May 18, 2022 4:23pm
2022 Mayoral Candidate Survey Results
Greater Louisville Inc. is a nonpartisan organization and does not endorse or support candidates running for office at any level. However, with many important local races coming up we compiled a short survey to help educate our members on where each candidate stands on business-related priorities. Both major party primary winners running for Mayor were given the opportunity to respond to these questions. The answers from each question are published verbatim as received from the candidate. View a printable pdf version of the survey results here.
Question 1: Public Safety – Louisville has seen an alarming increase of violent crime and homicides over the past three years. How do you plan to improve public safety in our community, improve law enforcement retention and attraction efforts, and restore trust between law enforcement, the administration, and the communities they serve? Candidate responses are listed in alphabetical order.
- Bill Dieruf: Public safety is my #1 priority. We must reduce violent crime. To prosper, everyone – resident or visitor – must feel safe in Louisville. We must grow LMPD’s ranks and build officers’ trust in city leadership. Officers should be trained in proper intervention procedures to ensure appropriate response when engaging citizens. As Mayor of Jeffersontown for 11-plus years, I have overseen one of the top-rated police departments in Kentucky along with Chief Rick Sanders, an experienced law enforcement executive. Rick and I will grow LMPD’s ranks immediately. Former LMPD officers have told me they would return to the force when I am Mayor. This confidence in leadership will benefit Louisville, its residents and LMPD. Building trust among LMPD, city leadership and residents is crucial. Rick and I are experienced in Community Oriented Policing where police and residents work together to create a safer community. We have seen it work. We also are experienced in intelligence-led policing that requires a strategic, multi-agency approach to incarcerate leaders of gangs and drug cartels. Chief Sanders did this during decades with the DEA in Chicago, Miami and Washington, D.C. Louisville is in crisis mode. We have the experience to be ready to take on this challenge.
- Craig Greenberg: The public safety and crime crisis affecting Louisville is the number one issue facing our city. On the day I announced my campaign for Mayor I said this was my #1 focus and, following my recent experience, I have an even stronger resolve to immediately solve this crisis. We must have a safer city to grow and to create new opportunities for all of our residents. After holding public meetings, speaking with community leaders, law enforcement, judges, reform advocates, clergy, and medical and mental health professionals, I announced my plan to address our public safety and crime crisis. The plan is titled “All In: A Comprehensive Plan for a Safer, Stronger and Healthier Louisville,” and I encourage you to read it here. Focused around fully staffing and fully funding our police force and addressing the root causes of crime, the four tenets of this plan are: 1. Stop the violence. 2. Fully staff and fully fund a community-oriented police force. 3. Address root causes of crime by instilling hope and opportunity. 4. Build safer, cleaner and healthier community spaces. Each of these tenets have specific action items that I will begin working on Day One of my administration and I’ve included a checklist for the community to hold me accountable. I encourage you to read the full plan and provide any feedback you may have.
Question 2: Violence Prevention – While the need to address public safety in our community is immediate, we know that investments must be made now to see results in the long-term. Will your administration continue to support and invest in programs to address violence prevention, including Group Violence Intervention (GVI)? Will you suggest implementing other programs not currently being utilized? Candidate responses are listed in alphabetical order.
- Bill Dieruf: Group Violence Intervention can be an effective initiative — when done correctly. LMPD has attempted to implement GVI in recent years with mixed results. We need to address violence prevention with programs of this kind but also look to other means to reach our youth before they enter a life of crime. Through the combination of intelligence-led policing and GVI, we will eliminate the cartel and gang leaders who lead youths astray. It is imperative that we convince youths that there are other options in order to save their lives. We need to assess all existing city-funded violence prevention efforts and make sure they are achieving their goals. Jeffersontown Police Chief Rick Sanders and I live this work every day and are constantly evaluating programs across the nation to use here in Jeffersontown. We will put those successful practices in place in Louisville next year. Our ongoing experience allows us to be ready day one to curb the violence in Louisville.
