollars that we manage every single year and not one time has there been a discrepancy or a scandal about that money. That's very important, because that takes a lot of work to handle that," Roberts said.

Primary Day is May 17.