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Op-Ed: Good Governance, Collboration Key to NKY's Success

The Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce recently hosted the three Judges/Executive from Boone, Campbell, and Kenton counties for the annual “State of Northern Kentucky” address.  

The reoccurring theme of the program was collaboration and good governance. Collaboration is nothing new to this region and good governance has been a hallmark of our top elected officials.  

I’ve been very impressed with the passion and dedication Judges/Executive Gary Moore, Steve Pendery, and Kris Knochelmann have for our community, and it seems to me it can sometimes be taken for granted.      

Several examples of the collaboration and good governance discussed at the State of Northern Kentucky included the digital radio system used by first responders, Tri-Ed’s 30th Anniversary, and the success at CVG.  

The investments made by Boone, Campbell, and Kenton counties on the digital radio system used by police and firefighters is a clear example of collaboration. This is the largest procurement agreement between three counties in our history and will save millions by working together. Simply put, our first responders don’t have the technology they need to save lives and it had to be addressed. Our county leaders are addressing the issue, in a coordinated way, and that is not only solving the problem, but saving us all millions in the process.  

A hot topic for the discussion also included funding needs for our rapidly growing community. The NKY Chamber agrees that waiting for D.C. & Frankfort to show up and pay for projects is no longer a reality. We must do everything we can as a community to support public-private partnerships to help propel our region forward. The “fix it ourselves” mentality is strong amongst our businesses, but we need to work together to obtain the tools necessary to attract public-private partnerships for our critical roads and infrastructure needs.  

The clearest example of collaboration amongst our three Judges/Executive is with the Northern Kentucky Tri-County Economic Development Corporation, or Tri-ED. Tri-ED, the first regional economic development entity in Kentucky, is celebrating 30 years of shared vision and economic vibrancy. They continue to work together to evaluate the land, infrastructure, and assets needed to compete for companies that expect low-risk and fast speed-to-market location decisions. As a Tri-ED board member in the past, and now once again in my new role as NKY Chamber President, it is a pleasure to see the spirit of cooperation continue.  

Finally, the accomplishments at CVG have been wide spread in the media recently with many great headlines due to lower costs and more options. Several years ago, Judge Knochelmann led the efforts to restructure the Kenton County Airport Board. His leadership and collaboration with other elected officials, as well as leaders in the business community, have helped get us where we are today.  

These are just a few examples of regional “good governance”. While some complain or only champion ideas for their specific neck of the woods, others are collaborating and working together to solve problems that benefit everyone.

With 37 cities in our three northernmost counties, collaboration is what it takes to improve the state we are in.  

Brent Cooper is the president of the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce
Photo: Brent Cooper (provided)