- Craig Greenberg: Group Violence Intervention (GVI) is one of the best, most proven tools to reduce violent crime in any city. I will closely work with law enforcement and other civic leaders to effectively implement this program and believe that Louisville will see results similar to other cities who have committed to GVI at the level necessary to see meaningful impact. To date, I do not believe our city government has committed enough resources, time, leadership focus or energy to GVI. Other strategies that I will commit to, and outlined in my plan “All In: A Comprehensive Plan for a Safer, Stronger and Healthier Louisville,” include bringing back retired officers as an interim for fully staffing our police force, creating an LMPD service academy to help officers better understand the various at risk populations they interact with, and greatly expanding mental health treatment services which I believe will benefit civilians, our police, and the community as a whole.
Question 3: Business Regulations – A predictable and flexible regulatory environment allows businesses to grow and thrive. As a new administration, will you undertake a review of local ordinances, regulations, and permitting processes to ensure that they are efficient, effective, and not overly burdensome for employers? Please respond yes or no and explain. Candidate responses are listed in alphabetical order.
- Bill Dieruf: Yes. Regulatory processes must be efficient so projects can proceed. I am already knowledgeable about Metro’s land-use procedures. I was part of the group that created the new 2040 Comprehensive Plan and have read all 987 pages of the Land Development Code. Yet I will look for ways to improve. During my 11-plus years as Jeffersontown Mayor we increased efficiency in the permit and approval process to have a true business-friendly environment. For example, I worked to get state law changed to allow Jeffersontown to have its own Board of Zoning Adjustment. This step has cut months of delays. We also created a unique zoning designation for our town center to allow creative use of properties. And during the pandemic, Jeffersontown was the first local government to allow businesses to expand use of outside areas for food and drink. Metro Government later followed our lead. We didn’t let the pandemic stop projects either. Our department never shut down as permitting approval and development plan review continued on schedule. Recently, Jeffersontown took over landscape review to expedite the approval process. Businesses appreciate the steps we’ve taken to streamline permitting processes. They look forward to our common sense approach moving to Louisville.
- Craig Greenberg: Yes. I think our policies toward business regulation need review, improvement and updating. This is necessary to not only encourage growth among Louisville businesses and those who would invest in our community, but also to ensure we are eliminating regulations and practices that have a detrimental impact on our citizens, their health and their economic well-being. We need to ensure the culture of every city government department is supportive of entrepreneurs, responsible developers.
Question 4: Economic Development – With a new administration comes a new opportunity to re-think the way Louisville and its regional partners organize our economic development efforts. What changes will your administration make to ensure that Louisville is well-positioned to compete with peer cities to attract top businesses and talent? Candidate responses are listed in alphabetical order.
- Bill Dieruf: The lead on business attraction and retention efforts is best left in the hands of the private sector. Businesses prefer to work with a community’s business leaders coordinated through an entity independent from government. That structure is proven in other regional peer cities and once was the structure here when GLI was formed and before that with the Greater Louisville Economic Development Partnership, which was driven by corporate leaders teamed with experienced economic development specialists. Funding for those efforts was stripped away by Louisville Metro Government. Louisville Metro’s role is to ensure an inviting business climate with the right tax structure, incentive programs and legislative priorities that make sense for Louisville to be a location of choice for companies of all sizes and a place for existing businesses to grow. Government needs to support business when needed then get out of the way. We must lean on our business strengths and nurture entrepreneurs to not just position Louisville as a great place to visit but as a thriving, positive community where people want to live, work, operate businesses and raise their families. There is much work to be done. I will be Ready Day One to set this course.
- Craig Greenberg: My vision for economic growth focuses on supporting our homegrown talent and businesses. For too long, Louisville has bet its future on landing enormous investments from outside our community. While potentially transformative, we’ve all watched these companies choose other cities year after year. Louisville has what we need to succeed; we just need to believe it and strongly support our own. As Mayor, I will: Invest in Louisville entrepreneurs and local businesses so they have the resources they need to grow and create more good paying jobs. Revitalize downtown by repurposing surface parking lots and buildings evacuated due to the pandemic into housing, retail, entertainment, and other new commercial uses to create a more vibrant urban core with more public green space. Improve public transportation to create high density corridors of opportunity, with a focus on routes serving working families and their places of employment. Expand the SummerWorks program year-round to provide our youth income and work experience. Strengthen agency partnerships and expand programs in the Office for Globalization that make Louisville a welcoming city for new Americans and all ethnicities and cultures. Attract new residents to Louisville who work remotely and who seek an affordable, high quality of life. To best accomplish these goals, my administration will work closely with a strengthened GLI to recruit, retain and grow businesses in Louisville that offer good paying jobs and enhance our regional economy.
