A Frankfort businessman filed to run in the city’s mayoral race on Friday.
Layne Wilkerson, 46, cited his passion for Frankfort’s future.
“I care deeply about the future of Frankfort, and I think I have the vision that we need to lead the city through what I feel is a critical period,” he told The State Journal on Friday.
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Wilkerson grew up in Frankfort and moved away for business for a time. He returned to the city 15 years ago, starting Wilkerson Financial. He is married to Natalie Wilkerson and is the father of three daughters. This is his first campaign for an elected office.
With new development and room to grow in the city’s future, Frankfort will have the opportunity to move forward, Wilkerson said. Frankfort needs to use that energy, he said. As a father, he wants to see Frankfort as the place that his kids want to come back to when they get older.
Developer Marty Johnson recently won the bid for Parcels B and C, the former Capital Plaza area, and implementation of the Downtown Frankfort Master Plan is underway. New businesses in downtown could bring a lot of prosperity in the area, Wilkerson said. He added that he would like to see “first and foremost” more residential space go into that area, as well as some retail or restaurants. He also hopes to see the Downtown YMCA stay in the area.
“The next two to four years are going to be very instrumental for the future of Frankfort,” Wilkerson said.
Smart development is one of the candidate’s priorities. Citywide, Wilkerson would like to fill empty storefronts or vacant lots with businesses. By recruiting various sectors and employees to live and work in Frankfort, the city will grow, especially with the promotion of Frankfort’s quality of life. As mayor, he would like to make it easier to live in Frankfort and do business here, he said.
“Everything else will follow. Businesses will follow after that,” he said.
Wilkerson said he feels his experience in business and creating jobs in Frankfort will help him prepare for the role of mayor. He said one of his biggest strengths is connecting different types of people. As the owner of a client-centered business, he believes he can apply his experience to listening to others at the helm of city government.
Wilkerson is one of five candidates in the 2020 mayoral race. The other candidates are former City Commissioner Tommy Haynes, former federal government worker Jason Keller, Stewart Perkins and banker and former City Commissioner Rodney Williams.
Bill May, the current mayor, announced last month that he would not seek reelection and will take time to focus on himself and his family following his cancer diagnosis. The primary election is May 19. The top two vote-getters will advance to the general election on Nov. 3.