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MEET THE CANDIDATES (CLICK THEIR NAMES TO HEAR FROM THE CANDIDATE)
6 Seats (i)=incumbent
I have a strong desire to share the knowledge and experience of what I have seen and done over the course of my life with our community as a part of the City Council. To keep Fort Thomas as special as it has always been, there will continue to be the need for a great deal of effort, cooperation, partnership and a variety of capabilities and points of view on our Council. I want very much to be a part of the work performed by our Council in support of the City Staff and to sustain the growth and vitality of our community.
Given these often-divisive political times, I wanted to take this opportunity provided by The River City News and Fort Thomas Matters to share my thoughts about the role of a Council Member. The Fort Thomas City Council is a non-partisan body that can be considered the legislative part of our government managing ordinances, the budget, and a variety of operational aspects in support of the city and citizens. I am not running for this seat with any agenda or specific goal to accomplish as a part of the Council. I am offering my help and my commitment to the role in support of the effort to keep Fort Thomas at the top of the list as one of the best places to live all of these United States.
My background can be summarized as follows:
- Thirty (30) years of experience working in corporate America. Twenty-four (24) of those as a human resources business partner. Through this experience I understand business, the cost of running one and how decisions made to run a great business (like a great city) impact people.
- I am considered by business partners to be a valued, trusted and partner critical to the success of the business. With this experience I am confident you will feel the same way about me representing you on City Council.
- I will be collaborative, I will think logically and act pragmatically, intuitively, and decisively as I approach the work the Council needs to perform in support of the City Staff and running the City.
- I believe in an approach of working professionally and with respect for all points of view.
I was born and raised in the center of town. After college I spent many years away from Fort Thomas, living and working in dozens of other communities across the country and traveling a good part of the world. Because of my time away and in so many other communities, I can speak from experience as to just how special this city of ours really is. I am ready to share all my knowledge and experience and ask for your vote to place me in a seat on our City Council to support you and the City of Fort Thomas. http://markcookforcouncil.com/
I am running for city council in Fort Thomas because I am a leader and I am driven to make a difference in my community.
I have been a leader for as long as I can remember; just ask my little brother! I have a tendency to lead in whatever situation I find myself, from being the president of my college choir to organizing parents for Santa House at Moyer. But the very best compliment to my leadership skills I have ever received came from a director I was working with in grad school. He was a long-time drama professor who was directing a musical I was stage managing. (Stage managing in itself is a leadership role in any theatrical production. I’m in charge of everything that happens offstage.) My two assistants, the cast, and the crew depended on my leadership to make the process productive and enjoyable. He pulled me aside and said, “You are the epitome of a ‘first among equals’. You lead everyone without them knowing they are being led.” I adore that phrase, “first among equals.” That is true leadership. It’s about motivation, knowledge, respect, and more all rolled into one. It’s never about telling people what to do. It’s much more important to listen.
Working as a stage manager for the past twenty years has afforded me the opportunity to live in a number of cities and work with people from all walks of life. I bring all of that experience to the table and can’t wait to leverage it for the citizens of Fort Thomas. Fort Thomas is our home. It is a place we chose to raise our family and we love it here. This is why I’m running. Because of my love for my community.
In my life, I have always risen to challenges through hard work, people skills, and intelligence. I do best when I am challenged. With your support, the win is within my reach. I hope to earn your vote.
Our Communities Matter
Like many of you, our family is adjusting to a new school schedule. For us, it’s week two into in-person schooling. My children are excited to wake up each day, come home and know they need to finish any homework before playing. While they still want to soak up the last bit of beautiful weather before it begins to get cold, they are ready to come in each evening to settle down so we can all get up and start over once again.
As a parent, it could be easy to second guess your decisions, worry about your children’s safety or feel guilty because you may feel relieved about a return of some sense of “normal” in your life, with your kids back in school. I choose to be thankful. Thankful for those who have worked so hard to make changes and decisions to make sure my children get to go back to school. I am thankful for the teachers and administrators who made it possible to do Non-Traditional School until they could go back in-person.
