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With Whalen Not Running, Councilwoman Announces Florence Mayoral Campaign

After more than two decades in the top elected position in Northern Kentucky's second-largest city, Florence Mayor Diane Whalen has decided not to seen another term.

She cited a new grandchild on the way, and wanting more time with family and her personal life as reasons for not seeking office again. Her father, Hop Ewing, also served as Florence mayor for twenty years.

Councilwoman Dr. Julie Metzger Aubuchon, who serves as vice mayor, filed for the mayor's office in this year's election.

"I want to commend Mayor Whalen for the leadership and vision she has provided," said Metzger Aubuchon. "Upon hearing that she would retire, I felt that I was uniquely positioned to lead the city. I look forward to serving my constituents in a new role."

Like Whalen, Aubuchon has been on council for more than two decades, too. Her father previously served. Also like Whalen, Metzger Aubuchon's father preceded her in office.

Her first run for council was in a year that also marked the first that her father would not be running. She also picked up the legacy of the family's business, Metzger Eye Care, which has locations in Florence and Covington.

"This community is where I choose to operate my business," Metzger Aubuchon said. "As a lifelong resident, I've watched the City of Florence change and evolve into a regional leader for economic opportunity."

In addition to twelve terms on council, Metzger Aubuchon has served as president of the Kentucky Optometric Association, is a former national president of the United States Jaycees, and ha served on local boards and committees, including chair of the Northern Kentucky Health Department.

"I believe in a style of leadership that is transparent, inclusive, and collaborative," Metzger Aubuchin said. "These experiences have allowed me to develop and establish my leadership abilities."

The councilwoman said that she would run on city council's record, which she argues has kept taxes in the city low, addressed public safety needs, and enhanced infrastructure and community life.

"Working with Mayor Whalen and council, I am proud of our record on taxes," she said. "The tax rate for real estate has remained at the same rate since 2008."

She notes that broader issues in the economy, such as inflation and supply-chain issues, will impact Florence.

"All these factors will cause the cost of providing city services to escalate," Metzger Aubuchon said. "Recognizing that it is better to be proactive than reactive, our city is prepared to handle the challenges the future will bring. Our financial position is strong and the envy of other municipalities in the region."

Other highlights of council's achievements, according to Metzger Aubuchon, are the voluntary annexation of hundreds of acres of property, the redesign of Mall Road, and the economic performance of the city.

"With my husband Pat and my son, Brady, by my side, I will work tirelessly to ensure that all families that call Florence home have the opportunities and climate they need to prosper," she said.

Written by Patricia A. Scheyer, RCN contributor
Photo: Dr. Julie Metzger Aubuchon (provided)