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Bevin, Trump Advisors To Lead Private Talk In West Louisville

J. Tyler Franklin
Gov. Matt Bevin

Gov. Matt Bevin will be in the Portland neighborhood Wednesday for a private roundtable discussion on economic development in West Louisville. He’ll be joined by two of the architects of President Donald Trump’s urban revitalization plan.

Darrell Scott and Kareem Lanier have both been working with Trump to craft the plan, the details of which haven't been released. Scott is a pastor in Cleveland and was a member of Trump’s transition team, and has been touting the president’s “13 Point Urban Revitalization” plan for the past few months. Lanier is a director of the National Diversity Coalition for Trump.

The event is hosted by Dan and Pat Caudill of Caudill Seed Company.

Economic Development Cabinet spokesman Jack Mazurak said the Trump officials were invited by Bevin, and called the conversation “very preliminary.”

“It’s community-led, and that’s an important aspect of redevelopment, that it is grassroots,” he said. “That it is the community and the stakeholders there, the businesses, the churches, the non-profits, the charities that are really steering the ship and they want to know what resources does the state have, does the city have, does GLI have. So we’ve been invited into their conversation.”

Bevin administration officials that plan on attending include Lt. Gov. Jenean Hampton, Education Cabinet Secretary Hal Heiner, Labor Cabinet Secretary Derrick Ramsey and Economic Development Cabinet Secretary Terry Gill. A spokeswoman for Greater Louisville Inc.—the Metro chamber of commerce—confirmed that the members of its Public Policy Council and Business Competitiveness Committee were invited.

Sadiqa Reynolds of the Urban League and representatives of OneWest are also planning to attend. Metro Councilwomen Barbara Sexton Smith and Cheri Bryant Hamilton said they'd be there, too.

Hamilton said she didn't know what to expect from Wednesday's meeting but that she hopes to learn more about the revitalization plan. She also hopes it will include a two-way discussion.

"A lot of times people come into the neighborhood thinking they know what's best for the neighborhood without hearing from the residents or the people who represent those neighborhoods," she said.

A Caudill Seed spokeswoman said Wednesday’s event is intended to be bipartisan and non-political. Bevin, a Republican, drew criticism from West Louisville activists last year, when he told residents they should organize prayer walks in response to increasing violent crime in the area. Some called for policy solutions in response.

WFPL Reporter Amina Elahi contributed to this story.

Erica Peterson is WFPL's Director of News and Programming.