While fall looks a little different from past years – we are still spending a lot of time at home and my girls shout reminders when we leave the house to make sure we all have masks – some of the best of our community is still shinning bright.
Throughout the years, as I have volunteered with many organizations, I have always felt that Northern Kentucky is such a great place to get involved and make a difference. While there is a lot going on in our world today, let’s not forget the importance of the simple things – saying hello to our neighbors, thanking our teachers and getting involved in our communities in big and small ways.
We have a lot to be proud of and a lot to enjoy locally. Your decisions impact our local businesses, support our children and local families and the needs of our neighbors.
Remember, our local communities matters.
Carla Landon is a marketing and communications professional and mom of two girls. She is the past Chair of the NKY Forum, past VP of the Campbell County Public library and resides in Ft. Thomas.
Here’s Why I’m Running This Year
I am running as a commitment to family and community and because I have had 20 years of experience on City Council trying to live these commitments.
Family and Community
I first moved to northern Kentucky from Lexington in 1983 with my wife Mary and our infant daughter Christina (Tina). We were very fortunate that we landed in Fort Thomas and have lived in the city ever since. We had two more children, Elizabeth (Liz) and Robert (Rob). All three graduated from Highlands, so we became very involved with our schools and gained a deep appreciation for what they mean to our community. We now have four grandchildren and two of them live in Fort Thomas and are going to school. This is the community where my family has grown and thrived and it looks like that will be true for years to come.
Although the city was a great place when we moved here, it struck me that, unlike some other cities in the area, we were not looking forward and thinking about how to make a great place better. Fort Thomas had great people who were involved and active in the community, but it did not have the physical assets and appearance that reflected the type of community it really was.
Because of my commitment to family and interest in community, I decided to run for City Council and was elected. The city went through a visioning process with public engagement. I am happy to say that during my years of service, council has focused on that vision. The result has been a complete transformation of our city’s attractiveness and livability.
Improvements to the Central Business District, Inverness and the Midway District have helped create vibrant business communities, resulting in substantial private investment. We have significantly upgraded all of our parks, changing them from tired old facilities that were not very usable, to parks that are second to none. Whether it’s events at the Tower Park amphitheater, great trails, sports fields, playgrounds or picnic shelters, we have wonderful park assets that are heavily used. Also during this time, although not a direct city matter, the community undertook a total rebuilding of our schools. As soon as Johnson Elementary is finished, the plan will be complete. I am happy that the city could coordinate its efforts and have joint ventures with the School Board that helped get us to where we are.
Anyone visiting Fort Thomas before any of these projects were completed would have had a much different impression of our community than they would today.
A couple of years ago, I thought that maybe we had accomplished the goals I had set for myself when I first ran for council. Then Mayor Haas decided to do a new visioning process to take a fresh look at the future. Once again, we had significant citizen input to identify opportunities to reach an even better level of livability. That process was completed and we are actually taking steps now to put that vision into action.
The creation of a more “downtown” environment for the Central Business District was one of those visions. The city agreed to invest in parking so a major developer would build a commercial/residential project that will be the start of creating that downtown. Fort Thomas Coffee will be the corner tenant and they plan to expand their offerings beyond coffee. A major investment will be made to the City Building that will also improve that area of our town.
The visioning process identified other opportunities for enhancement, including the US 27 Corridor and the Fort Thomas riverfront. It became obvious to me that the city needs to continue to move forward for the community’s children and grandchildren so that it continues as one of the most livable places in the Greater Cincinnati area. People make a community and future investment in our city will continue to help the community thrive.
Experience is the other reason I am running. During these past two years we have had many new City Council members and, due to retirements, we will have many new council members again. It is exciting to me that the younger generation is stepping up to carry the torch of making our community better and better. However, experience in bringing a vision to reality is critical. During my term, I think I can say that I have been there and done that.