Question 5: Education – Student achievement is crucial to the future of our local economy and workforce. How will your administration support JCPS and their mission to increase student graduation rates and transition readiness? Candidate responses are listed in alphabetical order.
- Bill Dieruf: Education is one of my top three priorities. I am particularly invested in seeing an expansion of early childhood education programs throughout Louisville Metro to ensure that our youngest citizens get off to a successful start in school. Preschool preparation can have a major impact on a student’s long-term success in school and in life. I have visited Jefferson County Public Schools as Mayor of Jeffersontown on many occasions and seen firsthand our teachers providing excellent education. As for college and career transition readiness, Louisville Metro is fortunate to have the Academies of Louisville program at most JCPS high schools where students are getting real world experience in a number of careers. I am a firm believer in post-secondary education and believe it’s important for students to have choices of both college and trade school after graduation. I also support the initiatives of Evolve502 as it offers scholarships and grants plus wrap-around services for students who might not otherwise obtain a post-secondary education. I do not believe there needs to be another layer of bureaucracy with Metro Government adding a Louisville Department of Education.
- Craig Greenberg: I am a proud graduate of JCPS and proud of my wife’s previous work as a JCPS school teacher. I believe a prosperous future for Louisville requires a sustained commitment to public education. Our schools face unprecedented challenges from a widening student achievement gap, a year spent out of the classroom, and not enough state funding. As Mayor, I will: Create the Louisville Department of Education to enhance collaboration among our city’s pre-K to post-secondary education institutions, including Jefferson County Public Schools, JCTC, University of Louisville, Simmons College of Kentucky, Evolve 502, and other partners. Lead the effort to make Universal Pre-K a reality for all three- and four-year-olds in Louisville. Build Community Schools and Libraries – facilities that educate our children and serve as community hubs with academic, recreational, and health care resources for entire neighborhoods. Utilize every resource of our Metro Government, along with private sector partnerships, to bring affordable high speed internet access to every citizen of Louisville. Work with our local delegation to Frankfort to support full state funding of our public schools. Support and expand workforce development programs that provide lifelong learning, apprenticeship, and new skills training opportunities.
Question 6: Workforce Development – The Greater Louisville region celebrated many economic development wins over the past year; however, the current workforce crisis is affecting all industries. Louisville’s labor force participation rate was 63% in 2021, an all-time low for our city. This threatens to slow our region’s progress and momentum and increase snags in the supply chain. What actions will you take to address the labor shortage in the short-term and long-term? Candidate responses are listed in alphabetical order.
- Bill Dieruf: A digital promotion campaign that targets employees in other cities and encourages them to move to Louisville is one option for a short-term strategy to attract workers. We had a similar campaign in Jeffersontown during the early months of the pandemic that proved to be an effective tool. We could replicate that effort on a larger scale for Louisville Metro. Work incentive programs that offer one-time payments to get employees to choose to return to or enter the workforce also are useful and ideally would be funded by American Rescue Plan dollars. One barrier that prevents some people from returning to work is that they lose their health coverage provided through public assistance. A STEP program that maintains health coverage for a predetermined period upon employment would allow people to work in jobs where health benefits are not immediately available. I would work with my connections in Frankfort to get a program of this kind established. For the long-term, the Academies of Louisville program stands to be a strong workforce development resource – particularly as students get access to job opportunities at Business Partners’ companies. Louisville Metro should promote this program and recognize its value in preparing our next generation workforce.
- Craig Greenberg: Helping make sure that our young people are ready to join the workforce and leading the way in new skills training for older Louisvillians must be a priority so our city provides ample opportunities for residents to pursue good paying, career-path jobs and to promote economic growth. We have had some successful programs in Louisville and JCPS deserves much credit for attempting to tackle this problem head on. My administration will partner with organizations like Goodwill Industries of Kentucky, Kentuckiana Works, Code Louisville, and the Academies at JCPS to implement and improve these needed programs. Louisville Metro Government can make a big impact by expanding Summer Works to a yearround program so our young people always have a place to turn for employment. Additionally, working with trade unions to increase apprenticeship programs for career-level trade jobs is crucial. As Mayor, I will also make sure that Louisville Metro Government reaches out directly to older JCPS students so they know the advantages of and opportunities for a career with Louisville Metro and
Question 7: Downtown Revitalization – While there are encouraging indications around the recovery of downtown Louisville, including increased tourism rates and investment in infrastructure, there are significant impediments for continued growth such as high office vacancy rates. What will your priorities be to encourage businesses and residents to embrace downtown and revitalize Louisville’s urban core? Candidate responses are listed in alphabetical order.
