Things have never been better in Northern Kentucky and in Campbell County. In the last generation, we have created more new jobs than any other area of the state. Our area is widely recognized for its dynamism and “can do” attitude. We have the lowest unemployment rates, high median incomes, high investment and low costs. Out of 120 Kentucky counties, all three Northern Kentucky Counties are in the top ten in virtually all the economic and educational categories the state tracks. Just a casual look around the region and our own county will tell you things are going very well, with new companies, new jobs and new investment. In Campbell County, you will also see growth balanced by the preservation of agriculture and green space.
Both the present and the future are truly bright. And it did not get that way by accident.
We compete best by cooperating. Everyone who wants to help look after the best interest of the community should be able to find a seat at the table and a way to contribute. That has been the secret of our success – we work together. For example, in one of the largest regional co-operations in Kentucky history, Campbell, Kenton and Boone will complete the construction of a new 800 mhz radio system this year. The new digital system will replace obsolete World War II era technology and will be used to dispatch safety department personnel and for communication generally. This project was designed after seeking input from hundreds of city officials, police and firemen. By acting together, each county will save millions of dollars.
But the consensus building that has led to our success is constantly in danger of unraveling in the face of short sighted complaints. Meanwhile, the federal government and the states are strapped, putting ever more financial pressure on local government. Can we continue collaboratively to decide what investments we need to make as a community and then figure out a way to make it happen? How are we going to pay our share of the state’s pension liability and still provide great service? An older generation of leaders and philanthropists is about to ride off into the sunset. Who will step up to lead in their place?
We have arrived at a critical juncture in our community’s history.
Is anyone surprised when political opponents say taxes are high, that experience and dedication just mean a person has been around too long, or that fraud, waste and abuse is rampant? Those things are absolutely false, but they are said every election cycle by folks who have nothing else meaningful to say. This is not a time to fall for that. Instead, with the challenges we face, we need to support people who tell us what we need to know, rather than what we want to hear, who have relevant background, leadership skills and vision for the future, ideally with a record that proves it.
Here is my promise: what I have helped to build over the years and our shared vision are things I will defend with my political life and work for every day. I am very proud of what we have been able to accomplish as a team and excited about our future. We have succeeded because we work together. I would like to continue that partnership.