In addition, my work as a government finance attorney has given me the experience to understand city budgets and financial needs. In addition to all the improvements that I have mentioned, the city has the best police and fire departments in the region, and also provides efficient city services through our public works department. All these services at a time when pension and healthcare costs could have devastated our ability to move forward with our visioning plans. I have been chair of the Finance Committee for most of my term and that experience will allow me to keep seeking ways to efficiently fund our public services as well as our new vision.
My life experience also includes participation on other boards. Currently, I am a member of the St. Elizabeth, South Bank Partners, Northern Kentucky Port Authority and Covington Business Council boards. In the past, I have also been a board member for Healthpoint Family Services, the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce and the Tri County Economic Development Corporation. I say this just to let you know the background that I bring to all City Council work.
I trust that you are as committed to building community as I am. I look forward to your support on Election Day.
We have a very special thing here in Fort Thomas. Serving on Fort Thomas City Council is my way of giving back to the city that we all know and love. Growing up in Fort Thomas was and is as good as it gets. When I was a kid, my parents trusted in the city and felt safe enough allow us to play in the streets until dark, ride bikes to Convenient in the middle of town or to school and walk to our friend’s house after school or on the weekends. This is exactly what I want for my kids.
It’s not in every community you go to where you see neighbors talking with neighbors or kids playing games like man hunt, kickball, kick the can, tag or just running throughout the neighborhood in the front and back yards, streets and sidewalks. On any given weekend night, on any given street or neighborhood you drive down in the city the chances are pretty good of stumbling upon an impromptu firepit for the adults while the kids are running and playing (without electronics).
This is what Fort Thomas is to me! A great place to raise a family, A great place for your children to get an excellent education, A great sense of community, A great place to call HOME.
I’m seeking my 4th term on Fort Thomas City Council and continue my work with the citizens and the city to ensure the future of this wonderful place we all call home.
We are in the middle of exciting times and nearing the completion of our Comprehensive Plan that will ensure the city is moving forward for many years, which I was selected to Chair the Parks and Open space portion of the plan. With many of the citizens of Fort Thomas working side by side with Council, City Staff and hired Engineers and Designers there are many improvements coming to the city some of which are listed below:
- Communication/Notification methods used by the city
- Parking in the Midway District
- Safe routes to schools’ sidewalks
- Updating crosswalk indicators
- Updated play equipment in the parks
- Ziplines, Ropes Course, Bike parks, Splash pads
- Route 8 rejuvenation-camping, canoe launch, walking paths
- Smart City initiative
- Connectivity with other cities
- VA Homes restoration
- Proper side street speed limits
- Supporting City Staff to be as efficient as possible
I am the Chair of the Parks and Rec committee while also serving on the Financial & Public Works Committees. Our parks are a huge asset to the city and my passion for them made me a good fit to chair the department. Through the Comprehensive Plan we are planning on investing to update our parks to rival that of any in the region.
Attractions like the Zip Line, Ropes Course, Bike Park, Pickle Ball and organized events through the Parks Department will bring visitors to our city and patrons to our local businesses. With the potential of a hotel being built in close proximity to Tower Park, having the ability to host corporate events in the Mess Hall and having a “Team Building” activity located outside the doors of the Mess Hall meeting space, Tower Park becomes that much more of a destination and will bring business to our local shops and restaurants.
Fort Thomas is one of the most sought-after cities in the Commonwealth to live. We have excellent schools, we have been named the safest city in Kentucky thanks to our Police and Fire departments, our streets and sidewalks look great are made safe by the Public Works Department. Current Council, the Mayor and City Staff work very hard to preserve the history of what makes our city so wonderful and drive the improvements that will ensure we are moving forward in a positive direction with the tangible and intangibles the city has to offer.
As a Fort Thomas City Councilman, it is my job to make decisions based on what is best for the city and its citizens. The decisions I make are based on common sense while being fiscally responsible.
