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Enquirer Voter Guide

Florence Mayor

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  • Candidate picture

    Josh Walton
    (Rep)

  • Candidate picture

    Diane Ewing Whalen

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Biographical Information

Why are you running?

What makes you the best candidate?

What specific services are you willing to cut?

What fees or taxes are you willing to raise in order to keep or expand government services?

Campaign Phone (859) 586-4034
Age 41
City/town Florence, Kentucky
Education/Degrees Bachelors in Civil Engineering - University of Kentucky, Masters of Business Administration - University of Kentucky, Masters of Education - Georgetown College, Rank 1 and Principal Certification - University of the Cumberlands
Community Involvement Community Group Leader - Grace Fellowship Church, ACT Trainer - TorchPrep, Elementary Intramural Basketball Referee, Chairman - Boone County Republican Party
Campaign Message I am a teacher and first-time candidate for political office. I have lived most of my life in Florence and love this community. There are many great benefits to living in Florence, but I also believe there are many things that we can improve. I have a new vision for Florence to handle our finances more responsibly, clean up and revitalize parts of town that are declining, and prepare our city to prosper as we shift away from a retail-centered economy. I will also make the mayor's office more accessible to residents and will be available to anyone with a question, idea, or concern.
1. I have lived in Florence most of my life. I love this city and want to do everything I can to improve it. 2. I want to work to make sure all Florence neighborhoods are safe, clean, and vibrant. 3. I want to encourage and incentivize families to come to Florence and stay here. We need long-term residents who will invest themselves in this community. 4. I want to improve the economic environment for small businesses, encouraging them to locate, grow, and make further investment in Florence. 5. I want to lower payroll taxes and property taxes, and completely eliminate the insurance premium tax. 6. I want to prioritize efforts to revitalize Old Florence and parts of town east of the expressway. 7. I want to work with our police department to make sure they have the resources and manpower they need to combat the local opioid epidemic and other law enforcement issues that affect Florence. We can clean up our city. I will make sure our police have what they need to get it done.
1. I have a vision for the future of our city that will benefit all residents and all areas of town. 2. I will lower taxes on residents and businesses, and will completely eliminate the insurance premium tax on home owners. 3. I will use tax revenues efficiently. I believe the city should collect enough revenue to provide quality services, but should not operate like a for-profit business. Florence currently has a tax-payer-funded reserve of over $100 million. I will make sure your tax money is used on services that will benefit you, your neighbors, and our community. 4. I will listen to your ideas, questions, and concerns. I have walked door-to-door and talked to thousands of Florence residents over the last several months, listening to what you believe makes Florence great, and what you believe we need to change to make our city better. I am accessible and give my cell phone to anyone interested in talking with me. 5. I will prioritize revitalizing Old Florence and east Florence.
I don't plan on cutting any services. What I am planning to cut are taxes. The city of Florence has over $100 million in reserve and runs a budget surplus every year, collecting millions of dollars in tax revenue above and beyond the city's expenses. Florence has high quality services and we can afford to continue providing these services while allowing residents, businesses, and those who work in the city to keep more of their hard-earned money.
I am not willing to raise taxes. As I have previously mentioned, Florence taxes are already providing sufficient revenues to cover all city expenses and contribute to a more than $100 million reserve. I will lower taxes, specifically eliminating the insurance premium tax that homeowners currently pay. I will also work to decrease current payroll tax rates.
Campaign Phone (859) 240-7580
Age 63
YouTube FACEBOOK - Keep Mayor Diane Whalen
City/town Florence
Education/Degrees Attended Northern Kentucky University
Community Involvement Kentucky League of City's Board Member, Florence Rotary Club Honorary Member, Boone County Business Association Member. Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce. As Mayor. my life is about Community Involvement.
Endorsements Sheriff Mike Helmig; Mayor Larry Solomon; Northern Kentucky Board of Realtors; Building Industry Association; Many residents of Florence and members of the Community at Large
Campaign Message Public Service over Politics! I am the most experienced and the most knowledgeable candidate. I have a proven track record and a true passion for the city and it's future. My home is here, my family is here, and my heart is here. I want Florence to continue to be a fiscally sound community that is ready to weather anything the economy throws at us.
I love the City of Florence. During my early tenure as Mayor I was approached about running for state office. I made it clear then, and it continues to be true today, that my passion is the City of Florence and its future. There is no other level of government that has a more direct impact on the residents who are my friends and neighbors.You get to see first hand where your tax dollars are being spent. You can come to a city meeting, stop by the office or make a call and talk directly to your elected officials. I grew up in Florence and have watched it change over the years. I am vested here. I've never lived anywhere else. My grandchildren are being raised here. We have had many successes, but the future holds many challenges as well. Those challenges require steady leadership, a proven track record, financial discipline and strong and tenured relationships with other elected officials and business owners.
I am the most qualified candidate. I am the most experienced candidate. I am the candidate who has the most passion for the City of Florence and our community. It's easy to talk about what "I would do" if reelected. But the fact of the matter is that serving as Mayor is more than talk and ideas. The job requires collaboration, inclusion, listening and leadership. Working with the members of City Council and the professional staff of our city, has led to many great new strategies and ideas. My leadership and the foresight of our city council and staff allowed us to embark on a financial strategic plan that has stabilized our city finances, fostered a positive business environment and allows us to deliver the best city services offered anywhere in Northern Kentucky. We have done all of these things without any tax increases for the last 10 years. Through my leadership, the City of Florence has become a model for fiscally conservative management practices. Experience does matter.
Since 2008, we have derived more than $13 million in cumulative savings from budget reductions. My philosophy has always been one of prioritizing the necessary and needed expenditures before the other services that the city provides .I am always looking for ways to collaborate, consolidate, or do things in a more conservative manner that results in reduced spending and taxpayer savings. We have been fiscally responsible with taxpayer funds. Our real estate taxes have remained at the same low rate for the last 10 years. Our budget surplus is a result of our excellent economic development efforts as well as our fiscal conservatism. I will never put our city in a financial position where we would be forced to cut essential city services. Our residents know that Florence places the most importance on the work done by our Public Servants and First Responders, Our residents need to feel secure in the fact that the city will respond to their calls for service.
If you are able to manage your finances in a fiscally conservative manner while fostering a strong business environment, you can provide top-shelf city services while keeping taxes low. While other communities may need to increase taxes or cut services to deal with the substantial increase in pension costs being required by the state, or any downturn in the economy, Florence has managed our finances conservatively,and will be able to pay the required costs as well as plan for any future increases. Florence has been proactive in recruiting new businesses and economic development opportunities. In the last 18 months, we have seen more than $200 million invested in our community by new businesses, bringing hundreds of new jobs. Our hard work, my leadership and a little luck, as well as a great location and business friendly environment, will allow us to continue to provide the best services while maintaining our low tax rate. I do not anticipate any increase in taxes or fees.
If you need any help as a candidate, please email Carl Weiser at cweiser@enquirer.com