Colby Khoshreza | Kentuckians For The Commonwealth

Colby Khoshreza

Political party: 
Nonpartisan
Incumbent: 
No
Question 1: 

What do you think are some of the most pressing issues facing Lexington in 2020? What is your vision for Lexington, and how will the lives of Lexingtonians be improved as a result of your time in office?

There are many important issues facing Lexington. At the top of the list is the safety of our citizens. The number one job of local government should be to keep its citizens safe. This requires that we continue to adequately fund police and fire services as well as ensure that we have an appropriate number of first responders to address the needs of our citizens throughout the county . Preservation and growth are also ongoing issues of significance. As Lexington grows, we must be strategic about using the existing space inside the urban boundary so as to protect our farmland. At the same time, it is important that we identify and protect dedicated green space in our local neighborhoods. I will be a councilmember who advocates for effective policy for our entire city while remaining a strong champion for the residents in my district.

Question 2: 

In 2015, nearly eight hundred students in Fayette County Public Schools were homeless. There is also a severe shortage of affordable housing for people in our community that make minimum wage, even when they are working full time. What will you do to address the problems of homelessness and the lack of affordable housing in our community?

Lexington has and continues to make strides in terms of affordable housing and decreasing homelessness. As a result, we saw a 12.5% year-over-year decrease in the number of homeless residents in Lexington from 2019 to 2020 (LexCount). I will commit to supporting the Office of Homeless Intervention and Prevention and continued funding for the Affordable Housing Trust Fund. I will be involved in the the strategic planning process on homelessness and housing and encourage community and non-profit leaders to get involved as well. Long term we must set forth plans for preventing homelessness, rapid rehousing and permanent housing, affordable housing, creative funding for affordable housing, and accessibility of substance and mental health services.

Question 3: 

What is the role of the Lexington Urban County Council in opposing white supremacy, addressing racial inequality and supporting racial justice for Black people, Indigenous people, Latinx people, immigrants, those who are undocumented, and all people of color in our city? Please identify at least two policy initiatives you would propose while in office to address racial and systemic inequalities.

I will support policies that continue to make Lexington a welcoming and inclusive city for all people who wish to visit or call Lexington home. The Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government should take a leadership role in supporting fairness and equal treatment for all citizens regardless of race, ethniticy, or national origin. One major area of interest is recruitment and training of diverse candidates to serve on city boards and commissions. Many boards and commissions are currently lacking in members who reflect the diverse demograph which represents Fayette County. I am a gradaute of United Way's Get On Board program which was designed to train diverse candidates to serve on non-profit boards. Working with the administration and fellow council members to engage and recruit diverse and minority community members for boards and commissions is crucial to effective governing. When diverse citizens have a seat at the table to make policy our city will be stronger.

Question 4: 

In recent years, elected leaders in the Kentucky legislature have been pushing for more proactive cooperation with federal immigration agencies, including U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. What is the role of local city councilors in this conversation about protecting undocumented immigrants in Kentucky?

No local law enforcement officials or local tax dollars should be used for ICE investigations or deportations. If ICE wishes to conduct federal immigration initiatives in Lexington, it should be with their own agents and at their own expense.

Question 5: 

The science on climate change is more robust than ever, and many agree that we are in a critical moment for the future of our planet. What has you concerned about climate change? What will you do as a city councilor to minimize Lexington's carbon footprint?

Climate change is highly concerning and is an immediate issue for our country. As a city, we must continue to do our part. We can play a role in combating climate change by promoting and encouraging more robust recycling programs, expanding and enhancing our mass transit services, and improving our general climate education in our city. We can also work to make city owned buildings more energy efficient and form partnerships with our utility companies to promote smart meters in homes throughout Fayette County.

Question 6: 

How would you include constituents in your district and across Lexington in the development of the annual budget? What area(s) of the budget would you prioritize funding? What revenue increases would you propose to meet our city’s future budget needs?

Public safety is funding priority number one, always. Other essential services (roads, sewers, traffic systems) must also be given top consideration. I plan to host quarterly district wide meetings where I can gain feedback and engage in frequent communication with my constituents. I will also host frequent social events at local coffee shops and businesses to stay connected with the residents in my district. I generally do not support revenue increases. It is important that we look at how to be more efficient with our revenue and resources before asking working families to pay more in tax dollars. I will always keep an open mind, listen proactively, consider all feedback offered by my constituents, and be the voice for their suggestions and concerns as the Council plans and administers the budget.

Question 7: 

Important meetings in the local government are often held during hours when many working folks are at work or unavailable. What specific initiatives would you enact to make local government more accessible to those who may not have the time or resources to participate?

I plan to host quarterly district wide meetings where I can gain feedback and engage in communication with my constituents. I will also host frequent social events at local coffee shops and businesses to stay connected with the residents in my district. I will stay connected via social media, produce a monthly newsletter for distribution to district residents, and promote LexTV (on TV and online) for those who wish to watch and stay updated on government meetings from the comfort of their homes. Social media is one of the greatest and easiest ways to stay in touch. I am very accessible - in person, via phone, email, or social media. I promise to always contact my constituents back in timely fashion.

Question 8: 

Transgender students are more vulnerable to bullying than their cisgender peers (Cisgender is a term for people whose gender identity matches the sex that they were assigned at birth.) What protections or policies would you propose or support to protect trans youth in Lexington from bullying and discrimination?

It is important that all people feel loved, welcomed, and accepted. I will always support LGBTQ offices and services within our schools. These offices offer resources, counseling, and support services to students struggling with bullying or acceptance. I have many trans friends and I know that they want and expect the same rights and value being treated with the same dignity as their CIS counterparts. It is important to make sure that trans students feel comfortable and safe in communicating with their teachers and other school personnel preferred pronouns/preferred names from day one. Making gender-neutral or non-designated restrooms available at each school is also an important step to making sure trans students feel comfortable in their school environment. It is important to have open communication with our schools, colleges, and universities as we work to make Lexington a more welcoming and comfortable place for all.

Question 9: 

What is your plan for ensuring that long term residents are not displaced from neighborhoods that are undergoing redevelopment? What is your position on Tenants’ Rights ordinances that seek to protect renters from unjust evictions? Please explain.

All landlords should be required to follow Kentucky law regarding eviction proceedings. I would be open to supporting ordinances that protect renters from unjust evictions. Maintaining a supply of affordable housing - especially as neighborhoods undergo redevelopment - is important to ensure residents are not displaced. We must continue planning and investing in affordable housing and promote/approve small and mid-size mixed-income developments throughout the city and especially in neighborhoods where there is risk for displacement.