Mixed response to Mayor Gorton’s positive ‘State of the City’ speech

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – Lexington Mayor Linda Gorton says even though coronavirus still has a tight grip on the city, she wants to focus on future growth.

Her ‘State of the City’ speech Tuesday highlighted the positive parts of 2020 and like so much of 2020, the address was virtual.

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First, recognizing the council and starting her speech focusing on COVID-19

“We are living in one of the most significant times in our city’s, and in our nation’s history,” Gorton said.

With many worried about the economy during a pandemic, she touted the city’s financial health.

“One reason for my optimism about our budget and economy next year, is the economic success we have had this year, despite the pandemic,” she said.

She went on to say though, 2020 wasn’t as bad financially for the city as experts anticipated.

She even highlighted future potential for job growth, but that wasn’t enough to satisfy some like Beau Revlett, who fights to end homelessness as part of the Lexington Housing Justice Collective.

“Having a home is really the foundation of living a good life,” Revlett said.

Revlett thinks the mayor skimmed over some of the city’s struggles.

“It’s very frustrating because whenever you hear, Mayor Gorton talking about how great things are going and how much she’s done for the city, my head just goes to the tenants who I talk to every day,” she said.

Tenants facing eviction, the same group of people Mayor Gorton addressed in her speech.

She says she added more rental assistance relief, but Revlett says isn’t enough because it’s a slow process.

Meanwhile, a community leader and UK professor for nearly 30-years, Everett McCorvey, says Mayor Gorton needed to spread a message of hope because of the severity of COVID-19.

“I think we’re all just really stunned by the losses that we’ve had,” Everett McCorvey said.

Hand-in-hand with the pandemic was the summer of Black Lives Matter protests.

The mayor announced in her speech a partnership with the University of Kentucky to make sure dozens of recommendations on racial justice become reality.

Another move McCorvey thinks will speed up the process and turn paper into actions.

“A phrase that Martin Luther King said, which I have never forgotten, which is: ‘justice delayed, is justice denied.’ And so, I think some of these changes we cannot delay,” McCorvey said.

“This is a critical moment to focus on an opportunity we cannot afford to waste,” Mayor Gorton said.

And while change is inevitable, Gorton is optimistic we’ve already gotten through the worst.

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Monica Harkins joined the ABC 36 News team in June 2019 as a Multimedia journalist and Anchor/Producer. She’s born and raised in Austin, Texas and headed “North,” as she calls it, to study broadcast journalism and business at the University of Missouri. While at Mizzou she anchored and reported for KOMU 8 News, an NBC affiliate in Columbia, Missouri all four years. During her childhood she played almost every sport, but they always called her “Hollywood” for her love of theatre. In high school, she realized her excitement for theatre and performing was only a small piece of the puzzle. It’s story telling that’s her passion. She’s especially passionate about social media and creative platforms to tell stories. Her most recent experiment is being a FAA certified drone pilot. As a proud Texan she says she’s made of country music, Southern hospitality and Sweet Tea. When she’s not at work you can find her trying new recipes, listening to crime podcasts, reading the latest romance novel or rockin’ out to live music with friends. She says she’s only a tweet or Facebook message away, so say hi and send her the latest on your community. @MonicaHarkinstv or Mharkins@wtvq.com