It has been a privilege and honor to represent the citizens of Fort Thomas over the past 2 terms of Fort Thomas City Council. I would appreciate your vote November 3rd.
I’m running because I’m a leader and because I care. I care deeply about Fort Thomas and the people who call this home. Having grown up here and also having lived away for several years I recognize and value that our town is not like others. The school system is second-to-none. We’re blessed to live in such a safe community. There’s an effort towards continual improvement that is inspiring. There’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes to ensure that our way of life in Fort Thomas is protected. I do not take our community for granted, and I want to be an active voice in its future and your representative on City Council.
I believe that City Council is important. On the local level, in particular, everyone’s voice can be heard. Council makes decisions that directly impact each of us and our families, and I pride myself on my ability to listen to others and make informed, level-headed decisions. A council member must be accessible to the residents of Fort Thomas. I genuinely enjoy and look forward to meeting and learning what’s most important to you as decisions come to council to vote on.
I have always felt extremely fortunate to grow up in this town, to attend our schools, and to meet the wonderful people in our community and form lasting friendships. I believe that living in Fort Thomas is a privilege and a platform that encourages success. As a homeowner and taxpayer in our town, I look forward to raising my family and will consider every decision made by council with family and community in mind. I want my children to be blessed with the same safe environment and with every opportunity (and more!) that my sister and I had growing up.
I am not running for Fort Thomas City Council because I have some radical plan for change. A council member represents the voice of the community on every matter that comes to city hall. Our decisions should not be made on political grounds but with the good of every resident in mind. I will be an asset to our city in my ability to represent your voice and to clearly convey the issues that come to our desk. A few important priorities that I have:
1) I want to make sure that our police, fire and EMS continue to receive the resources and support they need to do their jobs successfully. It’s easy to take their services for granted unless you need them, and these people do a wonderful service to Fort Thomas. We’re lucky to have them.
2) I will be an advocate for our teachers and educational administrators, as well as for the parents and students who attend our schools. I believe that our school system is our best asset, and our community has done a wonderful job of supporting its continuous improvement. I’m excited for the opportunity to work to maintain our tradition of excellence.
3) I want to work with council and our community members to support successful business development, particularly with the work in the center of town. There is and will be opportunity to foster successful businesses that we can benefit from and enjoy. I believe that Fort Thomas can do a better job of supporting our own, and I look forward to helping to facilitate that.
4) I am passionate about the access that we have to outdoor activities in Fort Thomas. I enjoy running on our sidewalks and hiking in our parks. I want to work to continue the local park improvements and to ensure that we can enjoy safe and accessible public spaces.
Lastly, I am a problem-solver. As I go door-to-door meeting our residents, I appreciate hearing about what is important to you and what can be improved upon. Whether it’s an area of your street that needs attention or concerns about pedestrian safety in a certain part of town these matters need to be heard and voiced at council. It’s council’s responsibility to reflect these issues and work together towards an effective solution. I believe that I am the right person to be a part of the team.
I’m proud to be a resident of Fort Thomas. I am running for City Council because of that and because I will be an impactful leader for our community. I’m a collaborative person by nature who strives to see the best in others. I’m an optimist and I’m sure that Fort Thomas is the premier community in greater Cincinnati to live and raise a family. Lets keep it that way.
I’m confident that I’m the right representative voice for our town. I’d appreciate your support on November 3rd.
Dear Friends and Neighbors,
I believe that actions speak louder than words. As your Councilman, I have…
• Voted NO against One Highland, the project in the center of town. I do not believe in using taxpayer money to help fund this project.
• Brought consistency to our city through the Uniform Residential Landlord Tenant Act, which helps protect property owners and tenants.
• Voted to not raise city taxes. The first time the city has not raised taxes in over 40 years.
• Helped level the playing field for our stores and restaurants by modifying the alcohol sales on Sunday to align with neighboring cities.
• As a Parks Committee member, helped oversee improvements to Tower Park.
