ELECTION 2020: City Commissioner Incumbent Sue Parrigin

Published: Oct. 14, 2020 at 4:35 PM CDT
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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) - 13 News full interview with Bowling Green City Commissioner incumbent Sue Parrigin.

Q: If anything, what are you going to do to ensure more affordable housing in Bowling Green? What kind of policies are currently in place or planned (if any) for more affordable housing?

A: “Affordable housing is one of the most important topics that we are facing right now. And people define affordable housing all over the place. But what I think you mean is entry-level homes for folks that are lower to moderate-income to get into a permanent housing situation. We’ve got a lot of developments going on right now-- one out Russellville road that’s of size. And now, we’ve got a lot of developers that are paying attention to the study that was just done by the city of Bowling Green in our Community and Neighborhood Services Department. It was like it a big huge study -- commissioned a big study on where do we need more housing and what levels of income, and surprisingly, that came back in all levels of housing, we’re deficient in, in resources, and so in opportunities for people. Right now is a buyer and a seller’s market. And so, I appreciate our developers paying attention to that report. I appreciate them, you know, responding to that in a positive way and to try to meet the need for all levels of housing in Bowling Green, Kentucky, and I will, I will promise that I won’t stand in the way of folks that want to properly have areas of Bowling Green zoned for more affordable housing and you know if it’s appropriate, and it’s going to help our citizens to get a permanent solution for housing, to will be for.”

Q: With 19 cities in KY that have adopted the fairness ordinance, do you believe Bowling Green should or shouldn’t have one. Why or why not?

A: “Well, Bowling Green does have a fairness ordinance, the entire country of the United States of America has a fairness ordinance. The Supreme Court not just weeks ago passed an ordinance that protects sexual orientation gender identity based on employment situations, the Fair Housing Act also protects sexual orientation of gender identity in housing. The problem that I’ve had with the fairness ordinance and why I have consistently voted no is that that belongs to the state or federal Supreme Court. To make a city Commissioner, forcing them to act as Supreme Court Justice, is just not it’s just in my opinion, it’s not right. The work of the city commission and I’ve been consistent with this since day one. I have no issues with a sexual orientation gender identity clause, what I have to issue is that it would only protect the citizens within the borders of Bowling Green. The Supreme Court ruling, however, has now made that the law of the entire land-- not the borders of Bowling Green City Limits, not the county, not the state, but the entire country is now protected under that order.”

Q: Do you have plans on expanding broadband internet within the city? If so, how?

A: “Well, Mike Buchanon over at the county is working with NCTC to expand broadband throughout the county, and I think they’re having some success in their first like the trial place, kind of out Plano area. And it sounds like that is going to expand. I’m going tomorrow as a matter of fact, to the connected nation, and they’re getting a USDA grant and an award. And I’m gonna be there for that. And I think that’s just a really good indication that we’re working super hard in Bowling Green and Warren County. Most parts of Bowling Green are service by Spectrum I for 1 am-- and I have a really good internet service here -- and I live in the middle of the community. But for the most part, the city of Bowling Green is pretty well connected. It’s whether or not families can afford to be connected that that seems to be some of it somewhat of an issue, especially with folks working from home and studying from home. So, you know, I support the effort first the county is making and, you know, we’ll do anything I can to stay out of the way of getting better broadband internet service. I’d like to see us, you know, get the good fiber optics across the whole community and make it affordable.”

Q: What role do you think the city plays in keeping the community safe during COVID-19 -- even working with the county?

A: “I think we’re doing a great job. I really do. I’m out and about quite a bit, I’m even starting to go to a lot of events. I see everybody has a mask on and rightfully so. Most people are social distancing, you know, hand washing, personal hygiene. You know, our numbers are good. Our school systems are amazing. I mean, they’re back and, and they’re, they’re just, they just have they have really low cases and low numbers. And, you know, I think as far as we can continue to do, what the CDC guidelines are, our health department has, has absolutely done an amazing job. Both of our hospitals and our, our, I’ll tell you this, I’ve visited for assisted nursing facilities over the last couple of weeks to help with absentee, them receiving absentee ballots, because, you know, not everybody knows how to do that. So not one of those particular facilities has had even the first case inside their door. So that’s pretty amazing when you’re talking about for large assisted living facilities where the residents can come and go, and the staff comes and goes, but there, their ability to keep people safe has been astonishing to me. And I believe our community has, you know, we’ve got a good workgroup. I’m on the call every Wednesday, we discuss further ways to help each other to understand what the numbers mean, pay attention to metrics pay attention to, to the guidelines, and the social distancing and the mask-wearing and I think Bowling Green responded very, very well.”

Q: What ideas do you have to help diversify city leadership and employment?

A: “About three or four years ago, employed a deployed I guess, not employed because we don’t pay them a volunteer citizens workgroup for diversity in hiring practices. And we really focused it first, we focused a lot on our policing agency. And I think that has been a huge success. And that model is being stretched out over other departments. The Key is recruiting. And honestly, as far as the policing agency goes, the Law Enforcement Academy that we opened, that allows people to be trained our law enforcement officers to be trained right here in Bowling Green, Kentucky, and not have to leave their families for, you know, a month or so to go up to Richmond and go over to Louisville and get trained in somebody else’s community, but leave their family behind for extended periods of time. They’re being trained currently in Bowling Green, Kentucky, right here, go home every night to your family come back and get your training that is going to open up a huge amount of opportunity for us to really do a lot of marketing to more diverse people. And so that model that we have with our workforce diversity group, it is is one that we’re employing across other disciplines and it’s a model other people are envious of and want to know more about. So I’m really proud of that I’m proud of our, our workforce within the city of Bowling Green and, you know, move each day brings a more diverse workforce and a more inclusive and representative workforce. So we’re moving in the right direction. It’s always a work in progress. You know you got to have people that want to apply. And so we have to, we have to try our best to reach those populations that may not realize the opportunities that we have to work for the city of Bowling Green.”

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