Thomas Guidugli

District/Office: 
Political party: 
Nonpartisan
Question 1: 

Over the past several years many residents have found it difficult to find meaningful employment that is accessible to them. What steps will you take to ensure that residents in our more urban neighborhoods will be able to have the same opportunities as other communities, and to ensure that every part of the city benefits from economic development?

We must retain, create and attract jobs worthy of workers by focusing on industry sectors in which companies are growing our economy generating wealth and prosperity for all. By focusing on our strengths, by supporting emerging entrepreneurs, by fostering innovation and unleashing the potential of our location, we will continue to grow jobs.  We have a proven record of these types of companies. Nexigen, Ethos Labs, and St. Elizabeth Facility all demonstrate companies that reflect this strategy.  Our vibrant Monmouth Street has several new businesses of all sizes.  Our most significant new opportunity is the route 9 corridor.  New Riff distilleries recently announced the redevelopment of this area.  This will add life, energy and jobs to an amazing campus of repurposed historic structures.   More jobs equal more opportunities in Newport and the future is bright. Newport has added over 1000 jobs in our community in the last few years.

Question 2: 

Redevelopment in Newport has resulted in the relocation of affordable housing units and the present/former occupants. Given the model of concentration and isolation of the former generation of public housing, this relocation presents both challenges and opportunities. How do you plan to provide greater opportunities to low income residents while affirmatively furthering fair housing? 

The Fair Housing Act as amended, prohibits discrimination in the sale, rental, and financing of dwellings, and in other housing-related transactions, based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, and disability. Newport has a strong history of Fair Housing and continues to provide housing opportunities throughout our community.  The relocation of former generation of concentrated outdated public housing has resulted in a more diverse offering of public housing.  These offerings include: a commitment to senior housing matching the demographical aging population; the Scholarhouse, single parent student housing; home ownership opportunities, vital to a stronger community; historic properties partnerships, commitment to maintaining the charm of Newport’s historic identity and the derived benefits of historic preservation.  Newport has always done more than its fair share of fair housing options.  It is time for the regions others cities to partner in participation of additional fair housing options.

Question 3: 

Newport is one of the most diverse cities in northern Kentucky when it comes to racial and ethnic make up, and has many vibrant neighborhoods. 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? 

In Newport, we have been intentional in recruitment of diversity of Boards and Employment.   Newport’s history is rich with employment diversity.   However, our workforce has reduced from 300 employees to just over 100 employees resulting in turn a lower level of diversity.  The board has a stated goal to attain a more diverse workforce.  To demonstrate a step to this goal, we held Cultural Competence training in April.  This program was attended by all Employees and the Board of Commissioners and Mayor over three days.  The Bowles Center for Diversity Outreach provided the program.  Newport was the first in the region to participate in Diversity training.  We were commended as courageous leaders committed to diversity by Jerome Bowles, the president of the NAACP.  In Newport, our actions continue to match our words.   We continue to attempt to recruit diversity in both City Boards and Employees.

Question 4: 

Currently there are several 'brownfields' scattered throughout Newport. The most well known of these include the L&H Tool & Die site at 12th and Lowell, which was profiled in an USA Today article detailing brownfields and lead contamination, and the former Newport Steel location. What can the city do to help clean up these and other sites, and promote development that will enhance the communities surrounding them?

In Newport, we have a very limited amount of land as our city has been built out for generations.  A brownfield is piece of industrial property that is abandoned or underused and often environmentally contaminated.   Brownfields provide Newport unique potential opportunity for redevelopment and we are actively engaged in seeking solutions.  We have aggressively applied for and received grants to identify and study potential brownfield sites.  In Zoning, we created a transitional zone to encourage mixed use redevelopment to enhance development opportunities.  We have partnered with Duke Energy creating a site readiness plan.   We have successfully obtained a remediation plan for L&H site through the State of Kentucky.  Along the Route 9 corridor, the former Steel Mill provides one of our greatest redevelopment job growth opportunities.  The fiscal health of Newport requires the highest and greatest use of our available land.  Partnerships with brownfield owners provide new exciting opportunities.

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 their feet. Louisville and Cincinnati, for example, have removed questions about previous convictions from hiring applications. What steps do you feel Newport can and should take to help folks re-enter our community?

This issue is a challenging one for all cities especially the size of Newport.  Many may be aware, Newport due to its small population is not an entitlement city. It does not qualify for funding of larger cities.  Entitlement cities government programs guaranteeing access to some benefit of a specific group and based on established rights or legislation.   Reentry programs are addressed at the State level requiring studies and financial support.   Most states pay tens of thousands of dollars a year to house each inmate. Several states are rethinking the way they spend that money. In some states, sentencing reform, increased support for former inmates, and rehabilitation and education programs for current prisoners have helped keep prisoners from returning to prison.  A State program is the best opportunity fostering initiatives to integrate these citizens back into communities.  An employment application is not a program.  I supports a state re-entry program.

Question 6: 

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 Newport to protect LGBTQ+ individuals from discrimination?

Newport has always had a very diverse population and that diversity has always included LGBTQ+.  Many of these residents have been among the most engaged of our citizens.  As an Employer, Newport has always led by example and was one on the first cities to recognize civil unions and provide partner benefits.  Our community stands united in support of LGBTQ+.   However, the expanded human rights ordinance could become necessary in Newport as well.   Upon discovery of a single case of discrimination, Newport would explore the implementation of an expanded human rights ordinance. Simply stated, I support the protection of LGBTQ+ from discrimination.