Katie Startzman | Kentuckians For The Commonwealth

Katie Startzman

District/Office: 
Political party: 
Nonpartisan
Question 1: 

What is your vision for Berea? How will the lives of the people in our community be improved as a result of your time in office?

I envision a welcoming, diverse community with healthy residents living fulfilling lives. I see a Berea known for its vibrant small business culture, lively arts scene, and bustling industry. Our city’s schools, child care centers, and college will be standard-setting institutions for our children to grow and thrive. Our town’s sustainable infrastructure will support a growing population. Successful public/private partnerships that address the social service gaps in our community will underscore the commitment of city leadership to address the challenging issues Berea residents face. This work will be conducted by a city leadership that is forward-thinking, proactive, and thoughtful- able to work together towards the common good of vibrant, resilient, and inspiring Berea.

            People in Berea will benefit from my service as a city council person as I will use my entrepreneurial skills to bring innovation and creativity to the council. I will strive to work cooperatively with city leaders, citizens, and other stakeholders to work towards a shared vision. Also, I will be a responsive, engaged council member who serves with integrity.

Question 2: 

There is still no state law expressly prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. While the Supreme Court ruled Title VII's sex discrimination protections apply to LGBTQ+ people (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning, and Queer) in the workplace, housing and public accommodations protections do not exist for LGBTQ+ Kentuckians at the state or federal level. Many neighboring cities have passed a Human Rights Ordinance that includes these protections for LGBTQ+, often referred to as Fairness Ordinances. Do you support the passage of a Fairness Ordinance in Berea? Why or Why not?

I support the passage of a Fairness Ordinance in Berea, because I believe members of our community should not be discriminated against based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.

 

Question 3: 

Many people are moving to Berea for new opportunities, and as our community grows, we need to work to make sure that housing opportunities fit the needs of everyone who calls our city home. These housing needs are especially pressing in the current pandemic crisis, which is causing many people to fall behind on their rent and will likely increase the need for affordable housing, rental assistance, and services and support for people who lose their housing. What do you believe the city can and should do to make sure we have safe, fair, and affordable housing in Berea?

The recent work of the Codes Department to create an updated comprehensive plan and land use map will inform future residential development. I was asked to be a part of the comprehensive plan committee and was honored to think about these issues more deeply. As a part of this work, we considered the ways Berea can grow and planned to create infrastructure that supports increased population growth. Creating new areas in town that allow high-density residential buildings (like apartment buildings), encouraging mixed-use development, and promoting findings that support more affordable housing are just a few ways this process and document will inform the housing needs in Berea in the future.

            I would like to examine the work that other cities have done to expand tenants’ rights and create a standard of conduct for landlords- the Human Rights Commission has done work on this already- but the council needs to support it- and the current council apparently does not see the benefit of this work. Finally, BMU should implement incentives to help consumers lower their power bills- for example, on-bill financing for energy efficient appliance purchases would also make housing more affordable.

Question 4: 

What is the role of the Berea City 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.

Recent events in Berea have demonstrated that we are not immune to the blight of racial inequality. At the very least, we should have a city council that can affirm that the lives of Black people matter, and condemn systemic racism. I admire the anti-bias training that the Berea Police Department has conducted in the past, but I think it would be great to extend this work to the City Council, and other city departments.

Question 5: 

In June, the Berea City Council approved a city budget for 2021 which reduced funding for the Berea Human Rights Commission to $500. Do you support restoring full funding for the Human Rights Commission?  What other specific ways do you plan to support the work of the Human Rights Commission?

I support the work of the Human Rights Commission to “promote mutual understanding and respect among all economic, social, racial, religious, sex, age, and ethnic groups.” I believe it is important for the commission to have the resources and tools they need to do this work.

Question 6: 

In 2015, Berea included the Berea Energy Costs Savings Plan (BECS) in the city’s comprehensive plan. The plan estimates potential savings of $639 per household per year. However, a majority of the plan’s energy savings recommendations have yet to be implemented (street light upgrades, utility peak load reduction, distributed energy feasibility, solar farm leasing program expansion, etc.). If elected, what will you do to implement the BECS recommendations?

Berea is in a unique position to affect positive change in this arena as we have a municipal-owned utility. I am unfamiliar with the history of the 2012 BECS plan, but after reading it, I feel it would be great for the current city leadership to re-visit this document to determine how we can further implement the recommendations in the plan. I am most interested in supporting the transportation implementation strategies, as increasing pedestrian and bicycle transportation is already a priority of mine. The first step of this work is adding to the city’s proposed trail map and including bicycle lanes and trails that would focus not just on recreational use, but how we can get around town using non-car transportation.

            As we are also facing increasingly tight city budgets, the strategies for reducing the city’s energy usage makes sense to implement as soon as possible because they would reduce the city’s expenditures on utilities. Not only does this make sense from an energy consumption standpoint, it reflects responsible stewardship of taxpayer resources.

Question 7: 

We are currently experiencing a global pandemic, which has brought up a need for social distancing, more effective utilization of public space, and mask mandates both locally and statewide. How will you work with the local health department and other entities to encourage compliance with state mask and social distancing mandates? What actions should our city and members of the city council take to slow the spread of this disease in our community?  How would you evaluate the city’s response to COVID-19?  Have you been involved in responding to the virus?  If so, please explain?

Berea is in a unique position to affect positive change in this arena as we have a municipal-owned utility. I am unfamiliar with the history of the 2012 BECS plan, but after reading it, I feel it would be great for the current city leadership to re-visit this document to determine how we can further implement the recommendations in the plan. I am most interested in supporting the transportation implementation strategies, as increasing pedestrian and bicycle transportation is already a priority of mine. The first step of this work is adding to the city’s proposed trail map and including bicycle lanes and trails that would focus not just on recreational use, but how we can get around town using non-car transportation.

            As we are also facing increasingly tight city budgets, the strategies for reducing the city’s energy usage makes sense to implement as soon as possible because they would reduce the city’s expenditures on utilities. Not only does this make sense from an energy consumption standpoint, it reflects responsible stewardship of taxpayer resources.

Question 8

Did not respond.

Question 9

Did not respond.