- Bill Dieruf: My No. 1 priority is improving public safety, which is a crucial objective for the recovery of downtown Louisville. Wonderful strides made over the past few decades were decimated in one night when damage to storefronts and office buildings left our downtown looking like a war zone. So the first step is to make sure people feel safe to come downtown again. I have met with businesspeople actively involved in downtown Louisville to know how to move forward on Day One. Fortunately our tourism and convention industries are recovering, but government and the private sector must team up to put into action ideas of the Downtown Revitalization Team, which invested much time and creative energy into coming up with strategies to restore downtown’s economy. The Downtown Revitalization Team’s work will move forward with my support as Mayor with the Downtown Development Corp. serving as the key agency to implement successful strategies. A safe and attractive downtown is imperative. And image building starts with new leadership in the Mayor’s office. I will make it a priority as Mayor to keep our city looking great. My goal is for Louisville to have an attractive downtown with an appealing live, work, play environment.
- Craig Greenberg: Louisville needs a safe, strong and vibrant downtown to be a safe, strong and vibrant city. In my career in the private sector I have led major projects, like 21c Museum Hotel and 111 Whiskey Row, to bring investment and redevelopment projects to downtown Louisville. I am passionate about creating energetic, authentic and busy urban neighborhoods. My commitment to bringing more projects to downtown, and the jobs and tourism that comes with them, is total and complete – and backed up by my experiences. From filling surface parking lots with new development to ensuring that empty office space is redeveloped to creating more residential homes, there are so many things Louisville should be doing to secure downtown’s future. This problem does not require more study, it requires action and will be a top priority of my administration.
Question 8: Homelessness – Since the onset of the pandemic, the prevalence of homelessness in our community has never been more visible, with encampments springing up in underpasses and sidewalks all over our city and particularly downtown. How will your administration work to provide support to those experiencing homelessness and connect them with services to provide them with safe and stable housing? What programs and partnerships will you focus on to prevent and address the causes of homelessness in our community? Candidate responses are listed in alphabetical order.
- Bill Dieruf: There is no quick solution for homelessness mainly because there are many reasons people are homeless — such as spouse abuse, a financial crisis, addiction and mental health issues. I will make a concerted effort as Mayor to work with existing organizations to develop solutions to this crisis. The Coalition for the Homeless and Seven Counties Services must be empowered and funded to do their work. They have the knowledge and experienced professionals to help the homeless and those with addiction and mental health challenges. I also will bring successful programs used in Jeffersontown such as the Angel Program that helps people with drug addiction and the Victim’s Advocate Program that helps crime victims navigate the criminal justice system. I also have positive relationships with USA Cares that supports veterans and community ministries that would be invaluable partners in this work. We need to be sure that programs like The Living Room remain funded so they can help direct the homeless to the services they need. These are necessary programs to help our most vulnerable citizens. Simply moving homeless camps from one part of downtown to another is not the answer. That’s the equivalent of moving around chairs on the Titanic.
- Craig Greenberg: Safe and affordable housing for all Louisville families is the foundation for successful and vibrant neighborhoods. Solving our current affordable housing and homelessness crisis, while planning for the future, requires giving everyone a seat at the table: community leaders, lenders, builders, housing advocates, and our neighborhood planning commissions. As a collaborative leader who has developed and revitalized properties across the country, I will use my experience to: Build at least 15,000 more affordable housing units throughout our city, with a focus on building homes near jobs and improved public transportation routes. Renew our focus on home ownership in historically redlined communities, making it possible for families to build and pass on generational wealth. Prioritize the development of new housing on lots that are currently vacant or abandoned. Increase no-income housing solutions to serve the homeless or unhoused and center them in close proximity to much needed support services. Support dense and in-fill mixed-income housing to add more residents to Louisville’s urban core.
