Decision 2022: Meet the candidates for Metro Council District 17

A Republican and an independent are challenging the incumbent Democratic councilman.
Published: Oct. 28, 2022 at 1:13 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Louisville Metro District 17 covers areas like Anchorage, Murray Hill, Middletown and Lyndon.

Democratic Councilman Markus Winkler has been in office for four years and was voted majority leader in his second year of the term. Now, the technology and talent acquisition project manager is asking voters for a second term. His priorities are public safety, addressing homelessness and panhandling, and workforce development.

However, Winkler won’t be able to claim that seat outright. He has two challengers on the ballot Nov. 8.

The Republican challenger is Kent Hall, a Murray Hill commissioner and retired chief deputy in the county clerk’s office. His priorities would be a fully staffed police force, amplifying the suburban voice, and infrastructure.

Also on the ballot is independent candidate William Bezoenik. He declined the interview opportunity with WAVE News, saying that he hasn’t had the time or money to campaign as he’d hoped.

WAVE asked each interviewee about how to increase public safety.

Winkler was the chief sponsor of the new Fraternal Order of Police contract that gave officers raises. Now, he says his focus is on prevention, enforcement, and adjudication–along with more hiring.

“Making sure we’re investing in anti-violence programs that we’ve got, finding the root causes of violent crime,” Winkler said. “Ensuring that we have enough officers on the street to properly enforce and address the issue, and if you are caught committing a crime, there have to be consequences.”

Hall said it’s about training and retaining more officers, and he says that has to start with a leadership change.

“Now they’re assuming that because they’re paying them a little more money, it’s going to solve the problem,” Hall said. “It’s not going to solve the problem. It’s a multi-faceted problem. It’s a culture issue.”

On affordable housing, Winkler says he would look at regulatory changes that could make building faster and less expensive–and in areas already on the grid with roads, utilities and TARC bus service.

As for the homeless, “It’s not as simple as saying ‘Well, I’m going to give you an apartment to put you in,’” Winkler said. “Some of these people require counselors and support people that are on site 24/7. That is a gap that we don’t have today and one that we really need to put more focus on.”

Hall said he wants controlled development.

“Sometimes out-of-town investors come and buy up all the cheap properties and turn around and flip them, and then try to only sell the more expensive properties to consumers,” Hall said. “We have to make sure that’s addressed with both regulations and incentives.”

Hall said there’s no one-size-fits-all fix for the homeless, so metro council should have a variety of solutions.

On infrastructure, Hall said improvement should be planned carefully.

“I think it’s real important that we have up-to-date traffic studies,” Hall said. “That the impact studies are done well.”

Winkler said infrastructure improvements should help draw companies with sustainable jobs to Louisville.

“What they see and what they experience forms an opinion of a city, and is it a city that is going somewhere and growing?” Winkler said.

Election Day is Nov. 8.