After winning their respective races in the November election, seven new faces will join the Louisville Metro Council in 2023.
The Courier Journal chatted with the incoming members about their backgrounds, goals and priorities ahead of taking office in January.
What is her district? District 1.
Which neighborhoods and areas are included in the district? Parkland, Chickasaw, Park Duvalle, St. Denis, Lake Dreamland and Riverside Gardens.
An entrepreneur who owns a child care center and food mart in Parkland, Hawkins will represent several historic western Louisville neighborhoods and areas that mean a lot to her both personally and professionally.
Hawkins, 49, was a licensed practical nurse for 10 years before pivoting to youth-focused initiatives, opening up a child care center, Kidz World, helping run a football and cheerleading program.
She said she has "always had a passion for serving the community, be it in the form of coat drives, Thanksgiving food baskets and turkey giveaways," or events like a Christmas celebration in Parkland.
"I will stay authentic while remembering why I have the position I am in," Hawkins said, adding she "will not be in a position to make promises but is here to make progress."
While campaigning, Hawkins said she heard from residents about "areas of concern and areas where growth would be needed," including crime, public safety, infrastructure, sidewalks, street lights, speed bumps and "services for our youth and seniors" as well as "substandard affordable housing."
Hawkins also said she is "the example of change, the example of second chances."
"I am not saying that I will be the change to all of these things," Hawkins said. "But I will be the one to pave the way for that ultimate change for the bigger picture."
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What is his district? District 9.
Which neighborhoods and areas are included in the district? Beechwood Village (part), Bellewood, Bowman (part), Brownsboro Village, Cherokee Gardens, Cherokee Woods, Clifton, Clifton Heights (part), Crescent Hill, Druid Hills, Green Leaves, Irish Hill, Lexington Road Preservation Area, Richlawn, Seneca/Rock Creek and St. Matthews (part).
Owen, 50, a commercial real estate investor and president of Preston Thomas Properties LLC, is the son of Tom Owen, the former Metro Council president and local historian.
“I think one of the things that I can’t wait to be involved in is to help repair the relationship between LMPD and the community,” the younger Owen said, adding he met with current and former LMPD personnel during the campaign. “That is a two-way street ... and I don’t think we can improve public safety in Louisville until we improve that relationship.”
Owen said he is also “going to invest in public infrastructure in the 9th District (and) all the little things along our corridors – streets, sidewalks, benches and plantings and public art and all the things that make people want to be out and about and walking along Frankfort Avenue, Breckenridge Lane, Lexington Road.”
Improving public infrastructure also helps local businesses and public safety, Owen said.
He said the current Land Development Code “is not serving Metro Louisville very well at all,” particularly as it relates to affordable housing and creating more units that offer families a safe, comfortable place to live.
With two children who are 12 and 9 years old, Owen said he also is focused on getting his family and personal schedule “on the calendar early so I don’t get lost in the (Metro Council) process” and miss time “to be the father and husband I want to be.”
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Dan Seum Jr.
What is his district? District 13.
Which neighborhoods and areas are included in the district? Auburndale, Fairdale, Commerce Crossings, Renaissance Business Park, Okolona and Yorktown.
Dan Seum Jr. will take office for the first time in January after spending the past dozen or so years advocating for the legalization of medical marijuana and helping his father, former state Sen. Dan Seum, work on policy.
The younger Seum, who is 64, is a retired small business owner who ran Malano's Pizza on Strawberry Lane with his family for 35 years before it closed about five years ago.
Seum noted he is disabled, as playing football up until graduating from Doss High School would eventually take a toll on his body, with replaced hips and rods in his back to show for it.
He coached the Farnsley Middle School football team, calling his coaching experience “my best accomplishment.”
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“One of my big, big things will be to enhance our police department, get more officers in, improve community relationships,” Seum said. “We also have a drainage and flood zone problem. It’s debilitating. It’s keeping (us) from growing. It impedes some of our economic development.”
What is her district? District 15.
Which neighborhoods and areas are included in the district? South Louisville, Cloverleaf, Schnitzelburg, Germantown (part), Paristown Point (part), Shelby Park (part), Hazelwood, Wilder Park, Lucky Horseshoe, Oakdale, St. Joseph, Wheatmore, Nichols Meadow, Jacob, Meriwether-Fort Hill (part) and Taylor Berry.
Jennifer Chappell is succeeding Metro Councilman Kevin Triplett as the Democratic representative for District 15.
"A lot of things that I want to do immediately that don't have to do with legislation are really empowering and engaging with our neighborhoods," said Chappell, 35, an account manager and digital strategist for ProMedia Group who is serving as a Jefferson County Soil and Water Conservation District supervisor through December.
Part of her plan is to bring a representative of each neighborhood and have them sit on a new, overarching neighborhood advisory board for the district that would meet quarterly.