Question 9: Diversity, Equity & Inclusion – Black residents account for 23% of the population in Louisville, but only 2% of businesses in the city are Black-owned. What will your administration do to increase access to opportunities and capital to support minority business owners? Candidate responses are listed in alphabetical order.
- Bill Dieruf: As Mayor, I will lead by example and acknowledge that a level playing field has not existed for our Black citizens. Black businesspeople should have access to influential business relationships and capital — keys to success that have been sadly lacking. It’s not just a matter of providing affordable storefronts for Black entrepreneurs to open shops and restaurants. We must train and mentor Black businesspeople to help them succeed in professional careers and as entrepreneurs whether they own a technology firm or a construction company. As a former instructor of business management at the University of Louisville, I know the importance of management training. We need a program offering mentors across the spectrum of business operations to provide ongoing advisory services for minority-owned businesses so they can be profitable and grow. We also need to ensure there is a comprehensive database of local minority-owned businesses and publicize it so majority-owned firms can find these companies to do business with. How do we make it work? Experienced businesspeople need to be mentors, and a combination of city funding and private sector investment should underwrite these efforts. PPPs exist so government and the private sector can collaborate in innovative ways like this.
- Craig Greenberg: I have had a lifelong belief that every person should be treated with dignity and afforded opportunity. I will work to create a more unified community where the pursuit of justice and equal opportunity is a mission, not an afterthought. As Mayor, I am committed to helping to instill hope in and bring opportunity to Black Louisvillians who have been overlooked for too long. This real commitment will take the form of: Acknowledging and addressing the systemic racism that has always been part of our community and consider the racial justice impact on every decision Metro Government makes. Developing quality-of-life improvements necessary for safe and healthy neighborhoods, like community grocery stores and health facilities. Protecting homeowners from being priced out of their homes by enacting antidisplacement measures like property tax freezes. Investing in minority-owned small businesses and historically neglected neighborhoods by working with the private sector to create a Black-owned bank and other dedicated lending programs with existing local banks. Encouraging further investment in Black-led foundations which promote health, housing, arts, and cultural opportunities in West Louisville to provide the same benefits which have improved other neighborhoods in our city for generations. Listening to citizens from all neighborhoods and backgrounds to help heal and unify our city and to rebuild trust between Metro Government and our citizens.
Question 10: Diversity, Equity & Inclusion – Louisville has made strides in establishing itself as a welcoming city for diverse populations and has received national recognition for inclusivity as it relates to the LGBTQ+ community, but more work is needed to ensure that every citizen feels a sense of belonging and has equitable access to opportunities to thrive. It is also critical we build a strong reputation as a city that embraces all races, religions, and sexual orientations from a talent and business attraction standpoint. What will your administration do to further Louisville’s commitment to inclusivity, diversity, and compassion for all residents? Candidate responses are listed in alphabetical order.
- Bill Dieruf: My administration will maintain a continuing conversation with all diverse populations such the LGBTQ+ community as well as our growing immigrant population to stay informed about their concerns and unique needs. We cannot address what we don’t know about. It is important for every citizen to feel safe and have a sense of belonging regardless of their race, religion or sexual orientation. One of Louisville’s strengths is the friendliness and compassion that is demonstrated by so many people here. It’s a cultural norm that often surprises visitors to our city. As Mayor I will work to extend the strides made so that a unified voice of inclusion is promoted in business attraction efforts.
- Craig Greenberg: Much of the current growth of our city is being driven by New American communities who have sought out better lives and opportunities for themselves and their families, and have chosen Louisville to do just that. We are fortunate to have these New Americans and ensuring they are welcomed and protected will be a top priority of my administration. Improving outreach to immigrant communities and making sure they know their city is ready to help them, through services and protections, is vital. A diverse city is a strong, vibrant city. Additionally, even though other levels of government may continue a sustained attack on the rights of members of the LGBTQ+ community, we must continue to be a city where intolerance toward others is neither tolerated nor codified in law. I will be a strong advocate for our LGBTQ+ neighbors both in Louisville and, when needed, in Frankfort.
