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Louisville Minister Jumps Into Republican Race For Mayor

Courtesy of Philip Molestina

Philip Molestina, a former businessman and minister at He Visto la Luz church, will run for the Republican nomination to be Louisville’s next mayor. 

Molestina has led the Spanish language church on Bardstown Road for two decades. Before that he said worked his way up “from the bottom”  at MAC Construction in New Albany, Indiana, to become the company’s chief information officer.

So far, Jeffersontown Mayor Bill Deiruf is the only other Republican in the mayoral race.

Molestina, who also participates in Norton Healthcare’s Faith and Health Ministries, has never run for office. But he says serving the community as a minister has its own benefit for a mayoral candidate.

“I’m there when the kids are born, I’m there when the kids die,” Molestina said. “I’m there when the people get married, I’ve been there when the people get divorced. You’re there when the cancer is announced, you’re there when the cancer is healed.”

Through his work, Molestina said he’s seen youth who are shut out from higher education or work opportunities. He said one of the biggest challenges for Louisville is preventing gun violence. If elected, he wants to expand opportunities for young people.

“The youth and the children of our city are tomorrow’s adults,” he said. “If we don’t form them, if we don’t give them access to all opportunities, if we don’t get them to a level they need to be at, we’re going to pay the price.”

While there are only two Republican candidates in the mayoral race so far, there is a crowded Democratic field vying to replace term-limited Mayor Greg Fischer. It will be the first time in more than a decade that Fischer’s name will not be on the ballot.

The Democratic mayoral candidates include protest leader Shameka Parrish-Wright, businessman Craig Greenberg, Pastor Timothy Findley, Jr. of the Kingdom Fellowship Christian Life Center, funeral home owner Anthony Oxendine, Jefferson County Circuit Court Clerk David Nicholson and Margaret Trowe of the Socialist Workers Party. More candidates are likely to join the race before the January 7, 2022 deadline.

The last Republican to win a mayor’s race in Louisville was Kenneth Albert Schmied, who served from 1965 to 1969. 

Louisville’s mayoral primaries will be held on May 17, 2022, with the winners moving on to a November 8 general election.

Roberto Roldan is the City Politics and Government Reporter for WFPL. Email Roberto at rroldan@lpm.org.