Republicans won the high-profile races, but Democrats won the night. Kentucky has a long way to go, but Louisville is where the tide begins to turn… and this election speaks to that.
Here are a few quick takes on who won and who lost.
The King of Louisville
Mayor Greg Fischer earned his resounding victory, beating Republican Councilwoman Angela Leet by 25 percentage points. Such an overwhelming victory in his final mayoral election is empowering. He now has a mandate to push major initiatives.
For too long, Louisville has talked a big, progressive game, but defaulted to doing the same old, vanilla governing. It’s time to take the new energy and expanded majority and push a progressive agenda.
The first major to-do on the list is the long-term plan to fund the Metropolitan Sewer District’s modernization plans. But why stop at just replacing the old with the new? Since we’re already tearing up the streets to replace the pipes, let’s come up with a comprehensive plan to radically rebuild our city streets, including: plans for pedestrians, bikes and (of course) scooters, room for food trucks… and trees.
There’s a lot more that could be done if Frankfort didn’t have it out for Louisville. That’s why Fischer needs to become the city’s top lobbyist. He needs to continue to push gun reform ordinances, even if that means losing in court. He must continue to push for the local, optional sales tax. With the extra revenue, the city could afford to do a lot of important things, like take care of the homeless.
Democrats grow Metro Council majority
Democrats will expand their majority of the 26-person Metro Council by two, bringing it to a 19-to-seven margin. This hopefully means an end to the tush-grabbing, Turkish bathhouse turmoil and distractions of the last couple of years.
Democrats also will have a veto-proof majority.
A full third of the Council will be new. The new members bring new ideas and enthusiasm — newly elected politicians believe that they are about to change the world. Usually, this is met by the harsh reality of checks and balances and inner-party power struggles. But, if the new members stick together, they will find that they actually do have tremendous power not usually afforded first-time elected officials. In their case, the naive view of government isn’t quite so unattainable.
Incumbent Democrats and Fischer would be wise to cultivate the new energy: Appoint them to prominent roles in committees and involve them in the crafting of ordinances. Bring their agendas to the forefront early.
This will have long-term benefits that will lead to better, more effective governing, as well as build the Democratic bench and expand the blue roots out into the suburbs and rural parts of the Metro.
Leet will make a great engineer, again
I hope Angela Leet didn’t trip over any body bags on her way out of the Crown Plaza, where she gave her concession speech Tuesday night. I do respect anyone who runs for office. Putting your life on hold and bringing your family into the public light for scrutiny is worthy of respect. That said, Leet’s dark, morbid campaign was a disgrace. It’s like she took her campaign notes from Donald Trump’s “American Carnage” inaugural speech.
Sometimes losing campaigns can be stepping stones to future office (See: Greg Fischer). But, Leet’s campaign exposed her disconnect with the voters, and her fear campaign only doomed her future in politics.
One proud constituent
Really proud of my dad and LEO founder, U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth, for his convincing re-election to his seventh term. He is now likely to be the next chairman of the U.S. House Budget Committee.
Trump now has to go through Louisville to get funding for that border wall.