Question 11: Infrastructure Investment – Louisville Metro’s spending on local infrastructure, including local roads, technology, and public transportation has not kept pace with the need for further development and modernization. How will you prioritize spending to ensure that Louisville’s roads and technology infrastructure can be maintained, and that public transportation can be made more efficient and accessible? What are your spending priorities for the estimated $100 million that Louisville is expected to receive from the Investment Infrastructure and Jobs Act? Candidate responses are listed in alphabetical order.
- Bill Dieruf: We don’t need to spend money on studies. We need to take action. As past chairman and current board member of KIPDA (the Kentuckiana Planning and Development Agency), I know studies have been done and grants are available to get started on infrastructure projects. Keeping roadways maintained and safe is a priority for me. I will review the road plan and maintenance schedule with an eye on using Investment Infrastructure and Jobs Act funds for roadway projects. As an accountant who has worked with the construction industry and as an experienced mayor, I know the importance of maintaining infrastructure. What is not fixed today will cost three times more if we wait. We need to ensure public transportation is available so people can get to work. KIPDA funding can help. I would implement a modified Every Commute Counts program to supply commuter vans and a circulator bus program in conjunction with TARC so people have transportation to their jobs. The Digital Divide Coalition’s work should be funded so people in marginalized neighborhoods have access to technology, needed equipment and training. I also will work with service providers to make sure we have an effective
- Craig Greenberg: Our infrastructure in Louisville is not just out of date; it is, in many cases, dangerously out of date. Our infrastructure is not ready to meet the needs of a modern and thriving city, specifically with regards to bikeable and walkable neighborhoods, growth of multipurpose and mixed use neighborhoods, preparing for the impending effects of climate change and ensuring investments are being made in communities that have been overlooked for far too long. Some concrete steps I will take to address these issues include, but are not limited to: Making TARC fare-free to encourage residents to use public transportation and clearing cars from our streets. Improving TARC lines to bring employees to their workplace with fewer stops and shorter times. Ensuring flood prone communities are protected. Encouraging mixed-use development and in-fill development to bring services, healthcare, and entertainment options closer to residents.
Question 12: Land Development and Housing – Louisville’s development community has expressed the need for greater flexibility and incentives to improve the quality of life, revitalize and spur investment in underdeveloped areas, and meet the city’s demand for increased housing stock including affordable housing. What policy changes will you pursue to support more flexibility for development that will drive economic growth and employment? Candidate responses are listed in alphabetical order.
- Bill Dieruf: I am a big believer in flexibility and creativity when coming up with solutions for streamlining development and project approval processes. I will entertain any suggestions for spurring investment in underdeveloped areas – especially if it means housing stock will be increased in areas of greatest need. If there’s a good idea, government should review its merits then get out of the way. One of the barriers to success in life is the housing challenge. We need to make sure people can start building generational wealth through homeownership. And for those not financially prepared for that step, we need to make sure they have access to housing they can afford. We should work with local communities and developers to put effective strategies in place to lower the number of houseless people. I think we should revisit the Land Development Code and take out any unnecessary barriers that prolong the approval process and delay projects. Having been a participant in creating the new 2040 Comprehensive Plan, I am well aware of what’s in Louisville’s land-use code and how there are some parts that need to be changed — especially in regard to making housing available.
- Craig Greenberg: The lack of affordable housing units for working people in Louisville leaves too many vulnerable and makes it harder for our entire community to thrive. I have pledged to build 15,000 new quality affordable housing units in my first term, and believe the city ought to use American Rescue Plan dollars immediately to address our housing crisis. I also believe Louisville needs to prioritize home ownership and helping families, in communities that have been neglected through redlining, to help build intergenerational wealth for families. My administration will also be focused on customer service for our citizens, making their experience with city government agencies a positive, predictable and consistent experience.
Question 13: Diversity, Equity & Inclusion – Investment and inclusive growth in historically marginalized neighborhoods are critical for progress and the long-term success of Louisville. How will you work with community organizations and neighbors to ensure that the investments are both sustainable and truly benefit the residents and communities already established? Candidate responses are listed in alphabetical order.
