Jerry Rex Peluso

Political party: 
Question 1: 

Over the past several years many residents have found it difficult to find meaningful employment that is accessible to them. What steps will you take to ensure that residents in our more urban neighborhoods will be able to have the same opportunities as other communities, and to ensure that every part of the city benefits from economic development?

In recent years the city of Newport has been very successful in attracting business resulting in job creation. Since 2114 over 800 new jobs found it's way to our community. These jobs range from service type positions to medical to professional and the future looks even better with over $1.8 billion in development investments planned in the next few years. Newport is only 3 1/2 sq miles in size and with all the development activity that's occurred and going to happen is phenomenal.

Question 2: 

Redevelopment in Newport has resulted in the relocation of affordable housing units and the present/former occupants. Given the model of concentration and isolation of the former generation of public housing, this relocation presents both challenges and opportunities. How do you plan to provide greater opportunities to low income residents while affirmatively furthering fair housing? 

I believe public housing unfortunately for many has become a lifestyle instead of temporary housing. Even though many residents of Public Housing became successful far too many became permanent residents generation after generation. 

The city of Newport is very cognizant of affordable housing needs and has been doing our part in addressing this issue. 

Since my time on the board we have partnered with many agencies to create affordable housing opportunities. Agencies such as Habitat, HONK, Birghton Center, and Neighborhood Foundations. 

Senior Centers such as Saratoga Place, Clifton Hills, Corpus Christi and the Highland Heights center have all occurred during recent years.

The Scholar House that opened about a year ago gives single parents the opportunity to further their education and a safe place for them and their children to live.

Creating Homeownership opportunities for lower income individuals and their families throughout the city in recent years is well documented and unprecedented. In just the last two months I attended 2 ribbon cuttings for homeownership by Habitat, both on Isabella street.

Question 3: 

Newport is one of the most diverse cities in northern Kentucky when it comes to racial and ethnic make up, and has many vibrant neighborhoods. Yet some residents see a distinct lack of representation on city boards or in city employment. What steps can the city take to make sure that community boards and city employment are representative of the city as a whole? 

Under the direction of our current city manager (last 10years) the city of Newport has been aggressive in trying to hire people from all backgrounds including myself as Mayor who appoints residents to city boards. I know as Mayor I have and will contiune to seek out and recruit quality people from different racial and ethnic backgrounds. During my time i found out it's very challenging because of many things. With a population of about 17,000 people including the small number of people we're looking for it becomes difficult. Issues are ; most aren't interested at all or because Newport might be a temporary home until the next city. 

The city of Newport will contiune to deliberately recruit potential qualified employees from all backgrounds regardless of our challenges.

Question 4: 

Currently there are several 'brownfields' scattered throughout Newport. The most well known of these include the L&H Tool & Die site at 12th and Lowell, which was profiled in an USA Today article detailing brownfields and lead contamination, and the former Newport Steel location. What can the city do to help clean up these and other sites, and promote development that will enhance the communities surrounding them?

Through grants,  the city of Newport has identified brownfield locations. Most if not all are potential development sites. 

As these sites are purchased the clean up will begin.  A perfect example of this is the 19th street ( clifton hills senior center ) that had traces of a petroleum base product in the soil due to a former dry cleaning business. Before construction started all the soil that needed to be removed was back holed out and sign off by the State EPA.and the department of HUD.

Question 5: 

Citizens returning home from incarceration, and even those who have finished their probation and parole, often have trouble returning to their communities. Several cities and states have fostered initiatives aimed at helping these members of our community get back on their feet. Louisville and Cincinnati, for example, have removed questions about previous convictions from hiring applications. What steps do you feel Newport can and should take to help folks re-enter our community?

The city of Newport has hired people through the halfway program set up by the courts system. 

The residents from the halfway program (transitions) are recruited through their work experience with the public works department.

Question 6: 

Currently people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer (LGBTQ+) lack protection from discrimination in housing, employment, or public accommodation under state or federal law. Eight cities in Kentucky have passed their own expanded human rights ordinance, often referred to as a Fairness Ordinance, to extend protections to LGBTQ+ individuals. These cities include towns as small as Vicco (population 334), as large as Louisville (population 760,026), and as nearby as Covington (population 40,640). Do you support a Fairness Ordinance for Newport to protect LGBTQ+ individuals from discrimination?

Newport kentucky is one of the most diverse cities in the State. And thoughout my 29 year career as an elected official with the city of Newport I have never heard of anyone being discriminated against for whatever reason. 

Employment is a non issue and Federal Law protects employees.

Housing; as a landlord and someone who knows many landlords,  again I've never heard of any type of discrimination from anyone.

With that all being said, the city of Newport was one of the leaders in NKY to insure civil unions through our employee  Medical Health program ( June 1st 2012 ).

In addition, this past spring I attended along with city of Newport employees a diversity class presented by Mr. Jerome Bowles from the NKY NAACP. And during his remarks he stated " the city of Newport is THE leader in all of NKY in addressing diversity issues and for getting out in front of them".