Banker and former City Commissioner Rodney Williams became the first candidate to throw his name in the hat for Frankfort's 2020 mayoral race.
Currently the area president of Whitaker Bank, Williams, who served three terms on the Frankfort City Commission from 2005-10, is banking on his leadership and advocacy experience to carry him at the ballot box.
“It may seem like a long way off, but I decided it was necessary to make my intentions known publicly,” he told The State Journal Wednesday. “There is great work for me to do between now and next May’s primary election.”
Williams, who has been a part of the community for the past 22 years, believes Frankfort has numerous untapped economic, job, educational and recreational opportunities. He said the city has great resources — including Kentucky State University, its central location for transportation and the Kentucky River — at its disposal that are underutilized.
“So when I look at all of this and observe where we are today as a community, I’m both disappointed with where we have fallen short and excited to think of what we can do,” the 47-year-old added, saying he believes there are many other residents who feel the same way. “Frankfort needs a mayor that is able and willing to help identify these opportunities and engage the community and initiate relationships to better serve our citizens.”
Williams identified three specific goals he thinks are attainable. The first, which he said is the key to the other two, is for both Franklin County and Frankfort Independent schools to consistently be ranked among the top 10 performing districts in the state in five to eight years.
“That is an enormous aspiration, but countless data will tell us that top performing public schools attract the kind of resources I think is necessary for Frankfort to reach its incredible potential,” he said, adding that KSU will play a vital role in the attainment of that goal.
Williams would also like to see the city less reliant on state government and a 10% increase in median household income over the next decade. Both are achievable goals if leaders make repeated bold decisions, he said.
A 1994 graduate of Georgetown College with a bachelor of science degree in finance and economics, he said his educational and professional background in banking and economics and his record of service in the community make him a good match for the mayor’s office.
Williams has served several local nonprofits, including the Frankfort YMCA, ROSM, the Franklin County Humane Society, CASA of the Bluegrass and the Frankfort Area Chamber of Commerce.
He said he is not interested in holding the mayoral position for a long period.
“But I am determined to lead and facilitate long-term decision-making that will have long-term positive impacts on our community,” he said.
Williams and his wife, Carrie, have three children — Trevor, 25; Noelyn, 21; and Tatum, 16.
If more than two candidates seek the mayoral position in the May primary, the top two vote-getters will advance to the November general election. Current Mayor Bill May, who is eligible to serve another four-year term, has not announced whether he will seek re-election.