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Steve Frank to Seek Reelection to Covington Commission

Covington City Commissioner Steve Frank announced Wednesday that he will seek a third two-year term. He was first elected in 2010 and reelected as the top vote-getter in 2012. Frank joins a field of announced candidates that include Jordan Huizenga, Bill Wells, Michael Brosmore, and Danny Jackson. He is the first incumbent to formally announce his plans to seek reelection. The Covington City Commission's four seats will be up for election in November. If more than eight candidates run, there will be a primary in May to narrow the field to eight for the November race.

Here is Frank's announcement:

I am announcing my intention to run and to serve for a third term as Covington City Commissioner. It was never my intention nor is it now to have a second career in politics. I consider myself first and foremost a businessman who felt compelled to step forward to save the town that I and my family have called home for at least five generations from financial collapse and political danger.

As much as I would love to get back to my plow, there is a need for people of firm resolve to keep Covington true to the reforms started under Mayor Chuck Scheper and the Unified Commission. It will take at least two to three more years to finish the task of modernizing city government, professionalize and change its culture so that we cannot go back to the old ways of doing business, and to reinvest back into our aging and neglected infrastructure. 

Secondly, even had that task been successfully completed, for better or worse I have become the main focal point in defending Covington’s interests on the proposed tolling of the Brent Spence Bridge. There is no bigger obstacle to the rebirth of Covington than the prospect that we might be cut off from commerce and potential residents who either would chose not to pay tolls to come to Covington or would chose to leave because of the congestion and traffic snarls tolling the Brent Spence would entail.

I have been building and maintaining a coalition of people that have influence around the State from all economic back grounds and political persuasions. Defending Covington’s interests on the bridge has cost me dearly with some people in the business community that I would have preferred to have had better relationships with; but never at the expense of selling out those who elected me to look out for their interests. I will not back down from this fight.

There also is a need for those with established credentials with the wider business community to be involved with City Government to provide confidence to reinvest back into Covington and to bring additional jobs and revenue into the City so that we can pay for the services our citizens expect. Only through a return to growth can Covington once again prosper. The focus of this next term, Covington’s Bicentennial year will show a marked shift from restructuring and cutting to bringing growth and vitality to Covington and its residents.

To that end I have worked diligently to improve educational opportunities and economic opportunities to Covington and its citizens. I have been working hard to bring to reality our Gateway Community and Technical College Covington campus and helping the creation of a new zone for high technology jobs, UpTech, the expansion of Technology jobs on the Madison and Scott and Pike Street corridors, and a new relationship being formed with NKU’s College of Informatics to support new businesses. 

Gateway is the single biggest opportunity we have to build a trained work force from high technology to skilled trades that will attract employers to Covington. I not only work on making this school a reality by serving on its Foundation Board, but also by personally donating to it, raising money from other private sources and by lobbying legislators in Frankfort. The vibrancy 5,000 young people and older adults needing to learn new skills to compete in today’s economy would have large ripple effects in stimulating nearby businesses, getting new ones to relocate to Covington, and bringing in new residents to live near these jobs.

Housing also remains a critical piece of Covington’s future. We will have an opportunity to get a new head of the Covington Housing Authority during the next Commission and set a new positive tone for how we redevelop Covington where the interests of all of us, from our least fortunate who need public assistance or Section 8 housing to renters looking for safe and clean buildings, and first and trade up home buyers find themselves treated fairly and with ample opportunity to find suitable shelter. To this end we have passed new legislation to compel landlords to provide adequate standards for housing, empowered our code enforcement officers and boards with a new sense of purpose, razed over 100 blighted properties and fire traps, and will be reinvesting back over $50 million dollars into new and existing decayed infrastructure to support redevelopment. Much of that capital will be spent in Latonia, South Covington and older neighborhoods south of the business district. I also promise to keep precious Federal dollars from being squandered in ill-conceived mega projects and to make more funds available to the working poor who own their homes but who cannot afford to repair every code violation.

We must also find ways to lower the cost of doing city business. One of the costs driving our expenses is the inordinate use of EMS emergency calls. The City of Covington has over 10,000 emergency runs for a population of only 40,000 residents. We lose over $300 per run. We have initiated new efforts with Saint Elizabeth Hospital to improve the health of our local citizens and to reduce the number of unnecessary runs made by our Fire Department. Similar efforts made in other towns have been proven to reduce EMS runs by over 15 to as much as 20%. By instituting these changes we can improve the health of our citizens, free up manpower to eliminate any browned out services, and do so without going back to budget busting ways.

We also have to restore opportunities for recreation and amenities for our citizens. We will continue to work to bring a first class all season Civic Center for exercise and swimming to Covington, most likely in the Latonia area. We also must reinvest back into our baseball complexes, build out our existing parks, and create urban pocket parks, community gardens, and other green efforts where we have razed blighted property. We will also build out as funds become available from County, State, and Federal sources our Riverfront, Licking River Greenway Trail System, and Bike trails.

Lastly; we must never be satisfied in promoting and making sure that Covington is a city that respects and welcomes diversity and is free from intolerance and hatred. 

Help me make this vision a reality. Stand with me for my third and hopefully last term as City Commissioner.

Photo: Steve Frank/provided