Reid Connelly

Political party: 
Question 1: 

What are the major issues facing the City of Berea?

Some of the major issues facing the City of Berea are: 

1)Continue working to achieve a balanced annual budget.

2)Development of a long-term wholesale purchase energy plan that removes Berea from “playing the market”.

3)Explore new anti-drug initiatives, maintain support of the drug task force, and continue efforts to retain police officers.

4)Continue ongoing recruitment and expansion of industry with new and innovative initiatives to support existing businesses and encourage new local entrepreneurship.

5)Expansion and maintenance of our current trail and path system.

6)Finalization of new tourism advertising initiatives to encourage broader tourist appeal of Berea.

7)Implementation of legislation to address how Berea will handle, reduce, and prevent instances of discrimination and harassment

Question 2: 

What is your position on future growth and development issues as they affect Berea; including further development of historical districts, tourism, and sustainable “buy local” initiatives?

I believe that Berea is in a strong position for continued growth thanks to its proximity to the interstate, the Southern Madison Airport, and the completion of the first phase of the bypass. In order to continue this trend, we need to have a plan that avoids sprawl, encourages infill, and emphasizes the development of local entrepreneurship over corporate franchises.

Question 3: 

Are you in favor of the development of pedestrian and bicycle pathways as safe and practical options to motorized transportation in Berea? If so, what projects of this kind would be your priority?

I am a strong supporter of the development and further expansion of safe pedestrian and bicycle pathways. In particular, I would support projects that focus on connecting all of our schools to the system, an expansion of the network to include the shopping and dining areas at exit 76, building more bike racks throughout the city, classes focusing on bicycle safety and awareness for all age groups, upgrading of roads to include bike lanes, and the development of a Comprehensive Bicycle Plan that sets a goal of becoming officially recognized as a bicycle friendly community.

Question 4: 

State and federal laws do not exist that ban discrimination against people in areas of housing, employment and public accommodation based on perceived sexual orientation and gender identity. Knowing that, would you be in favor of passing a fairness ordinance in Berea that would address this type of discrimination? Please explain.

Yes. I would support an expansion of our fairness ordinance that would include protections based on perceived sexual orientation and gender identity because I believe all people deserve respect and full equality under the law.

Question 5: 

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in the years of 2010-2014, 19.7% of the residents of Madison County lived below the poverty line. What policies will you support to improve the availability of safe affordable housing and increased economic opportunities for all citizens?

In order to address issues of poverty and economic opportunity, I would support policies that focus on creating jobs, encourage adopting a living minimum wage, explore the potential benefits of the uniform landlord tenant act, and encourage the housing authority to expand its stock of section eight housing.

Question 6: 

What actions or initiatives can the city take to provide help and alternatives to families and people in Berea living with addiction?

Helping people deal with addiction can be accomplished in three ways: Education, Interdiction, and Rehabilitation. The city of Berea is best equipped to help families and individuals by focusing on the first two. We should continue to develop effective education efforts in our schools through our police officers. Second, ensure that our police force is equipped with the latest interdiction training so they can stop drugs from entering our community and continue to support the countywide drug task force. Finally, we should seek partnerships that focus on dealing with drug rehabilitation and treatment.

Question 7: 

What measures do you support to foster good relations between law enforcement officers and our local community?

Because of a commitment to a philosophy of community policing, I believe that Berea is fortunate to already have a positive relationship between local law enforcement and the community. Some initiatives that our force has already taken that have contributed to this positive relationship are being an early adopter of body cameras (6 years ago) and providing officers with diversity training, but we can always do more. To ensure this relationship remains positive, it will be important to continue communication efforts already in in place and to seek feedback from the community through the use of community policing surveys. Additionally, I would support efforts to make our police force more visible by interacting with the community through the use of beat walking, mentoring programs, and assisting the development of neighborhoods groups that hold meetings officers could attend.

Question 8: 

Last year there was a great deal of controversy around the selling of confederate flag merchandise at the Spoonbread Festival, and Berea students reported being harassed on the basis of race while in town. Given that, what measures do you support to address racial harassment in Berea?

There are two ways that I believe City Council could assist with reducing instances of racial harassment in Berea. First, the Council should adopt an ordinance that establishes a set of guidelines that would apply to any organization that requests the use of city property or resources. This would ensure that rules are communicated to everyone and applied fairly and consistently. Second, I believe that the city should undertake an education program to help inform our residents of the resources already available through the Sheriff's office and local police forces for dealing with instances harassment.

Question 9: 

Berea is in the midst of making long-term decisions about where and how it gets and manages its wholesale electric power. Beyond safety, reliability and affordability, what considerations should be made with respect to Berea's electric power choices?

Beyond safety, reliability, and affordability, the most important considerations in respect to Berea’s electric power purchase choices are creating a true long-term plan and flexibility. I’ve been fortunate to have attended a majority of the power purchase meetings and it’s clear that the city still lacks a true long term plan. Council needs to agree on a plan that will move the city away from volatile short-term market based contracts and adopt a true long-term plan to secure a low power price for the next decade. Additionally, we need to continue to explore the options to build a diverse power portfolio that includes renewable options and has the flexibility to adapt to changing industry regulations.