Tim Downing

Political party: 
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? 

Job creation should be the city manager and staff’s number one priority. In the last few years, Covington has lost several large employers to Cincinnati. We can do more to encourage small business development in the short term, but if we want meaningful long term job growth we must also create an environment that will attract high paying jobs to our city. Working for a fortune 500 company, I have traveled throughout our nation and I see younger, well educated people returning to the urban core looking for high paying corporate jobs within walking distance. Employees can then live and shop locally; block by block we will see new businesses flourish, increasing tax revenue and make Covington the destination of our region.  As city commissioner I will insist Covington becomes a much more business friendly environment for small business and large businesses alike.

Question 2: 

Covington has provided more affordable housing options than many other communities in northern Kentucky, and yet many of those who are being helped by these programs are concentrated in a handful of neighborhoods and often feel isolated from the larger Covington community. How can the city better integrate all residents into our community, provide greater opportunities to low income residents, and affirmatively further fair housing?

Covington is more than just a city, it is a diverse community comprised of a collection of neighborhoods. I believe that one of our highest priorities should be increasing home ownership in each neighborhood throughout our city. As a commissioner, I would actively lobby the general assembly to enact legislation to allow for Covington to have its own version of 3CDC. I believe that this is the fastest and safest path for our city, as it would allow private enterprise to be led by city government in order to partner on strategic city-wide redevelopment. This could include mixed income housing where appropriate and inevitably lead to increased home ownership while improving our local economy.

Question 3: 

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 Covington can and should take to help folks re-enter our community?

As a city commissioner it is not my role to micromanage city operations on a day to day basis. Covington was the victim of a multimillion dollar embezzlement by a trusted city employee just a few years ago. If the city manager and personnel director believe Covington should follow this trend despite our recent history, I would take that recommendation into consideration.  Covington has a city manager form of Government, and I do not believe that this issue is one that the city commission ought to adopt unless the city manager believes the commission needs to weigh in on it. This does not preclude our ability to reach out to local religious and non-profit groups who focus on this kind of transition.  As a society, we want to prevent recidivism and the best way to do that is by helping ensure those affected are able to find gainful employment.

Question 4: 

Covington is known for being Pedestrian friendly, and having mass transit options. Yet, there are few places in the city that accommodate cyclists with bike lanes or share lanes. What policies do you support to make cycling easier and safer in our city?

As an older community, Covington has countless infrastructure needs in every neighborhood and, as part of a growing city; Covington needs to be open to multi-modal transportation ideas. I believe that the best solution to this issue will be to review non-vehicular modes of transportation, such as cyclist accommodation, when plans are adopted to repair our ailing infrastructure, and to include such plans where they do not substantially increase the cost of a project. This will allow our city to transition in a manner that is effectual without placing an additional financial burden on our city.

Question 5: 

Could you detail some of the things you most want to accomplish in the upcoming term, if elected?

As commissioner, I want to ensure we have safe streets and adequate fire protection, tackle our infrastructure crisis, and re-focus our efforts on job creation. Safe streets means a well-equipped police force and restoring the fire department, including putting ambulance 3 back on line and pumper 1 back in service. It also means finding grants or making personnel changes to allow our code enforcement department to be full-time again in order to tackle the blight that has blossomed since they became part-time. Tackling our infrastructure crisis means prioritizing projects to make need-based street repairs for practical reasons, not political ones, and avoiding waste on pet projects. Job creation means making Covington a place where companies want to be – no potholes, minimizing blight, and no trash issues.  As a city, we must show the region that we can get our basics right, and job creation at all levels will follow.

Question 6: 

In Covington, we pride ourselves on being a diverse, welcoming community. But many residents are concerned about the increase in activities in northern Kentucky that make many residents feel less than welcomed in our community. What will you do to create a community that is welcoming of all, and that values the lives of all members in our community?

Covington was one of the first cities in Kentucky to adopt a human rights ordinance. We have always been an open and welcoming city.  Even with recent events outside our region, as I’ve talked to hundreds of Covington residents, what I hear confirms that our city prides itself on being a community that is open to all walks of life. I firmly believe that the best way to maintain this culture of inclusion is to encourage home ownership. When people put down roots, it creates a bond, as citizens have an investment in their neighborhood and their city.