There is a reason why my campaign slogan is Bray Means Business. Economic development is critical to the future of Paducah and the single greatest need and want is the need to grow and attract additional jobs. My administration is going to be laser focused on improving our job base. Paducah is a great place to live, we all know this, but if the jobs aren’t here, we will continue to lose our young people, our greatest asset, to large metropolitan areas. Population goes to wherever the good jobs are. I intend to make that place Paducah. We are going to do whatever it takes to achieve this as our overriding focus, and we will accomplish this through a 4-pronged effort.
1. Creation of new jobs from companies relocating here.
Through our renewed efforts to support GPED, Paducah and my administration will become more active as an influencer of outcomes.
2. Support of business expansion among current businesses.
We will work with local financial institutions and experienced consultants to provide financing opportunities and consulting support to those local small businesses who need it to help them grow and succeed. And we will become more business friendly to our local employers.
3. Support the needs and growth of our local entrepreneurs.
We want to stimulate new ideas and businesses, new ventures that start, evolve and grow in our area. Entrepreneurs have special needs and we will do everything we can to help them become successful. We will seek to be a conduit to put investors together with entrepreneurs. More creative businesses mean more jobs. And finally,
4. Work with both WKCTC and Murray State University here in Paducah
To encourage and support work force development. Any employer looking to relocate to Paducah must have a willing and trained work force in order to be success and these two institutions can serve as the cornerstone to meet that need.
Paducah has limited financial resources and must be very thoughtful in the way we utilize those resources. The city has just approved a new $22M Aquatic Center and while I understand the background and the work that has gone into this project, I am most interested in ensuring its developed with a business model that will support the operations of the aquatic center in the long run as that is most important to future generations of Paducah.
The downtown hotel project has sparked controversy about its location. Citizens have raised concerns over the project which is centered around the city parking lot at the foot of Broadway. While most of the discussion has been about the lack of availability of parking, many also express they have not been involved or made aware of the decisions being made through the discussions. Transparency is the foundation of good government and the key to developing support for the goals we are seeking to achieve. While the city has most recently become more open about other possible locations for the project, significant damage has already been done. Parking challenges can likely be solved creatively. However, parking is not the major issue here, transparency is.
I do not favor the hotel project as it is was originally outlined. But I need more information and I hope for positive middle ground. However, citizens must be given the opportunity to better understand the project. I personally believe we need to focus on the Convention Center as the next step. We have made a large investment in the convention center complex already and it makes good business sense to try and maximize the return on the investment we already have made. The City Parking Lot is Paducah’s “Town Square” and citizens have clearly showed they have a vested interest in understanding exactly how that piece of property will be used. TRANSPARENCY IS KEY here and the citizens of Paducah have spoken…WE all want to have a say in the use of the parking lot in future development.
To summarize; I am a non-partisan candidate focused on one thing…Returning Paducah to its rightful position as a leading city in the state and region. I believe I am the best choice to make that happen given my background. My candidacy is about leadership. My friend Kenny Hunt said, “We need our best and brightest serving our community and I believe you represent that George.” I took that as a huge compliment, and it has stimulated my thoughts about our local boards and commissions. If elected I will reexamine all the appointments to our boards and commissions, challenging our best and brightest to be involved. All demographics and backgrounds must be represented and our boards need to be comprised of people who are engaged, excited and involved in order to move Paducah forward.
So far, I have been meeting with anyone and everyone representing all segments of the community, seeking advice, listening to what matters to people. As the campaign gets rolling, I will focus on town hall meetings as I want to listen. My leadership style is one of listening, consensus building, collaboration, and transparency combined with decisive decision making. I will meet with any and every group that will have me. I plan to be very active on social media along with traditional promotional means leading up to the election. This all takes money and of course I need your support, not only financially but through advocacy and introductions in the community.
I had the opportunity to travel to Washington, D.C. in September with our local chamber group and community leaders. It was a fantastic experience to meet and get to know many of our legislators. On the trip we had a visit with U.S. representative John Yarmuth who told our group about a remark made by the Chief Technology Officer of Microsoft who was in Louisville recently for a visit. She said that over the next 10 years, the world will experience 250 years’ worth of change. Well I firmly believe I am the best choice to lead Paducah through that change.