Editor’s Note: For LEO Weekly’s 2022 mayoral election special issue, our contributors and writers sat down with the three Democratic candidates who we felt have had the most visibility and comprehensive platforms so far: The Rev. Tim Findley, businessman Craig Greenberg and Louisville activist Shameka Parrish-Wright. These are the other candidates in the race.
The founder and senior pastor of Kingdom Fellowship Church, Tim Findley has held a variety of roles in the community, including being the faith-based liaison for Metro Government’s Office of Safe & Healthy Neighborhoods, a West Louisville Connector and an executive board member of Centerstone Seven Counties, among others.
Read LEO’s Q&A with the Rev. Tim Findley here.
Former LMPD officer Skylar Graudick identifies himself as a “moderate Democrat” who is “unapologetically pro law enforcement.”
In a campaign video, he says: “As a former police officer, I possess both the experience and sense of urgency needed to address our city’s most pressing issues: Public safety and the bolstering of our social services.”
He says he wants to use the mayor’s office to lobby for full legalization of recreational marijuana at the state level. He also says he wants to allow LMPD officers to speak publicly about their experiences and criticize the department without fear of retribution. If elected, he says he will oppose bail reform efforts, saying that bail reform will see more arrested people released and remove deterrents to crime.
Former 21c Museum Hotels CEO Craig Greenberg can’t remember exactly when he decided to run for mayor, but says he started seriously considering candidacy after stepping down from his c-suite role in 2020. A businessman from Louisville, Greenberg leads the pack in fundraising with $1.1 million in the bank as of January, the date of the last campaign finance filings. On Feb. 14, he survived an assassination attempt at his then-campaign headquarters in Butchertown, with one of six shots fired hitting his sweater and shirt. Under the campaign slogan “Run with Craig,” the avid jogger has been on a quest to run the streets of every precinct in the city. As of March 23, he had ran in 553 of Louisville’s 623 precincts.
Read LEO’s Q&A with businessman Craig Greenberg here.
Sergio Alexander Lopez
At a candidate’s forum this past winter, Sergio Alexander Lopez said his priorities would include lowering the level of violence in Louisville, adding more minority police officers to LMPD and helping Louisville’s homeless population. Lopez, who said he was homeless for 45 days when he first arrived in Louisville, said he wants Louisville to follow the path of cities like Los Angeles, which has built tiny-house villages for people experiencing homelessness.
Jefferson County Circuit Court Clerk David Nicholson is leaning on his decades of public service to convince voters that he is the right person to lead Louisville amid record-breaking violence that continues to surge. In announcing his run for mayor last year, Nicholson said, “We cannot afford to get this wrong. A rookie cannot lead us out of this tragedy. We need someone with experience.” Nicholson, who is in his third six-year term as Circuit Court Clerk, had raised more than $400,000 as of the last filing, second only to Greenberg (who has netted over $1 million) in fundraising. He has been endorsed by United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America and Plumbers, Pipefitters & Service Technicians of the United Association Local 502. While he has not been as visible as some other candidates, deep pockets and TV and radio ad buys could change that before the primary.
As the owner of Spring Valley Funeral Home, Democratic candidate Anthony Oxendine has seen the effect of Louisville’s surging gun violence first hand. He says he plans on decreasing violence in the city through empathy and reform. “It is not increased policing that will bring peace but the security of financial equality,” he writes on his campaign website. According to his website’s platform, he will fire LMPD Chief Erika Shields on his first day in office to “start fresh with someone who will be a true representative of the people.” Oxendine, whose funeral home handled Breonna Taylor’s funeral, features Taylor’s mother Tamika Palmer talking about his candidacy in campaign materials.
Shameka Parrish-Wright is running as the “The Candidate For The People,” and she highlights her many years in public service as proof. Parrish-Wright might be most well-known for her work with The Bail Project — a nonprofit that helps people who cannot afford bail — where she was up until recently the operations manager, and currently serves as the partnerships and advocacy manager. She also has been involved in organizations such as Kentucky Jobs with Justice, La Casita Center Board, Continuum of Care Board of the Homeless Coalition, The Carl Braden Memorial Center, Louisville Books to Prisoners program, Justice Now and Sowers of Justice Network.
Read LEO’s Q&A with activist Shameka Parrish-Wright here.
According to his campaign website, Colin Hardin has spent a decade working in restaurants, doing “everything from host to dishwasher, server to bartender.” He supports the trial of a basic income program as well as the creation of a public bank in the city “to mitigate the effects of predatory lending and provide a line of credit to people who are often forgotten by private lending.” On public safety, he says he wants to change police culture and encourage officers to speak out against misconduct within LMPD. He also wants to decriminalize marijuana and psilocybin mushrooms in Louisville.
“Too many of those running for this office are disconnected from the needs and the wants of the people of this city, and I want to represent the common working men and women who make Louisville great,” he says on his campaign website.
The pastor and founder of He Visto la Luz Christian Church in Beuchel, Republican candidate Philip Molestina says Louisville’s leadership is “doing nothing to uncover buried opportunities.” Born in the Bronx to Ecuadorian immigrant parents, Molestina says under his watch, Louisville will leverage opportunities.
On public safety, Molestina responded to a recent Greater Louisville Inc. survey of candidates by saying that Louisville must have the “best paid, trained and supported police department” and that “the time to defund the police is not now.”
Jeffersontown Mayor Bill Dieruf says if Louisville voters elect him mayor, he will bring improvements to public safety, economic development, education and quality of life, just as he says he did in the Louisville suburb he has led for more than a decade. “I want to see Louisville Metro be a place where no one wants to leave and others want to come and make their homes and establish their business,” he says on his campaign website. Responding to a Greater Louisville Inc. survey this month, Dieruf said public safety was his top priority and that LMPD officer trust in city leadership must be built up. He added that former LMPD officers have told him they will rejoin the force if he is elected.
As of January (the last filings on record), Dieruf was third place in fundraising, having taken in $297,000.
Rob Stark Reishman Jr.
Reishman does not have much of an online campaign presence like most other candidates, as LEO could not find a website for him. On Twitter, he has recently written that Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer “embraced anti-police rioters & allowed crime to envelope Louisville” and called him “Mayor Bike Lane Fischer.”
Responding to the Greater Louisville Inc. candidate survey, Reishman encouraged “aggressive” recruitment of LMPD officers and said “it’s time to dismantle JCPS and the bussing system.” Adding that JCPS is “too big to succeed,” he encourages breaking the school system into “clusters that can be effectively run” and creating “smaller districts that will be overseen by representatives of the communities they serve.”
Louisville’s violence is also a main driving force behind Republican candidate Chartrael Hall’s mayoral run, with the minister for Russell’s Quinn Chapel AME Church saying he’s tired of the city having 1,000 homicides in a decade, low-ranked JCPS schools and the general condition of the city. In a video announcing his run, Hall says: “I’m tired of the city being in shambles as if we were in a war zone — and there’s been no war in Louisville, but there’s abandoned buildings, there’s trash, there’s hurt people. And we know hurt people hurt people.” He says workforce development, mental health and affordable housing will be the other pillars of his campaign.