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LEXINGTON, Ky. (FOX 56) – Voters will be deciding their primary pick in several local races on May 17.

Four candidates are on the ballot Tuesday for Lexington mayor, however, William Weyman is not actively campaigning.

The other three spoke with FOX 56 about their ideas for Lexington’s future. Next week’s primary will narrow that list down to the top two.

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As for why they are running for mayor?

“We have a lot of things that we have not been able to do during the pandemic and so I want to finish some of the work we’ve started,” Mayor Linda Gorton said.

“With violence going through the roof with housing costs continuing to increase, and wages not keeping up with inflation we have some real work to do,” councilman David Kloiber said.

“I don’t believe we need any more politicians – we need true public servants – people who believe in building community promoting economic growth and stability and expanding educational opportunity,” candidate Adrian Wallace said.

The candidates all shared a passion for seeing Lexington grow. They want to keep the cost of living affordable while capitalizing on economic development opportunities. The conflict between them came out in the city’s approach to crime.

“Much of what our current mayor says has been done through her administration is a façade, the program that she hails as violence reduction program actually hasn’t been able to attribute to a lower crime rate at all,” Wallace said.

“The violence it has to be addressed, currently we are not using a proven policy in order to try and address and reduce the violence on our streets,” Kloiber said.

Challengers Kloiber and Wallace said the city is on track to beat out last year’s record for homicides. Incumbent Linda Gorton argued homicides are lowering and violent crime is down 4% from last year. She believes her approach takes time. 

“Somebody doesn’t just naturally pick up a gun at age 20 and decide to shoot somebody, many of those people have violence in their background they were raised in abusive homes, there are poverty issues,” she said.

Since taking office, Gorton has continued investing in ‘One Lexington,’ which she says helps mitigate crime “downstream,” while also building on the city’s community policing model, utilizing neighborhood resource officers. Gorton’s competition does not believe it’s effective.

“It misses the systemic and generational aspect of poverty and it doesn’t get down to the community level to look at asset-based community development and what resources we already have in the community,” Wallace said.

Kloiber is interested in a different approach, Group Violence Intervention.

“This program has been used for 20 to 30 years and has been shown to have a 60% reduction in violent crimes in areas where it’s been utilized,” Kloiber said.

“They paid to use GVI and their homicides are going up and we didn’t feel that was a good Lexington-focused program,” Gorton said, explaining her administration’s prior decision-making to not explore GVI.

The candidate conversations covered more than just crime. Homelessness, infrastructure and traffic, keeping Lexington affordable, and overall what about their experience makes them the better candidate were part of the conversation. Stay with FOX 56 for more information on their responses.

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