Metro Council appoints JCPS employees as new members for Districts 3 and 6
Louisville Metro Council members filled a pair of vacancies Thursday night, appointing two men who are Jefferson County Public Schools employees.
Metro Council Districts 3 and 6 were left without a representative when Keisha Dorsey and David James resigned last month to take senior leadership roles in Mayor Craig Greenberg’s new administration.
Kumar Rashad, a math teacher at Breckinridge Metropolitan High School, replaces Dorsey in District 3, which covers the city of Shively. In District 6, Phillip Baker now fills James' seat. That district includes Old Louisville and Shelby Park.
Baker is a family resource coordinator at Coleridge-Taylor Montessori Elementary, where he acts as a liaison between students, their families and community nonprofits or government agencies providing social services. He’s also the chair of the Greater Louisville Association of Democrats. In a public interview for the District 6 seat earlier this week, Baker said his top priorities are public safety and ensuring seniors are taken care of.
“My third initiative would be the youth, making sure that we’re fostering programs and initiatives, which all result back to public safety,” he said.
Baker said he also wants to “shrink the distance” between residents, local government and the nonprofit organizations the city partners with.
A resounding majority of the 22 Metro Council members present voted in favor of appointing Baker. He garnered 19 votes, beating Fairness Campaign Executive Director Chris Hartman, who received two votes. District 6 resident Stephen Peterson received one vote.
In addition to teaching math, District 3’s Rashad works part time as an alcohol beverage control officer for Shively, enforcing the independent city’s liquor license regulations. He’s also a member of the lobbying team at the Jefferson County Teachers Association, the union representing public school teachers.
Rashad told Metro Council this week that his top priorities are expanding homeownership, and increasing city resources for homeless residents.
“As a teacher, seeing the homeless problem is devastating,” he said. “Students are in your class one week, they’re not there the next week, and when they are there, they’re more concerned about what’s for lunch or getting a job to help their families become stable.”
Asked in his interview about an abundance of liquor stores and strip clubs in west Louisville, Rashad indicated he’d be open to looking at zoning laws or creating other impediments to people looking to open a business that “doesn’t really bring positivity or prosperity” to the area.
“If there’s more liquor stores than libraries, then that’s a problem,” he said.
Rashad earned 16 votes from representatives on the 26-member Council. Shaun Spencer, an activist and human resources consultant, got five votes, while former Louisville mayoral candidate and VOCAL Kentucky Executive Director Shameka Parrish-Wright received two votes.
As he cast his vote Thursday night, Democratic District 4 Council member Jecorey Arthur said he believed Parrish-Wright would have been selected to fill the seat if it were up to District 3 voters. Arthur noted that she received more than 18,000 votes county-wide in last year’s mayoral primary election.
“There's one candidate who stood out to me specifically because, one, they have the professional experience at the local, state and federal levels working on legislation,” Arthur said of Parrish-Wright. “Their personal experiences make them directly impacted by issues we prioritize, from homelessness to gun violence.”
Under state law, active Metro Council members vote to appoint a temporary replacement whenever a district seat becomes vacant. Residents of District 3 and District 6 will vote in a special election in November to decide who will finish out the remainder of Dorsey’s and James’ terms, but that process doesn’t include a primary. Voters will only have a choice between two candidates selected by local Democratic and Republican party officials.
The winner in District 3 will have three more years in office, while District 6 will have another election in 2024.