This is the last in a series of op-ed commentaries by Frankfort’s three mayoral candidates. Kyle Thompson is a local lawyer.
Frankfort has a wonderful and rich history that has spanned more than 230 years. Our city has survived the Civil War, the first political assassination of the twentieth century, devastating natural disasters and political scandals. We have been at the center of the civil rights movement, education reform and the fight for women’s rights. I am proud to be a lifetime resident of Frankfort and to have chosen to raise my family in the city that I love. However, our city, like many across our great land, has suffered from economic decline, poor management and planning, and a scourge of drugs and crime found in our once-peaceful streets that now places our community at a crossroads.
As we look back along the road that we have traveled we have so much to be proud of and to relish as sons and daughters of Frankfort. However, as we look around us on our current path we see a city that has lost many manufacturing and textile industries over the last two decades. We see a crime rate that has risen to a rate 30 percent higher than the national average while our local law enforcement has been depleted and not been provided with the valuable resources that we so desperately need. We see government revenues that have remained stagnant or even fallen over the last few years while the costs of operating a city have risen. We have seen our city’s employees and personnel have their livelihood altered with the loss of longevity pay. And, we have seen our city’s aging infrastructures begin to fail after a clear lack of long-range planning. And so, we stand at the crossroads with a decision to make...
We can continue along this same road. We as a community can follow the failed policies of building structures without properly funding our departments. We can allow our city to live outside of its means by continuing wasteful and imprudent spending. We can cut the pay and benefits of our most valuable of resources, the city employees. And we can allow our government to mandate ethics through the creation of policies that, in turn, cause a financial hardship upon our community for years to come. Or we can turn from this direction and change.
We have a choice, as a city, to turn from the decades of poor choices that have brought us to this most difficult of eras and to move toward a brighter and greater economic future. We must tighten the proverbial purse strings of our local government and make wise decisions to preserve our community. We must create an economic development initiative that will do more than spend money on the prospect of business acquisition, but actually take the proactive steps in bringing industries to this city. We need a comprehensive plan involving all stakeholders that will address the needs of law enforcement, fire and emergency medical services to combat the drug and crime epidemic that has caused one in every 28 of us to be victims of property crime. We must address the needs of our employees so that we attract and keep the best and most-qualified for our city’s jobs. We have to address the clear infrastructure issues that our city is facing, including our failing sewers and transportation problems. We must demand accountability at the highest levels of government including our mayor, city commissioners, city manager and heads of each department. And, we must put our personal agendas, desires or wants behind those that serve the better good of our community.
We have recently seen how our city can be divided along political and social issues. We have seen the discourse among our citizenry and our leaders. And, we have seen where our current path has led us. Frankfort truly deserves better. But now we are given a wonderful opportunity to forge our own path and work together, united, to make a greater future for ourselves, our city and our families. I want to lead this great city into a golden era of prosperity, fiscal responsibility, accountability and hope. I humbly ask for your support and your vote on May 22 so that we can make this journey together, leave the crossroads behind us and make Frankfort a better home.