City council candidates pledge to listen to students

By Robin Pircher

Candidates for the 3rd District seat on the city council told students yesterday that if elected, they would consider what local people wanted in their community — not just what would be good for downtown business and development.

“Big interest doesn’t overtake the common good of the people,” said Jonathan Rodgers, one of the five candidates who spoke last night at a forum in the Student Center’s Worsham Theater.

Rodgers and the other candidates spoke about community issues near campus, including the proposed downtown development project CentrePointe, campus safety and last semester’s discussions about off-campus housing for students.

Students and members of the community were scattered throughout the theater to listen to proposals for the 3rd District, which includes UK.

Running candidates introduced themselves, described their ties to campus and explained what they propose to do if elected. Each of the candidates or one their family members has attended UK, and they stated ways they could keep in touch with students and the ideas students bring to them.

Responsibilities of the newly elected 3rd District councilmember will include the changes to downtown because of the CentrePointe project. The development would take away hotspots where students spend their evenings and weekends, said candidate Garry Weston. Weston said he hopes to become the bridge between campus, community and city.

Identifying who constituents are and what they want is the first step in decision making, said Eric Thomason. He said he plans to be a voice for students.

Candidate Don Pratt said he believes his honesty and courage provide a better solution.

Diane Lawless said that through her experience as the previous executive director of the Bluegrass Rape Crisis Center, she has accrued empathy and respect for people.

Rodgers said he favors the preservation of art and entertainment centers in Lexington’s 3rd District and is an advocate for making sure Lexington maintains its culture and creative heart.

Lexington residents have a community interest in the downtown development, Lawless said, which is why they need a representative who listens to their concerns.

“Decisions should not be made behind closed doors,” Lawless said. “This is why it is important to have leaders and council members. We hear what you have to say and decide the next step.”

The last day to register for the May 20 primaries is April 21. Student Government is working with Kentuckians for the Commonwealth to help register voters.

“You as a student body have a large say in what happens,” Pratt said. “I encourage you to register and vote.”

The platform of each candidate is available on the SG Web site ( and each candidate’s Web site. Links are available at