Patricia Wingo

District/Office: 
Political party: 
Nonpartisan
Question 1: 

Currently people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer (LGBTQ+) lack protection from discrimination in housing, employment, or public accommodation under state or federal law. Eight cities in Kentucky have passed their own expanded human rights ordinance, often referred to as a Fairness Ordinance, to extend protections to LGBTQ+ individuals. These cities include towns as small as Vicco (population 334), as large as Louisville (population 760,026), and as nearby as Covington (population 40,640). Do you support a Fairness Ordinance for Florence to protect LGBTQ+ individuals from discrimination?

I believe that discrimination in any form is unacceptable.  The City of Florence supports The Kentucky Commission on Human Rights and we have a Florence resident serving as a Commissioner, Robert Asseo.   The Commission is the State’s enforcement authority of the Kentucky Civil Rights Act and discrimination complaints are pursued through this Commission.  I would need to be presented with the specifics of a Fairness Ordinance before I could comment on my support of an ordinance.  In making my decision I would need to consider the opinion of the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights.  Additionally, I would request input from the Kentucky League of Cities, the City of Florence legal counsel and members of City Council.

Question 2: 

Most residents of Florence pride ourselves on being a welcoming community, and are excited about the many new families that have moved into our community over the past few years. Unfortunately, there have been several events to make many new residents feel less than welcome in our community. What will you do to create a community that is known for being welcoming of all people who call Florence home?

I am unaware of any events that have made new residents feel less than welcome in our community and I cannot comment on how to address this without specific information.   I believe that we have a community which welcomes all residents and that there is a concerted effort made by the City to welcome new residents and provide them with information about the City.  The City web site www.florence-ky.gov has several videos that share information about the community.  The website also provides answers to many questions a new resident may have regarding City services.  The City hosts several community events throughout the year, including City Nights Out which bring city staff to cookouts in several neighborhoods each year to help our residents get to know the City a little better.

Question 3: 

Over the last several years we have seen the need for assistance for many families in our community rise. This is evident by new places that help feed and clothe low income residents, a consistent multi-month waiting period for Section 8 vouchers in Boone County, an increased number of people in our community experiencing homelessness or at risk for homelessness, and an increased number of students qualifying for free and reduced lunch. What steps can the city take to tackle housing issues in Florence?

The need for housing assistance is an issue that is handled on a County-wide basis by Boone County.  Many larger cities fund housing programs through federal programs.  The City of Florence does not qualify for these programs which is why Boone County coordinates these services.

Question 4: 

What are your thoughts on the future of Northern Kentucky's public transit system, and how can we utilize it to help Florence grow without increasing traffic concerns? (In what ways do you think the Transit Authority of Northern Kentucky [TANK] is important to our community? What ideas do you have for improving TANK, and have it better serve those who depend upon their services?)

TANK has been very responsive to the City of Florence by providing increased access to public transit.  In recent years the expansion of TANK service routes throughout the community has aided our residents to better access their jobs, shopping and education.   The TANK Transit Center on Mall Road was a major commitment by TANK to this community and further reinforces that transit service will continue to be refined to best aid our residents.

Question 5: 

Citizens returning home from incarceration, and even those who have finished their probation and parole, often have trouble returning to their communities. Several cities and states have fostered initiatives aimed at helping these members of our community get back on the feet. Louisville and Cincinnati, for example, have removed questions about previous convictions from hiring applications. What steps do you feel Florence can and should take to help folks re-enter our community?

Kentucky Reentry has a Northern Kentucky Reentry Team located at the Kentucky Career Center in Covington, Kentucky.  This organization serves Boone County and specializes in coordinating the efforts of many local agencies offering assistance to ex-offenders and offenders to successfully reenter the community.  The Northern Kentucky Reentry Team is experienced in this work and can provide the appropriate assistance to these residents.  We can best help this population by supporting the work of the Northern Kentucky Reentry Team and other organizations focused on this type of work.

Question 6: 

Florence is one of the fastest growing cities in the state, and is quickly becoming more diverse in terms of racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic makeup. Yet some residents see a distinct lack of representation on city boards or in city employment. What steps can the city take to make sure that community boards and city employment are representative of the city as a whole?

The City of Florence has been very fortunate to welcome many new residents to the community over the past several years and the City encourages participation by our residents.  In an effort to keep the public informed, Council business meetings are broadcast on television.   Additionally, all meetings are open to the public and residents are encouraged to attend.  In an effort to make participation in government activities available to all residents, the City makes available an application to become a member of nine different Boards and Commissions.  Also, the City has many volunteer opportunities available.  This information is available at www.florence-ky.gov.