The Frankfort economy is still too reliant on state government and not prepared to benefit from rapidly changing global and national trends. Don’t get me wrong; Frankfort is fortunate to be the state capital. This distinction has served us well over the years and protected our economy from deep recessions. But times have changed, and we need to as well. As mayor, I will make it a priority to diversify our local economy so that we are not so dependent on state government.
We need to focus on recruiting 21st-century industries and jobs, particularly remote workers, who have the choice to live anywhere. Frankfort’s quality of life and cost of living can be appealing to those coming from more expensive and busier areas of the country. Similarly, empty nesters and retirees can move and live anywhere. Attracting both these groups like residents, coupled with strong tourism, will help support our restaurants and shops. City efforts toward these goals should include: competitive technology infrastructure, support for the school systems, and promoting our quality of life, walkability, arts and culture scene, outdoor activities, and proximity to larger cities.
Additionally, ensuring that business permitting is easy and user-friendly is important. As someone who has lived in a major city, and then decided to move back to Frankfort to start a business, I understand the mindset of those we seek to recruit. Tourism will continue to be an important way to diversify our economy too. (Another issue not widely discussed is our reliance on bourbon tourism and how we will be affected if/when bourbon is not booming).
As mayor, I intend for Frankfort to become the best place to live, work, and visit in the state and will collaborate with our tourism and business development agencies to better diversify our economy.