If you’re elected mayor, what are your top priorities for the city?


Bastin:
Crime is our most pressing issue, I’m told this by nearly everyone, everywhere I go. People are worried about neighborhood shootings, keeping their children safe in schools and the violence that is spurred by the opioid epidemic.

In response to this overwhelming concern, I have a six-point, multi-faceted, community-based approach to lower crime rates and stop crime before it starts. Crime is not just a police problem, it’s a community problem that takes all of us working together to get to the root causes of crime such as educational disparities, poverty and lack of opportunities to make better choices.

Lexington needs a Mayor who can tackle crime, drugs and school safety problems head on from the first day in office without a learning curve. I am the only candidate who has lived and breathed public safety for an entire career. My entire six-point plan, which encompasses law enforcement, drug enforcement and prevention, school safety, root cause interventions, One Lexington and partnering with the community, can be viewed online at www.bastinformayor.com


Gorton:
My overriding priority is to provide well-grounded and broad leadership, based on my many years of experience, as I articulate my vision and tackle the challenges that inevitably face the city. My vision encompasses guiding Lexington’s sustainable growth as we welcome the high-tech and support jobs created by our designation as the largest gigabit city in the country; promoting our unique brand as a city full of creativity and vitality surrounded the prettiest, as well as productive, farm country that can be found. The opportunities for workforce development, tourism and high-tech agribusiness are boundless.

Yet my overriding priority is to help ensure our citizens live and thrive in a city that is – Number One – safe. That means supporting our community policing and tackling the opioid and other drug problems with my collaborative approach that involves mental and physical health, social services, and taps into the fine research into addiction conducted by the University of Kentucky. It means appointing a Neighborhood Liaison to tackle issues that arise in our many diverse neighborhoods, including fear of gentrification. It means instituting smart signaling and calling upon the best minds – here and elsewhere – who can help us address our nagging traffic problems. It means strongly supporting and leading efforts to enhance our parks and green space and ensure that all our citizens can access the arts. And it means helping to ensure all our citizens reap the benefits of top-listed city.


Increasingly, we see cities and states across the country legalizing the possession and use of marijuana. Would you support any form of marijuana legalization in Lexington? Why or Why not?


Bastin:
I do not support recreational use of marijuana, but I am open to physician prescribed use for cancer patients and other with chronic or end-of-life illnesses.


Gorton:
Legalization of marijuana is a state issue and I will be following that debate if it comes up in Frankfort in January. My only interest is exploring the possible limited, legal use of marijuana for medicinal purposes.


What specific plans do you have in mind to improve the quality of Lexington’s schools?


Bastin:
I will partner with the Fayette County Public School systems to support our kids in any way possible. As Mayor, I’ll also be an advocate for pre-school education, ad use the city’s grant funding to direct local agencies to invest more in early childhood education.

When it comes to school safety, I have a plan to Offer backup law enforcement resources to Fayette County Public Schools as needed; while helping schools to find the latest technology for metal detectors. The plan also looks to assist FCPS with logistical support to ensure that weapons and drugs aren’t getting into our schools.


Gorton:
As you know, the city has no direct oversight of schools, but there is much we can do to support the efforts of our school system. I have a long history – from the time my children were students in public school students here – of hands-on support. As mayor, I will be a strong advocate for our teachers and public employees at the state level. I will appoint a liaison dedicated to working with our schools to assess how we can identify barriers in our children’s environment that impact their success. We must collaborate to create school-to-jobs tracks for students and support and strengthen existing innovative ideas that impact education.


What steps, if any, would you take to increase transparency and alleviate citizen concerns about corruption in city government?


Bastin:
I can promise that a Bastin Administration will be transparent. I have a history of operating this way as a city leader and will continue to do so.


Gorton:
Lexington citizens deserve a transparent government that represents their values and responds to their concerns. My record has always supported transparency in government (and in campaigns). The city budget, for example, is the vehicle for spending our citizens’ tax money, and as vice mayor I led transparent negotiations for spending. We need to be sure that citizens are able to understand the workings of government – in part by creating user friendly processes and holding those who do business with the city to the same standards.


If you are elected mayor what meaningful changes will the citizens of Lexington experience in their daily lives?


Bastin:
I have the energy and ideas to lead Lexington with a fresh perspective. Since day one of my campaign, I have worked around the clock to listen to community concerns, release robust plans to tackle our biggest issues, and meet with as many residents as I could.  Anyone can look at my website, or social media to see that I have built a broad, diverse coalition. A Bastin Administration will be committed to diversity and look like Lexington – not just a zip code


Gorton:
My top priority is to continue Lexington’s unprecedented growth and address the rise in crime while also refocusing on the daily things that impact citizens most.  I will work to see that our neighborhoods become centers of interaction again and that we invest in the traffic infrastructure that improves commerce and quality of life.  All of Lexington should be safe for people to pass through freely without fear.  When government is at its most effective it can help ease the stressors of daily life and that’s where I hope to add meaningful change.


Lexingtonians are increasingly frustrated with constant and widespread road construction and maintenance. Do you have any plans on how we can both maintain our infrastructure and enjoy our city at the same time?


