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In Elsmere, 9 Candidates Seek 6 Seats on Council

Six incumbents are seeking reelection to the Elsmere city council, but face opposition from three challengers.

Aaron Moore is finishing his first two-year term. He grew up in Erlanger and Elsmere, and now lives in the city with his wife, Amber, and their 7-year old son, Judson.

After complaining about the state of Elsmere, a friend encouraged him to run for council, which he did successfully in 2016.

"I genuinely care about this city and its well-being," Moore said. "It's important to me that it prospers and remains a  great place to raise a family."

Moore pointed to the city's strategic plan as an accomplishment, noting that it has led to improvements in parks, roads, and other infrastructure, as well as boosting community involvement.

If reelected, Moore wants to look at the city's portion of Dixie Highway, and making significant changes to it. He would like to attract more businesses and clean up the area.

He wants to create community gathering spaces, and to commission art projects to make the city look nice.

Moore wants the city to increase its anti-blight efforts and code enforcement to help increase property values. He also wants to see improvements to the city-owned buildings, making them more modern and accessible to residents.

Nancy Bowman has lived in Elsmere since 1965. She and her husband have been married for 56 years, and they have two children, two grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.

She served the city as clerk and treasurer for 37 years, retiring in 2007. Since then, Bowman has served five terms on city council. With her experience, Bowman believes she has vast knowledge on how the city operates.

"I am very proud that while serving as clerk-treasurer, the city achieved much success and became solvent," Bowman said. "I feel my experience allowed the city to become fiscally sound. I feel I was a very dedicated employee. Also there has been camaraderie with our current council and it has allowed many things to be accomplished, such as our police department becoming accredited, a strategic plan being adopted, and taxes not being raised for several years. Our council is very frugal. There are some future endeavors being worked on which will bring a K9 unit to our police department."

If reelected, Bowman wants to focus on blight, and bringing development to the city's industrial area. 

Spenser Auclerc is running for council to make the city better for kids. 

He and his wife have three daughters and a son. Auclerc has lived in Erlanger and Elsmere for most of his life, he said.

"I am not unhappy with the city as is," said Auclerc. "However, since I am a resident here, and my kids are growing up here, I would like to try to make whatever positive (change) I can to help out."

Chris Wichmann grew up in Florence but has spent the past 20 years in Elsmere. He is married with two children, one of whom attends Miles Elementary.

He attended St. Henry District High School and earned a bachelor's degree in construction management from Northern Kentucky University.

Wichmann is running for a seat on council as a way to give back to the community. He is supportive of the city's street replacement plan and goal of adding a K9 unit to the police department. But, he said there is room for improvement, such as targeting blighted areas, and to make sure that the police and fire departments have the equipment that they need.

"I'd like to see the city improve its efforts on economic development that could bring good-paying jobs," Wichmann said. "To do that we need to reach out to companies and share our information on available properties and incentives to try and bring these companies to the city that could help us grow as a community."

Billy Bradford has lived in the Northern Kentucky area all of his life, growing up on Price Pike, now Turfway Road, in Florence. He is married to Billie, and has four step-children, nine grandchildren, and eleven great-grandchildren.

Bradford served the city as mayor for 12 years. Then, he was asked to run for council, and agreed to do it.

He is most proud of when council changed the process for road improvements, lessening the burden to residents. The city now has a street tax so that it can more aggressively tackle needed street repairs, he said.

Bradford also wants to focus on a balanced budget, and having the city live and operate within its means. Attracting more businesses to the area, and possibly annexing the industrial area would be a goal.

He said he would like to see more parks and a K9 unit added to the police department.

Gloria Grubbs has lived in Elsmere for 38 years, living in Erlanger prior to that. She and her husband have two children and three grandchildren.

A current member of council, Grubbs previously served on the Erlanger/Elsmere board of education. She is most proud of the road improvements and the new city park.

Grubbs said that she is a budget hawk.

"The way that I am beneficial to the council is that I am a real person who oversees the budget," she said. "I want to make sure the taxpayer money is spent wisely."

Grubbs said that she is happy with the police department's accreditation and supports the effort to bring a K9 unit to it.

Next, Grubbs would like to see council turn its attention to blight, and improvements to Dixie Highway.

Grubbs said that taxes haven't been increased in the city for several years, and noted that the current council and mayor operate effectively together.

Alexis Tanner did not want to comment for this article, and Joanna Barnett-Smith and Lisa Mitchell could not be reached.

Written by Patricia A. Scheyer, RCN contributor