Eight District Councilman Tom Owen isn’t surprised another Democrat wants to unseat him.
“No one filed for the seat four years ago in either the primary or the general election. I certainly did not assume that I would draw a bye again,” he says.
Filing for the 2012 elections began last week. Community activist Curtis Morrison is challenging Owen. Morrison’s top issues include fighting tolls on the Ohio River Bridges Project, supporting Occupy Louisville, forming a downtown preservation district and reallocating funds from Greater Louisville Inc. He says his campaign is not meant as an affront to Owen, who has been on the council since merger and previously served nine years on the old Board of Alderman.
“This race is about change,” says Morrison in a statement. “Creating change from the outside, through activism, is important and it’s been fun, but we have to get on the inside if we’re serious.”
Owen says he is not opposed to Occupy Louisville—they rallied in the district on Saturday—or the downtown preservation district. The council this year voted to withhold some of GLI’s budget allocation pending a midyear review. Owen, however, says he doesn’t see how the ORBP can be built without tolls.
District 8 covers the Highlands neighborhood and surrounding areas. Like the other 25 districts, it was redrawn this year. It became whiter and slightly more Republican, but remains staunchly Democratic. Owen says redistricting hasn’t made him as susceptible to challengers as some of his colleagues.
“[The new parts of the district are] new territory for me, but I know an awful lot of people in that area from just multiple engagements with just history as well as the university as well as my public service,” says Owen.
Fourteen of the council seats are up for a vote next year.