As a candidate for mayor, I have dealt with a number of stories about who I am and what my vision is for our city over the last seven months of this campaign. I have been called a Democrat, a tea party candidate, an independent, and even (gasp) a Republican. I have been vilified for my profession, my faith, my personal life and even my family. So, I thought now a great time to introduce myself to many and to dispel rumor, conjecture and assumption laid out by my opponents and many in the public. So, a little about me:
I am a 1994 graduate of Franklin County High School. I was a decent student and I loved extra-curricular activities, music, sports, and I was honored to lead the Flyer Marching Band as the senior drum major. I received a congressional appointment to the United States Air Force Academy, but I chose to attend the University of Kentucky and received a USAF-ROTC scholarship and participated in that program. While at UK, I was a founding member of Delta Sigma Phi social fraternity, the president of the Inter-Greek Programming Assembly, and a university presidential appointment to the Academic Affairs Committee. I graduated in 1998 with a bachelor of arts degree in political science and minor in history. I chose to attend Ohio Northern University in Ada, Ohio, to pursue my legal studies as it was a school with an excellent academic record and an extremely diverse student body. Just prior to starting my law degree program I married Lara McCaslin from Hawesville, Ky.
After graduating from Ohio Northern with my juris doctorate and passing the Kentucky bar exam in 2001, I chose to return to Frankfort to practice law with my uncle, Herb Liebman. It was during these first years of my practice that I learned the importance of genuinely caring for each of my clients and helping many who could not afford legal services. Later, as an assistant county attorney, I was entrusted with the responsibility of handling juvenile prosecutions and those cases involving the abuse, neglect and dependency of our most vulnerable of possessions, our community’s children. As an adopted kid myself, I truly felt my calling was in this area and I continued to work as a court-appointed guardian ad litem for these children after I left the county attorney’s office. After working as a general counsel for a state agency (a 28-year-old registered Democrat appointed by a Republican governor, for the record) I chose to open my own firm focusing on domestic law and other areas of the law. I have a very successful practice and I have cherished the opportunities to assist so many of my fellow Frankfort citizens. But, it is the children that I have helped; those that I have held while dying in hospitals, those that have no idea I have provided any help, and those adopted kids that I still see on nearly a daily basis have made my job worthwhile.
Politically, I have financially supported liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans and all types of candidates in between. I have knocked on doors and placed yard signs for those candidates that I believed to be the best persons for the position. I have personally made conscious decisions to cast votes for the people that I have felt would benefit my community, my state and my country. I do not apologize for that. I was personally asked, after financially and actively supporting an unsuccessful Democrat in the U.S. Senate primary campaign in 2010, if I would personally talk with the Republican candidate for that position, an offer that was not extended to me by the Democrat victor in the primary. After discussing our personal beliefs and faith, I was struck with the fresh and informative views of this candidate and was honored to be asked to serve as a local chairman for his campaign. This was not a political decision on my part, but a conscious choice to help the person that I believed would best serve our commonwealth and our nation. I do not apologize for that either. I was asked to serve and I did. In fact, I was grateful for the opportunity to meet many wonderful people across this beautiful state, Republican, Democrat and independent, that simply wanted the best for our people. These are the life events that have made me stronger in my faith in the ability of our citizens to overcome great difficulty.
And, yet, I am defined with labels. Deserved in some cases but in others simply because I am a candidate for office. So here are some things that I don’t mind being labeled for the record. I am a follower of Christ Jesus, undeservedly saved by grace when I fail on nearly a daily basis to live up to the example that He has set. I am a husband to an amazing wife who has seen past my inadequacies and my insecurities and provided the stability for our family for more than 14 years. I am a dad to two beautiful little girls and a breath-taking baby boy who makes me smile every time I see his face. I am a son to two of the most God-honoring and hard-working people in the world. They have taught me the lessons of life and love and gave me a home when I very easily could have had a completely different, and much less blessed life. And, I am a brother to a young woman who has overcome much and whom I love with all of my heart.
I chose to place myself, my experience and my family into the public forum to bring fresh ideas, vision and perspective to a city that is in financial crisis, struggling with rampant crime, and a citizenry that has been taxed to a breaking point.
And this is my vision:
We must embrace a new era of fiscal responsibility unseen in any generation. We must cut any and all wasteful and unnecessary spending across the board and in every department. We must make difficult, uncomfortable and sometimes, unpopular decisions to eliminate some luxuries so that we can afford our necessities.
We must find new revenue streams and not place any further burden upon our neighbors who have seen their property taxes increased 16 times in the last 20 years and raised more than 80 percent during the period. We cannot expect to simply create new taxes to pay for our elected officials’ previous lack of foresight and poor spending choices over the last two decades.
We must make starting, owning and running businesses in our community appealing to outside companies by improving our infrastructures, education, tax incentives and aesthetics.
And, we must create a comprehensive plan to eliminate drug usage and trafficking in our city that are causing violent burglaries, assaults, and deaths at an alarming rate. Our county is in the top quarter of nearly every violent crime per capita statistic in the Kentucky State Police’s latest data. I have so much respect for the men and women in uniform who are on the front lines and do such a fantastic job at protecting us every day. But, our little town has become a haven for criminal activity and I will not be satisfied until the message is clear that “Frankfort is a zero tolerance community” when it comes to illicit drugs and their sales.
This is my platform. Not one of my points deals with social policy. Not one of them deals with national politics or party position. However, all of them deal with making Frankfort a better place for my children and the future of our community. And, these are the reasons that I have chosen to run for the office of mayor of the city of Frankfort.
Kyle T. Thompson will face Bill May in the Nov. 6 mayoral election.