Aaron Gillum: Candidate for Florence City Council
Last January, after reviewing the list of candidates who had come forward, I made a commitment to our city to be willing, able and effective in representing my neighbors on the Florence City Council.
Even with over a decade of corporate management experience, as well as serving county, local and state councils; to really be able to serve as a board representative, I knew it would take work.
Honoring that pledge, I have attended all board meetings since filing, a claim that no other candidate can offer. Likewise, I was the only new candidate to join mayor and council at the Florence Budget Retreat, a public forum where every line item in the upcoming budget is reviewed by the council with every department head. I followed the mayor and city administrators to learn how the city works and to be better informed about how we make decisions.
It was a very enriching experience, I followed our police and fire departments to get their point of view on Florence. I met with our Director of Public Works to review this great organization at length. I have been repeatedly assured that I am the only candidate who has taken none of these preparatory steps.
On Election Day (if our weather continues to cooperate), I will have personally visited the homes of over 3,000 of my neighbors, looking for their best ideas for our community. I believe that by combining our collective insight, the experience I have gained from investing the time to learn, and the relationships forged with city government, I will be ready to be able to effectively represent our voices.
Almost anyone can apply. They can print posters, flyers or direct mail. The responsibility as a member of council to our more than 30,000 neighbors and more than 220 dedicated city employees is to be able to make informed decisions on behalf of our city and to understand the seriousness and impact of the slightest shares.
I am grateful for the insights you have shared with me. I am grateful for the learning I have received over the past 10 months, and for the willingness of our municipal administration to be transparent and available to teach.
I am Aaron Gillum, and I am honored to have the opportunity to earn and retain your trust on the Florence City Council.
Election day is Tuesday, November 8.
Julie Smith-Morrow: Commissioner of Newport
I’m running for commissioner of Newport. I’m asking for your votes on election day.
“Who am I?” I graduated from Brookfield Central High School in Brookfield, a suburb of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. But “the rest of my story” requires an explanation of the details, detours, ups and downs of my life. Years later, as a single mother and older college student, I earned a Bachelor of Science in Agronomy and a Ph.D. in Plant Genetics from Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas. I married John Morrow in 1995. I am a mother of three sons – two live in Austin, TX and the third in Greenville, SC. And I’m a cat mother of three.
I wasn’t born in Newport, but I got here as fast as I could. Twenty years ago John and I decided to leave Lubbock and the begging of Texas and cross the country to Newport. We left with three cats and two dogs in early 2003, leaving Lubbock in our rearview mirror. We were hopeful for our future in Newport. I was thrilled that we could walk across the street to Pompilios and a few more blocks to St. Paul’s Episcopal Church. The people of Newport were very friendly and we met many new friends. I fell in love with our new hometown.
“What do I do?” Simple and clear, I work for my community. I serve because I have a deep and personal connection with children and families. I believe that everyone deserves to live in safety, to be educated and prepared to work, and to have quality housing. For a quarter of a century I have held executive and volunteer leadership positions with Goodwill Industries and South Plains Food Bank in Lubbock and in this field with Freestore Foodbank, Dress for Success and Newport Board of Education. John and I connected with the East Row Historic Foundation, and I was elected its Gateway Representative. Governor Beshear appointed me in 2014 to the Gateway Community and Technical College Board of Trustees. The voters of Newport have elected me to our school board five times since 2007, and I am currently vice-chair of the board.
During my tenure at the school board, we have worked to improve student achievement and graduation rates; create professional and artistic programs; maintain, upgrade and build facilities; keep district finances in good shape; and education management during the Covid pandemic. Newport Schools does not work alone, and all progress depends on building relationships – with parents supporting their students, businesses providing resources, and with the city in our partnership resulting in economic development projects.
I enjoy working with others to achieve common goals. I am a collaborator. At different times and in different situations, I have been a leader, a follower or a member of a team. I gravitate towards the work that is most needed.
Why am I running? I appreciate that great works have gone before us since settlers from the East arrived in Kentucky in the 18th century. The good work continues with our current municipal government. My service in the nonprofit and educational community of Newport and my work as a professional genealogist have helped me appreciate Newport’s long history and our first families who came to seek land and opportunity. While Newport has grown, many still struggle here. We still have a lot to do and I hope to be part of this work.
It will be my job as Commissioner of Newport to listen to you, our mayor, fellow commissioners and our city manager, and then find consensus on our most important priorities.
As one of your Newport Commissioners, my top priorities will be public safety, economic development, housing and quality of life:
• We need to keep all of our neighborhoods safe. I will work for safe neighborhoods and prioritize proper staffing and training in our police and fire departments.
• We need to bring income to Newport and provide good jobs for residents. I will work to support current businesses and attract beneficial developments and individual entrepreneurs. I will support businesses that can provide jobs here in Newport.
• We need affordable, quality housing. No one should be left homeless or live in dilapidated properties. I will support innovative housing programs that make rental and home ownership accessible to all citizens of Newport and protect our residents from real estate developers who put profit before the well-being of our residents.
• While it is important for Newport to evolve and grow, we must not sacrifice our quality of life which makes Newport the best place to live. I will address infrastructure needs, protect our environment, remember our historical and architectural heritage, and strive to make Newport an even better place to live.
To represent you well, I need to hear from you. I will address your concerns and answer your questions. If I don’t know the answer, I’ll find out. I am delighted to work with you and grow Newport. I believe my record shows that I have the personal and leadership qualities, commitment and experience necessary in a Newport commissioner. I ask for your vote on election day. Please contact me at [email protected] or 513.237.3302.
Election ’22: NKyTribune Welcomes Candidates’ Columns and Citizens’ Letters
The NKyTribune welcomes articles by candidates and letters from citizens related to the November 8 election.
Direct messages to voters from candidates should be between 1,000 and 1,200 words and should focus on the candidate’s specific reasons for running for office and their qualifications. Messages should be positive about candidates – not negative about opponents.
Letters from voters supporting a candidate must be signed, with name and city of residence. (Include phone number for NKyTribune use, but not for publication.) Letters must be received by NOVEMBER 1. Letters should be limited to approximately 500 words.
The NKyTribune will make every effort to use each submission, but publication of these articles will cease as of November 5.
The NKyTribune encourages all citizens to register to vote and express their right to have their voices heard at the ballot box.