Willy Fogle | Kentuckians For The Commonwealth

Willy Fogle

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?

Lexington's revenues are forecast to increase at a rate lower than future expenses. So it will be crucial to effectively and efficiently manage how taxpayer dollars are spent. There will most likely have to be cuts small and large and it will be necessary to find new revenue streams to make the City's balanced budget work. The budget must be balanced by law. I know the budget inside and out with my 19 years of reviewing the City budget in every aspect as a former Lexington Councilmember, former aide to the Mayor, and as a Council Aide. My experience is invaluable and will ensure that I hit the ground running on day one. I will not require the extensive learning curve that inexperienced candidates have on how the City budget works. It is an intricate process involving hundreds of millions of dollars. With strong commonsense leadership in place, I envision a thriving Lexington where people want to live, work and play--and other cities want to emulate. Where ALL people have the equal opportunity to prosper and want to call our community "home." We need to preserve what makes us special and expand our reach in hi-tech and Agricultural businesses that provide good paying jobs.

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?

I currently work with several organizations that serve our homeless population such as the Hope Center, Nathaniel Mission, Rescue Mission, Lighthouse Ministries and Catholic Action Center. I would fully support the ongoing efforts of the City's Office of Homeless Intervention and Affordable Housing to ensure that they have the funding and tools needed to effectively meet the needs of this segment of our community. I will also focus on how we can encourage the private sector to build more affordable housing. We are all in this together and there is certainly more that can be done on this front. Lexington must partner with Fayette County Public Schools to properly address this important issue. I welcome the partnership opportunity.

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.

Discrimination on any level is unacceptable. The Council must work with the administration to ensure that the proper policies and procedures are in place to address hate and discrimination. Lexington is a very welcoming community and we must work hard every day to ensure it remains so. I fully support the efforts of Lexington's Human Rights Commission to address discrimination and will work with my Council colleagues to ensure the Council is properly addressing such community concerns. All voices deserve the right to be heard and fairly represented by elected officials.

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?

As a former City Councilmember, experience has taught me that it is important to review these cases on a individual basis. Each situation is unique and requires in-dept consideration. No matter the individual circumstances however, all people should be treated with respect and not be discriminated against and afforded the opportunity to due process. Due process balances the power of the laws of the land while protecting the individual from it. Ongoing conversation is crucial towards ensuring the City Council is best serving and balancing the current and future needs of the community.

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?

I fully support enhancing Lexington's long-term sustainability and resilience in response to environmental resource and energy challenges. I will work to ensure our sustainability goals, priorities for implementation, and implementing programs are where they should be. I agree that the youth of today will inherit the world of tomorrow and we must educate, empower, and inspire our youth on this front. We need more efforts such as Lexington's Green Check program--a certification program that recognizes businesses for their green initiatives and helps them expand their sustainability efforts. Bluegrass GreenSource is another excellent effort and resource that I applaud for their work in ensuring we continue to press forward to minimize Lexington's carbon footprint. Buildings, energy systems, transportation, water infrastructure, and waste prevention and management must all be reviewed and revamped as applicable.

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?

Open communications with constituents is essential. Keeping citizens informed via newsletter and neighborhood meetings and such is paramount. I would encourage citizens to attend or watch Council budget discussions. Sadly, very few people do. Public safety, basic and social services would be my priority. Lexington is facing a mounting pension liability and we must proceed cautiously. Every budget dollar is precious. I will fight to make sure that operations that have dedicated taxes that are not general fund dollars are used first in those areas; like solid waste and sewer. If we do that effectively, we will have more General Fund dollars to use elsewhere as needed. Budget prioritization experience is what I can offer as the next 9th District Councilmember and thus be very effective down at City Hall in ensuring our citizens and neighborhoods are receiving the essential, commonsense representation they deserve.

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?

Local government has never been more accessible but all too often, citizens are unaware of how to take advantage of the various avenues for communicating their views. We must do more to educate the community at large of the numerous ways to participate in the process. As a Lexington Councilmember and later a Council Aide, it was my experience that unless the issue is extremely controversial, the public rarely takes the time to weigh in. All things considered, there's a certain degree of understandable apathy in our current culture but the old adage is true, "All politics is local." That said, I am certainly open-minded to new considerations. Simply because our Council Work Sessions and regular monthly Council meetings are always held on Tuesdays and Thursdays doesn't mean the schedule shouldn't be adjusted going forward. I invite and solicit public feedback always.

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?

Discrimination for any reason, on any level, is patently unacceptable. Bullying is equally as reprehensible. I support the full enforcement of the Fairness Ordinance. It's the law. I supported its creation while serving on the Council previously and am proud that Lexington was out in front on this issue. I want my soon-to-be-born first grandchild to grow up in a community where all people are free from hate, fear, discrimination, and bullying.

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.

I applaud and support the efforts and fact-finding mission of the City's Task Force on Neighborhoods in Transition. Councilmember James Brown is doing an extremely commendable job on leading the effort. The data that is determined through that task force will be a welcome guide on how we as a community must address this concern. Clearly, spiking rents and displacement are unacceptable and unjust evictions must be stopped. Ongoing investment in our neighborhoods is healthy and welcome but we must ensure that occurs through smart planning.