Louisville Metro Council picks 2 JCPS employees to fill its vacant seats

Louisville Metro Council members voted Thursday, Feb. 2, 2023, to appoint Kumar Rashad to fill the District 3 seat left vacant by Keisha Dorsey joining Mayor Craig Greenberg's administration.
Louisville Metro Council members voted Thursday, Feb. 2, 2023, to appoint Kumar Rashad to fill the District 3 seat left vacant by Keisha Dorsey joining Mayor Craig Greenberg's administration.
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The Louisville Metro Council appointed two new members Thursday evening to fill vacant seats, and they both work for Jefferson County Public Schools.

Metro Council members voted to appoint Kumar Rashad and Phillip Baker to represent Districts 3 and 6, respectively.

Rashad is the mathematics chair at Breckinridge Metropolitan High School, an alternative school in JCPS, and he serves with the Jefferson County Teachers Association, Kentucky Education Association and National Council of Urban Education Associations. Rashad is also an alcohol beverage control office administrator for Shively.

Baker works for JCPS as a family resource coordinator at Coleridge-Taylor Montessori Elementary. He also works for State Farm Insurance as a line agent and office manager and as a legal assistant along with holding a youth enrichment and community outreach director position at Christ Way Missionary Baptist Church.

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Baker is also a board member for the Kentucky Derby Festival, the chair of the Greater Louisville Association of Democrats and was the campaign chair for his predecessor, David James, after dropping out of that race and supporting James in 2010. Baker previously ran for the state House of Representatives as well.

Both men are Democrats.

They replace Democrats Keisha Dorsey and James, both of whom joined new Louisville Mayor Craig Greenberg's administration. Dorsey, who represented District 3 since 2018, is now Greenberg's deputy chief of staff, and James is deputy mayor for emergency services. James, who represented District 6, had been Metro Council president since 2018.

Metro Council members voted Thursday, Feb. 2, 2023, to appoint Phillip Baker to fill the District 6 seat left vacant by David James joining Mayor Craig Greenberg's administration.
Metro Council members voted Thursday, Feb. 2, 2023, to appoint Phillip Baker to fill the District 6 seat left vacant by David James joining Mayor Craig Greenberg's administration.

District 3 includes Shively and several West End neighborhoods. District 6 includes part of downtown and surrounding neighborhoods such as Limerick, Old Louisville, Park Hill, Shelby Park, Smoketown and Russell.

Baker said Tuesday his top priorities are improving public safety, supporting elderly residents and the several senior living facilities in District 6 and helping youths.

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Rashad said he would like to boost homeownership and change zoning regulations to bring more services to the district and keep out additional liquor stores and strip clubs.

“If there (are) more liquor stores than libraries, then there’s a problem,” Rashad said Monday.

Eight applicants for the District 3 seat answered questions from Metro Council members Monday as part of the interview process, and 21 applicants initially sought the District 6 seat before seven withdrew ahead of Tuesday interviews.

Both Rashad and Baker are Black, as are their predecessors. Before Thursday's meeting, Louisville NAACP President Raoul Cunningham sent a letter to council members asking "that you do not reduce African American representation on the council."

Cunningham reminded members that during merger negotiations, "we sought to make certain that the election process would ensure African American representation in the newly created Metro Council be equivalent and reflective of that same representation in the Board of Aldermen."

Each of the new members received a comfortable majority of the votes from Metro Council.

For District 3, several Republicans voted for human resources professional Trashaun "Shaun" Spencer and two Democrats, Cassie Chambers Armstrong and Jecorey Arthur, voted for VOCAL-KY leader Shameka Parrish-Wright.

For District 6, Metro Councilman Pat Mulvihill, D-10th, voted for Fairness Campaign leader Chris Hartman, and Metro Councilwoman Cindi Fowler, D-14th, voted for Stephen Peterson, who has a pharmacy background.

The new members join a 26-member Metro Council that features 17 Democrats and nine Republicans.

If they wish to keep serving on Metro Council into next year, both must run again in special elections this November. And since all even-numbered districts are on the ballot in 2024, the District 6 seat will see a primary and general election next year.

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Metro Council may have yet another vacancy to fill if Metro Councilwoman Cassie Chambers Armstrong, D-8th, defeats Republican challenger Misty Glin in a Feb. 21 special election to fill the state Senate 19th District seat that now-U.S. Rep. Morgan McGarvey vacated to join Congress.

This story was updated.

Reach Billy Kobin at bkobin@courierjournal.com

This article originally appeared on Louisville Courier Journal: Louisville Metro Council picks new members in District 3, District 6