Bastin:
Lexington is growing and will continue to grow. We must work with developers, businesses and residents to find work—rounds for transportation and foot traffic—especially in areas of construction.


Gorton:
While road maintenance is necessary and traffic modernization is a must, we can better mitigate the impacts by investing in the technology that makes our traffic patterns smarter.  We also have to be better at preemptive communication of traffic issues and navigation around troublespots.  Many times, construction work is not coordinated with the many events and attractions that brings large amounts of vehicles on the roads and we need to be better at helping Lexingtonians and our neighbors coming into town navigate their way.


Is increased partisanship having negative effects on local government? If so, how would you address the issue?


Bastin:
Lexington’s city government was wisely set up to be non-partisan. Because of this we avoid many of the issues that plague other government entities.


Gorton:
When the creators of our merged urban-county government deliberated about how to make it most effective, they wisely decided that all city elections be conducted on a non-partisan basis. This is sometimes difficult for voters to understand, especially in our current highly charged, partisan climate. But as mayor – and to the degree possible as candidate for mayor – I will ensure that partisanship is not a factor in our governmental processes. I’m proud of the reputation I’ve earned in my 16 years of office as the one who has worked successfully to create a collaborative atmosphere in city government. I’m determined to welcome views and ideas across the board – it’s in that way only that we can tap into all the creativity and innovation our citizens have to offer. And it’s my hope that, by working in this way, I can lead a government that gives citizens some relief from the partisan bickering that dominates state and national news and offers a model for how to function more effectively.


Do you consider relocating City Hall to be a need or a want?


Bastin:
As a fiscally responsible Mayor, I will provide leadership in the next four years to address the need for a New City Hall in the most cost effective way for the community.  We must be clear-minded and fiscally responsible when thinking about any new solution for City Hall.

Throughout the campaign in talks with hundreds of citizens the need for a New City Hall has not been voiced as a top priority.  However, as Mayor I will balance the needs for a City Hall solution with the other pressing priorities throughout our community. A Bastin administration commits to having a fair and transparent process to reevaluate possible solutions.


Gorton:
I consider modernization of our city offices to be an integral part of streamlining government process and making it more responsive to our citizens and adaptable to a growing, changing city. I’m aware, too, of the costs of maintaining our decrepit city hall. But I want to observe the discussion currently under way about the pros and cons of moving or building a new building. That decision might be made by the current administration and should not be influenced by our mayoral campaign. If the decision falls to my administration, I will look carefully at all our options and lead discussion and decision-making on the most frugal as well as effective way to go.


How do you propose to lessen socio-economic disparities in Fayette County?


Bastin:
One of the best ways to lessen income inequality is to create pathways for better paying jobs in Lexington. I plan to partner with local businesses, universities and other interested parties to make sure we are training our workers for the jobs of today and tomorrow. Everyone who wants a good paying job in Lexington should have a good paying job.

I believe Mayors help to foster the climate that creates and attracts jobs. As mayor I will listen, and work closely with businesses, universities and the local community to help fuel Lexington’s job creation machine.

Lexington has 8,638 businesses that have at least one employee. As mayor I will be committed to the sustainability and growth of these businesses, while making it easier for more entrepreneurs to start businesses. While on the campaign trail, I have been disappointed to hear from many small business owners that they have had a hard time dealing with bureaucratic red tape as they worked to open their businesses. As mayor I will streamline government processes and make a one-stop shop for business services for those starting businesses or looking to expand.  Government must remove the barriers to successfully starting a business. Making it easier to start and maintain a business will lead to more job creation in Lexington.

This is one of many ideas I have for workforce development, others can be viewed on my website: www.bastinformayor.com.


Gorton:
I will begin by ensuring I assemble an inclusive, diverse team that understands the many facets of life impacted by socio-economic disparities in Fayette County and is willing to roll up their sleeves and work with our communities to develop solutions from the community up rather than a one size fits all approach.  Where diversity requirements for housing vouchers makes sense we will work to implement it.  These vouchers can be expanded to other disparities as well based on need.

The other component to this is my localized workforce development plan to disperse the office throughout the community to provide training and development based on local needs.


The National Golf Foundation reports that the number of golf players age 18-34 has dropped nationwide by 30 percent over the last twenty years. Lexington’s public golf courses cost city taxpayers $960,000 in 2017.  Would you consider a plan to either close and repurpose, or sell off some of the city’s golf courses?


Bastin:
Providing safe and accessible public recreation facilities for residents of Lexington contributes to an overall high quality of life. In addition, green space and other amenities are a tourism draw and necessity for making sure we can draw working professionals and families to Lexington. Keeping parks, pools, golf course and other public spaces open and financially viable are an important investment for the city of Lexington.


Gorton:
This is a thorny problem impacted by environmental and developmental restrictions on some of our courses, in addition to that fact that many of our citizens continue to utilize our beautiful courses. Golf offers folks, especially our seniors, a relatively inexpensive way to remain active. I’m in favor of looking for ways to utilize our courses more widely, possibly instituting some multiple uses.