Two hopefuls new to Frankfort city government, Donna Hecker and Kyle Thompson, have thrown their hats into the political ring and announced their candidacies for mayor.
Days before Thompson and Hecker announced their candidacies, City Commissioner and former Mayor Bill May officially announced his candidacy, while current mayor Gippy Graham said he won’t run again.
Here’s a closer look at the two newest candidates:
Donna Hecker says her first area of focus for the city would be “the basics.”
“Making sure when people call the police or fire they receive the help they need, (and) making sure garbage is picked up are what I think to be the basic roles of a city government,” Hecker told The State Journal.
If elected, Hecker said she’ll evaluate those basic services right away, and keep from making changes if they’re efficient.
Though she says Frankfort has a steady tax-base, she wants to look at the budget without cutting salaries or pensions.
“I’m really interested in what they are doing in Fayette County and Lexington with wellness programs. I think we could bring down insurance premiums with a plan like that,” Hecker said.
Hecker graduated from Frankfort High School in 1975, and since studying at the University of Kentucky, has worked mostly in the hospitality business. Currently, she serves as kitchen manager of Midway’s Holy Hill Inn.
In a letter announcing her candidacy, Hecker said her priorities include developing and maintaining infrastructure and ensuring consistent application of city ordinances.
She also said she aims to expand opportunities for recreation and improve relations with government, academic and business partners.
Through her work in hospitality, she wrote, Hecker believes in serving others, and plans to work through opposition to reach the most beneficial outcome for the city.
“Frankfort certainly has its challenges but we are blessed with geographical advantages and a rich history, a stable tax base and an engaged and well-educated citizenry,” she said. “And by working together, we can achieve great progress toward creating a more vibrant city in which to work and live.”
Though Kyle Thompson has never served as an elected official, he says his outside perspective will give Frankfort “a true alternative in this election.”
In a letter officially announcing his candidacy, Thompson says he is prepared to make difficult budget decisions.
“After I went to law school (at Ohio Northern University), I decided to come back and raise my family here. But right now, Frankfort is facing difficult social and economic times,” Thompson said.
Thompson, a lifelong Frankfort resident, says he plans to recruit more industry, decide on downtown parking and work with Frankfort police to better equip them to reduce crime.
“Our police are undermanned and underpaid, to be quite frank,” he told The State Journal Wednesday.
Thompson says he’s ready for Frankfort to become a safer community.
“On average, we have higher crime rates than other towns our size and higher unemployment rates than other towns our size. Difficult decisions need to be made.”
Thompson says Frankfort is not the same community he grew up in.
“Within the last 20 years, it has turned into someplace that I don’t recognize as my hometown. It’s time to return Frankfort to a place residents are proud of.”
Thompson graduated from Franklin County High School in 1994 and received a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Kentucky in 1998.
He is a former county attorney and five years ago opened a law firm locally.
“As a practicing attorney and active member of the community, I have enjoyed participating in the process of bettering our city,” he wrote in his letter.
“But, I feel that trying times such as these demand strong individuals … I will endlessly strive to assist in the restoration of our city to a community in which we all feel safe, prosperous and proud.”
Deadline to file for candidacy is Tuesday, and the 2012 election is Nov. 7.
The State Journal confirmed Graham’s intentions not to run again, which was generally presumed.
“I have no intentions of re-filing for election; I’ve known for sometime I’m not going to run,” Graham told The State Journal Wednesday.
“The people of Franklin County have always been good to me. Anytime I’ve been on the ballot, I’ve received the highest amount of votes and I’ve served the best way I know how.”
Graham has served as mayor for one term, but has previously served as city commissioner and state representative.
“As a teacher of civics and government, I really do appreciate people who put their names on the ballot,” Graham said.
“As former mayor, I hope we get a good cross section of people who are willing to put their name on the ballot, because it’s not an easy task.”