• As Chair of Public Safety, I have been aggressively pushing to lower the speed limits on all side streets.
• Personally, provided support for the construction of the long-overdue and needed shelter at the Highland dog park.
These are just a few examples of what I have worked towards as your city council member.
I decided to become a Fort Thomas Council Member to give back to the community that has given so much to me, my family and my friends. I could not be prouder to say I am from Fort Thomas and I am so honored to represent the city as your Councilman. With your support on election day I will continue to fight for the safety, welfare and happiness of our community.
Please feel to reach out to me with any concerns or questions you have about our city or if you simply would like to know more about me.
Thank you for your vote on November 3rd.
My name is Matt Reed, and I am a lifelong resident of Fort Thomas, Kentucky. I am running for city council because of I want to give back to this wonderful city that has given me so much throughout my life.
If elected, I will be 100% committed to ensuring that Fort Thomas continues to thrive, by being easily accessible to residents who wish to express any concerns or suggestions. I believe that collaboration and communication between council members, administration, and the residents is vital.
Reliability is an important characteristic of a councilman, and if elected, you can rely on me to thoroughly research all aspects of proposals and projects, to be prompt when responding to residents who may reach out, and to be active and engaged at every city council meeting.
Having grown up in Fort Thomas, I have always wanted to give back to the community, and I look forward to continuing this by joining several of the committees that the city has to offer.
The Fort Thomas Independent Schools are very important to me as well. I attended Ruth Moyer Elementary, Highlands Middle School, and Highlands High School, graduating in 2008. I am passionate about every school within the city, and I have been an assistant football coach at Highlands High School since 2011. I truly believe that playing football at Highlands, under the leadership of Head Coach, Dale Mueller, and Assistant Head Coach, Brian Weinrich, molded me into the hard-working, reliable man that I am today. My goal for every young man that I coach is for them to leave the program a better man than when they came in, so they can go on to be wonderful husbands, fathers and community members.
Our city is one of the most sought-after places in the state to live, due to the low crime rate, our excellent police and fire departments, wonderful school district, the aesthetic beauty, and the overall small town, tight-knit community. I can assure you, that if elected, I will exceed your expectations and do everything within my power to ensure that our city continues to flourish.
I am asking for your vote in the upcoming election on November 03, 2020. As a home-grown, lifelong Fort Thomas resident, it would mean the world to me to get to serve you as city councilman.
Public service is addictive. I decided to become active in contributing to the future of this city about twenty years ago by serving on the Renaissance board. That really gave me the “bug” to put my energy into programs and projects that enhance quality of life and vitality in my home city. From façade grant programs to events like Merchants and Music, I could see tangible improvements that might not have happened without those efforts having been made by myself and other dedicated volunteers. It was a natural progression to take it up a notch by running for council back in 2012. It has been my pleasure to serve consistently since that time. I feel that we have come a long way in protecting what we value, while carefully progressing into the future.
After much time and effort, we now have a comprehensive plan to use as a road map to what is needed for a better tomorrow. A lot of time and dedication by several individual dedicated volunteers as well as insightful staff and outside professional consultants went into the creation of that outline for what should happen moving forward. Now comes the time to prioritize and start implementing these ideas and making them a reality.
There are several areas of concern that I would like to see prioritized. The top of the list involves public safety. I have been frustrated beyond belief on how difficult it is to achieve what appear to me to be obvious changes that are needed in this area. For example: 25 MPH unless otherwise posted on all our streets needs to be re-evaluated on a case by case basis. It is within our power to implement changes on our streets that are not state routes. Also, on the list related to public safety is our handling of the Covid-19 problem. While I know that we are all tired of the sacrifices that we have been asked to make to mitigate the spread, I have been disappointed in what I see every day from those who refuse to recognize the threat that it presents. Denial of the real dangers only prolongs the painful duration of the pandemic. As government officials, I seriously feel that it is our most important duty to protect the health and welfare of our citizens. This is the first time in my 4 terms serving on council that we have been faced with choices that have such direct impact public health. My position has proven to be unpopular, but I feel that some of the activities that we are promoting and the lack of advocacy for safety practices among our citizens is a big concern.