Chappell said she also would like each neighborhood board to share meeting minutes with her to help keep the council member and constituents on the same page about what local issues are on the minds of residents, and she plans on completing a neighborhood assessment on things such as sidewalk repairs and the "built environment."
"I can't help them if I don't know what's going on in their neighborhoods," Chappell said.
Creating more affordable housing, including duplexes and quadplexes, will help boost the city's tax base and thus lead to more money for improving neighborhoods, such as fighting the urban heat island effect in Louisville by increasing the tree canopy, Chappell said.
Engaging with youths who may be struggling and susceptible to turning to crime is another one of her priorities, she said.
"Our neighborhoods have just been completely disinvested in," Chappell said. "The city has put a lot into 'Bourbonism,' but we haven't put a lot into our own people."
What is her district? District 21.
Which neighborhoods and areas are included in the district? Beechmont, Wilder Park, Iroquois, Southside, Belmar, Preston Park, Sunshine Acres, My Old Kentucky Home and the city of Lynnview, with Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport and the Kentucky Exposition Center also included.
Ruhe, 60, is an environmental educator with the Louisville Nature Center and retired Jefferson County Public Schools educator who taught kindergarten, first grade and special education at Indian Trail Elementary Schools for 17 years.
She said she will have "a lot to learn" as she takes office to succeed Metro Councilwoman Nicole George, who chose to not run for reelection. "My primary focus is on housing and Metro Parks," she said.
She wants to work with groups like Project Warm to ensure existing homes are insulated well enough so residents can afford to pay their utility bills.
Ruhe is one of the founding members of Friends of Iroquois Park and finds herself at the Olmsted Parks Conservancy-maintained green space every day. But city-maintained spaces like the numerous pocket parks in Beechmont are also a priority to improve, she said.
"Metro Parks is notoriously underfunded," Ruhe said. "But I know a lot of changes that need to happen to make it the best system it can be."
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What is his district? District 23.
Which neighborhoods and areas are included in the district? Highview, Okolona, Fern Creek, Adams Run, Apple Valley, Brynwood, Charleswood, Cheri Village, Cooper Farms, Catalpa Springs, Cedar Creek, Farmgate, Friendly Hills, Friendly Hill East, Heritage Creek, Hollow Creek, Spring Falls, Spring Mill, Zelma Fields
Jeff Hudson is succeeding longtime Metro Councilman James Peden, a fellow Republican who gave up his seat in an unsuccessful bid for the state Senate.
Hudson, 58, is an engineer and program manager.
"I will look to bring my experience as an engineer to help improve development and growth within our city. I will focus much of my attention on planning as well as the budget process," Hudson said. "I hope to be an asset in looking for unique solutions to make government more efficient and improve our quality of life. I am a strong supporter of our police, and I will work to ensure that they have every possible resource to restore a sense of security to all of our neighborhoods."
As for immediate priorities once he takes office, Hudson said he is focused on "infrastructure needs throughout the district, paving roads, repairing sidewalks and improving and enhancing parks."
Khalil 'Charlie' Batshon
What is his district? District 25.
Which neighborhoods and areas are included in the district? Auburndale, Candlelight, Cardinal Hill Estates, Cardinal Oaks, Cotswold Manor, Estates of St. Anthony, Forest Hills, Garden of Eden, Iroquois Garden, Parkridge, Parkridge Woods, Pleasure Ridge Park, Prairie Village, Robin Hill Estates, Southland Park, St. Andrews Landing, St. Anthony Woods, Stone Hill, Valley Farms, Valley Station, Whipperwill, Willow Run, Windsor Forest, Windsor Trace, Woodland Hills, Woodridge Lake, Woods of Glen Hill Manor and Woods of St. Andrews.
Batshon, 36, is the owner and manager of Khalil's, a sports bar and restaurant on Dixie Highway that opened in 2012, and is also the vice chair of Southwest Community Ministries as well as a Kentucky Restaurant Association board member.
He said he plans on ensuring some of the work that Metro Councilwoman Amy Holton Stewart, whom he defeated in the election, is also not halted, mentioning a park project as one example.
Public safety, infrastructure and youth are among his priorities, Batshon said.
"We want to make sure we are getting our community safe again and making sure our officers are doing what they’re supposed to be doing and being held to a standard, as well as our mayor’s office," Batshon said. "I want to do a ‘Light Up Valley Station' and work with nonprofits on getting a literacy center built to assist our youth after school. It could have a gym, reading and math programs."
Giving kids "some extracurricular, safe place to go ... and giving them a little bit extra" are part of his plan, Batshon added.
Reach Billy Kobin at firstname.lastname@example.org
This article originally appeared on Louisville Courier Journal: New Louisville Metro Council members' goals include parks, police