Editorial: Local government matters, and here’s why



Ask students to name their representative in the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government, and many will return the question with a blank stare.

Amid a recently finished gubernatorial election and ongoing presidential campaigns, students may forget about the government closest to home.

Jake Gibbs represents campus and many other student neighborhoods in the Lexington -Fayette Urban County Government’s third district. Students should know the policies and priorities of councilmember Gibbs.

Minimum wage increase

Student workers at UK and off-campus businesses will soon be getting larger paychecks. The Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government last week voted to increase the mimumum wage from $7.25 an hour to $10.10 an hour over a three year period.

Mayor Jim Gray said he would sign the ordinance that would raise the minimum wage to $8.20 on July 1, then to $9.15 on July 1, 2017, and finally to $10.10 on July 1, 2018.

Gibbs said he helped advocate for this bill to benefit poorer neighborhoods and students.

“You guys deserve more,” Gibbs said.

Student housing

Student neighborhoods have a fair share of problems. From litter and broken bottles to a lack of sidewalks and poor living conditions, Gibbs is trying to improve student housing.

“I think a lot of (students) are living in subpar housing,” Gibbs said.

Bad landlords are not above the law, and Gibbs wants students to know how to keep their landlords in check. If  problems go unfixed, Lexington’s Division of Code Enforcement can force a landlord to comply.

Gibbs is also trying to reduce the amount of litter in student neighborhoods.

Speed limits

Local politicians are working to make all of the downtown core and part of campus a 25 miles per hour speed limit zone.

Gibbs said this would not only make the city safer, but it would enourage more people to walk and bike.

UK and Gibbs have both been pushing for more cycling and walking. UK officials have said this would help ease parking problems on and near campus.

The actions of Gibbs and the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government can affect students more than the federal government and the state government. Therefore it is crucial for students to stay informed.