OWENSBORO, Ky. (WEHT) – We take a closer look at the candidates running for Owensboro mayor.
We hear from the two city commissioners who want to become the next head of the city.
“I think the last four years, we have done fine. I think the city is on great footing right now,” says Owensboro City Commissioner Pam Smith-Wright.
After nearly a decade as city commissioner, Smith-Wright says she looks to become the city’s first female and African American mayor.
“It’s time for women to step up and take a part, a leading role in our community,” she says.
She adds Owensboro is currently on good financial footing, but more can be done in other areas. She says the pandemic has created one of the biggest challenges the city has ever faced.
“It has changed the entire face of this community as far as our businesses, our schools, just like it has all over the country. That’s why you have to plan and think of something different,” Smith-Wright says.
If elected, she would like to see improvements made in city infrastructure, including improving city streets and sidewalks. She also wants to make Owensboro more open for everyone.
“There are people out there who can be a lot smarter than all of us put together. If they are not listened to or are not made to feel that they have some kind of worth, then they lose out,” Smith-Wright explained.
“Regardless of what occurs in the next month or so, we are a great community,” says Owensboro City Commissioner Larry Conder, who is in his fourth year on the commission. He says despite the good financial shape, there is room for improvement, such as making sure all residents are welcome and bringing in more outside developers to build projects.
“Why don’t we have more developers within Owensboro that are willing to get on projects, to do more things within our community, like they did, say, seven years ago?” he asks.
He also believes the COVID-19 pandemic changed how residents work and live. It’s also highlighted a need for improving internet service.
“If you want to compete in the next ten years with other communities in this nation, you have got to have that infrastructure to create and enhance human infrastructure, the personal,” says Conder.
Conder also wants to see more done to reinforce public safety, including building a new regional police academy and obtaining grants to pay for body cams. He also wants to see community conversations start on making Owensboro more welcoming for all.
“I believe those things that we are talking about, will make Owensboro a much more progressive place for our children to want to make sure they stay here for the next 30 years,” he said.
(This story was originally published on October 27, 2020)