A new dawn, a new day for District 1

Now that the dust has settled on the District 1 Metro Council race where Jessica Green ousted incumbent Attica Scott, I am inclined to do a little ranting about the race.

I have known Green and Scott for many years and consider them both to be dear friends. Green and I attended Central High School together and were close friends back then. We co-captained the award-winning Mock Trial team there, and I spent a significant amount of time hanging with the Green family during my high school years. I have a fondness for the late Dr. Judy Green and many of the Green siblings. Jessica and I remain in contact via social media and always share a friendly hug and conversation when we see one another.

Scott and I have been community activists for many years, advocating for various social justice causes. I worked for her briefly at Kentucky Jobs with Justice about 10 years ago. I voted for her when she ran for school board, and I supported her appointment to D1 after Judy Green resigned.

I intentionally avoided publicly endorsing either woman prior to Election Day, partly because I was afraid of offending either friend by endorsing her opponent, but mostly because both women are talented, passionate and qualified individuals. Now that things have been decided, I feel at ease offering some observations of their race.

As reported by LEO and WFPL, Green sent a campaign mailer that criticized Scott as supporting “illegal immigrants” in Arizona over jobs for District 1 residents. Besides being inaccurate, the mailer was extremely offensive for its use of the term “illegal.” I am more than disappointed in my friend Green for this fear-mongering, race-baiting mailer.

As if The Man doesn’t already do enough to keep blacks and Latinos beefing, here we have a black woman using brown folks as political pawns. Green is a black woman with both LGBT and special needs family members, so surely she is aware of the power of words to hurt and harm. Green is an educated woman who surely has learned that people are never illegal, just undocumented. Her use of the “i” word should be embarrassing and troubling to all who supported her candidacy, and she should apologize.

Green has spoken much about her mother’s legacy during the race, but I am positive that mailer was not one that would make Dr. Green proud. As an adoptive parent, Dr. Green welcomed and loved all, even those whom others deemed unworthy. If Jessica desires to continue her mother’s legacy of service to others, I highly suggest she begin by embracing the undocumented citizens of this community, including those who undoubtedly live in District 1.

Scott has done some wonderful things during her three years in office, but frankly, this was a popularity contest. The Green family is well connected and well respected throughout west Louisville, and that advantage was something Scott simply didn’t work hard enough to overcome in this race. To her own demise, she remained too much of an activist and not enough of a politician.

In an ideal world, one’s record would speak for itself. Scott has championed many issues that overwhelmingly affect black people, like Ban the Box, the restoration of voting rights, raising the minimum wage, vacant and abandoned properties, and illegal dumping. But in this time and place where few folks read the newspaper or remain politically engaged, many in D1 were easily persuaded about who to vote for. That is not to say that those who voted for Green did so without reason, but rather to say that anyone who did not vote for Scott in spite of all she did for the black, brown and poor white people of this city has done a shitty job of explaining why she didn’t deserve your vote. It was indeed a campaign of personalities, and Scott just didn’t come across as likeable enough to retain her seat.

I wish Scott the best of luck. She’s been one of the best council members this city has ever seen. Hopefully there is a Mayor Fischer political appointment for her somewhere. As for Green, I also wish her the best of luck. As I recently wrote, I think it is great to have a young person on Metro Council. I hope the Jessica I know uses this opportunity to bring fresh perspective, ideas and innovation to the city by picking up where Dr. Green and Attica Scott left off in creating a district and community that is truly for everyone — young and old, rich and poor, and the documented and undocumented alike.