Over the course of 2021, we will feature 100 Heroes who have been instrumental in our fight for the basic needs, education and financial stability of our neighbors for the past century. To learn more about how we are continuing to serve the Bluegrass in 2021, click here.
Today we are interviewing Mayor Linda Gorton, the current Mayor of Lexington, Kentucky.
What is your current or former position/role?
I am in my first term as Lexington Mayor. I am the longest, continuously serving, member of the Urban County Council and I have served 16 years on the Council, including four years as Vice Mayor.
In addition to public service, I also had a full career as a registered nurse. This career stretched over four decades and I am still a licensed nurse.
I’m also a mother of two and a grandmother of five.
Can you tell us what this role includes, or what a normal day (would) look(s) like for you?
I have a very busy schedule, jammed with meetings with people from across Lexington and beyond. Much of my day is spent making decisions and working on new initiatives for the betterment of our people. I have an excellent team of commissioners who supervise work in government divisions, implement new initiatives and respond to community concerns.
I really like being Mayor and I suspect it’s for the same reason I like being a registered nurse. There’s something different happening every day and sometimes every minute. I am used to triage and I know how to prioritize. Triage is exactly the right word for managing government. We have issues that are urgent community concerns, things that need to be addressed right away and other issues on the back burner.
Coronavirus claimed its spot on the front burner in March 2020. It has stayed there for more than a year. We have organized a stakeholders group, closed facilities where people congregate, like our jail, senior center and senior living facilities, protected businesses through relaxed restrictions on outdoor eating, small business grants and tax breaks, offered opportunities for people to get tested and vaccinated, provided personal protective equipment, provided for rent and food and more. Coronavirus has changed everything and we have changed so we could carry on safely. I am proud of our government employees who have continued to provide basic government services to the members of our community throughout the pandemic. Our city is beginning to emerge from Coronavirus. Thanks to our tight fiscal management and an economy that performed better than expected, we are emerging financially healthy.
How is being the Mayor of Lexington, Kentucky related to United Way of the Bluegrass? How did your partnership originate?
The city has always been an active partner in support of the United Way of the Bluegrass. Each year, the city conducts its own internal campaign and I often take part in the community-wide campaign.
What do you think is the most special thing about United Way of the Bluegrass?
The United Way of the Bluegrass has been part of our community for 100 years. They know our community and its needs. Where there is a need, United Way always steps in to help. The pandemic is a recent example, but through the years, there have been many occasions when we have turned to United Way for help and found it.
What is your favorite place in the Bluegrass?
The Arboretum. I like to walk. I have been part of the development of this 100-acre public garden since its earliest days back in 1991. It’s in the heart of our city and is a green oasis of quiet beauty. Like many other good things in our community, the Arboretum is a partnership between the city and the University of Kentucky. In 2000, the Arboretum was named the State Botanical Garden for the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
What is your favorite thing to do in the Bluegrass?
I can’t possibly narrow that list to one thing. Live music, horse farm tours, support our veterans, literary events at the Carnegie Center, fireworks, Cats’ games, great restaurants. I could go on and on.
“The pandemic is a recent example, but through the years, there have been many occasions when we have turned to United Way for help and found it.” -Mayor Linda Gorton
Thank you for being such a strong part of UWBG, Mayor Gorton! We appreciate you and all that you've done.
Do you know someone who has worked alongside United Way of the Bluegrass in the past century who should be considered for our 100 Heroes series? Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to share your nomination!