- Bill Dieruf: I’ve already talked with community leaders in historically marginalized neighborhoods who have told me about numerous existing programs intended to help them that are completely ineffective. We need to review those programs and their funding to make sure they are truly beneficial programs and not just window dressing. If they do not meet the intended needs, we must move those funds to successful programs. I think there have been enough studies. My administration will partner with local community groups and neighborhood leaders to ensure city funds are being spent in meaningful ways to benefit the people who need support. One significant effort I am involved in to address a serious need in marginalized neighborhoods is the lack of access to technology known as the Digital Divide. I’m a member of the Digital Divide Coalition, which has a goal to ensure affordable access to Internet service, equipment and training so families in marginalized neighborhoods can function in our technologically driven society. It is important to ensure technology access for connection to educational programs to online job portals and to “work-from-home” opportunities. The Digital Divide Coalition is looking for ways to make this happen.
- Craig Greenberg: This is an issue I take very seriously and to which I am committed. I have a track record of securing funding for historically marginalized communities dating back to 2004 when I secured over $50 Million for the Louisville Community Development Bank through the federal New Market Tax Credits program. Our city needs to be absolutely committed to ensuring investment in our too-long ignored communities and, as Mayor, I will make sure that happens. I will also make sure that new developments do not ignore the wants and needs of local residents and that the rights and desires of renters, homeowners and community stakeholders are not put aside or ignored before new development proceeds.
Question 14: Childcare – The past two years of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic have showcased that childcare is a critical workforce barrier. Since March 2020, Louisville has lost more than 8% of childcare capacity and 40% of working age parents in Jefferson County have cited care responsibilities as reasons for not returning to work. What are the most important changes and investments that can be made at the local level to stabilize this sector? Candidate responses are listed in alphabetical order.
- Bill Dieruf: It is imperative that we have sufficient childcare options for working families. I will advocate for changes in state law that would create incentives for businesses to start and maintain on-site or shared near-site childcare facilities. Programs for large and small businesses could be allowed whether it involves providing on-site day care or vouchers to help cover the costs of daycare services. I will work with my many connections in Frankfort to get this accomplished. I would also review and revise Land Development Code guidelines for both commercial/industrial settings for on-site childcare and residential settings for home daycares that do not change the residential community so more daycares of both kinds can be opened. These facilities also play a significant role in early childhood education that is so necessary for children to succeed in school, which is one of my top priorities. Training programs for daycare workers could help increase them be successful in their jobs and lower turnover at daycares. Having well-trained workers is important so daycares provide the caring environments our youngest citizens deserve.
- Craig Greenberg: Safe, reliable and well regulated childcare and pre-K is crucial to working families at all levels of our economy. However the past two years have shown that access to childcare holds back working class families. Too many families can’t find quality childcare and, when they do, find it too expensive. As Mayor, I will organize and lead a public/private partnership to make Universal Pre-K a reality for all three- and four-year old children in Louisville. We will reach out to national foundations with hundreds of billions of dollars of assets and ask them to invest in Louisville’s future and put us on the map for the right reason.
Question 15: Relocation Incentives – The pandemic has caused a huge disruption in traditional working environments and precipitated a national shift toward remote work. Would you support local relocation incentives to attract new talent, including remote workers, to Louisville? Candidate responses are listed in alphabetical order.
- Bill Dieruf: I would be supportive of incentives for employee relocation. But these incentives would have to be earned and not a bonus upon arrival. Businesses would administer the program and would have to submit proof of hire and qualifying length of service to earn the credit. Metro Louisville would supplement the funding for an incentive program to pay relocation expenses of people who want to work here. In 2020, when I was serving as President of the Kentucky League of Cities, I traveled to 187 cities across the state, speaking with elected officials about workforce issues – particularly the attraction of remote workers. One idea that emerged is that remote workers who live here for a required length of time could submit documentation for a list of approved reimbursable expenses. We need to look for creative ways to get remote workers to bring their jobs here, and relocation incentives would be a strong draw. After what we’ve learned about new ways to work from the pandemic, I believe Louisville is the best place for all workers to choose to live.
- Craig Greenberg: Absolutely! I support efforts to make Louisville an attractive relocation destination for remote workers. Our relatively low cost of living, amazing outdoor recreation opportunities, and central geographic location makes us an ideal location for professionals looking to relocate. We should pursue new incentives to attract these individuals and we should partner with the Commonwealth in doing so. Credits for relocating, assistance with student loans, and other incentives to have remote workers incorporate their businesses in Louisville should all be pursued. And, finally, to be successful at this, Louisville must be seen as a safe, inclusive and innovative city. As Mayor, making this a reality will be my priority.