Green space preservation is also huge on my list of concerns. There are large tracts of land in our city that need to be protected from potential development. The negative impact on the city would be very real if we are unable to come up with solutions that satisfy property owners, while preserving these areas. I started working with the Ft. Thomas Forest Conservancy on this issue and began a dialogue with property owners right before the virus hit. My hope is to re-engage all parties and arrive at a workable solution as soon as possible. It will take a partnership and creation of a plan involving many people to achieve the mission.
There are so many things currently in the works involving enhancements to our parks, road projects, city building re-design, sidewalk additions, One Highland construction and redevelopment etc. etc. that will need our continued involvement. It is my hope that I will be given the opportunity to continue serving this community that I already have so much time and energy invested in.
As I write this, many including myself have already cast their ballots in the upcoming election. I really appreciated the opportunity to vote absentee under the current circumstances. In the section of the ballot for city council you will find ten candidates listed for only six seats. You may vote for up to six candidates. The best way to handle this is to select only the ones that you are sure of. That might be only two or three candidates, or maybe you are sure of six. My hope is to be one that you can be sure will be looking out for your best interest and that of the community as a whole. I am again not campaigning or posting yard signs. I am simply volunteering to continue serving the community that I care so much about.
I’m running this year because I feel that my past experience and perspective will be helpful in guiding our path forward. Having served fives terms as a Council member (10 years) and then sitting out one term , I am eager to to get back. It’s not been easy watching from the sidelines.
I am the owner of two small
businesses in Fort Thomas, Dirty Hairy’s Dog Spa and Pet Wants located in the Historic Midway District. I am easily accessible to residents and have always welcomed their input or concerns.
I am also the mother of two great kids who are now in their 20’s and continue to make me proud each and every day. They grew up here in Fort Thomas and are both Highlands graduates. This has given me a real appreciation for the value of our school system and the consistently high ratings that it maintains. Our schools are an extremely important part of our community.
During this break from Council I have been blessed with a grandson who has me wrapped around his little finger and I am amazed at how much magic he has brought to my life which makes me even more passionate about maintaining green space, our environment and wildlife for future generations to enjoy.
I am also passionate about public safety and transparency.
Its been great to see the continued progress that has been made in the last couple of years. Now that we have a completed comprehensive plan in place, there is obviously lots more to do. This will involve making decisions about priorities and how to achieve the vision that was outlined in the finished document. My hope would be that public safety related topics would be high on the list.
In my past service to the city, I served on both the finance and recreation committees. I was consistent in my votes against the 4% of revenue increases in property tax that typically happen every year. I was happy to see that this past year more Council members voted to not move forward with that increase. Sticking with the current rate especially in these times was the right thing to do.
Things that I hope to focus on in the next few years include improving transparency and accessibility of information to the public. There have been too many occasions that people have told me about decisions that have been made in committee that they wish they could have had input in, but just didn’t know. There are opportunities for improvement in that area. An opt in type email list could and should be established to keep people informed. There are multiple ways that improvement can be made related to this issue.
By now, I feel that anyone that knows me is aware that issues involving animals are also important to me. Judging by the number of people that get involved anytime we are dealing with issues related to animals, I’m obviously not alone in that. Anything from deer related issues, to dog ordinances seem to fill council chambers with residents wanting their ideas and input on the record as well. While no changes in those areas are currently being debated, they are likely to re-surface. Especially if we are not careful about protection of our existing greenspace.
I sincerely hope to be given the chance to serve again. This is such a critical time in our history and it would be difficult for me to not be able to play a part in shaping how it unfolds. If elected, you can be sure that I am always available to hear concerns about issues that are important to you. I couldn’t be any easier to find, and always welcome the conversations.
Fort Thomas is my home and I care deeply about our little town, the residents and future generations.