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Commitments kept: Coan won’t seek reelection to Metro Council District 8; touts achievements

Brandon Coan

After four years on the job, plus one year of planning and campaigning, Louisville Metro Councilman Brandon Coan has decided that’s enough.
The first-term Democrat representing District 8 (The Highlands), and the only Jewish member of Metro Council, has announced he will not seek reelection next year.
“It has been a challenging, rewarding, sometimes frustrating and deeply meaningful personal experience,” Coan said in his District 8 newsletter to his constituents.
He said in that statement that he has kept the commitments he made during his 2016 run and that he was “on track” to accomplish most of his four-year objectives as they relate to local politics, reorienting the transit system, protecting the environment, cleaning and beautifying District 8 and organizing against crime.
But there’s only so much a councilman can do, Coan told Community.
“There are some limitations on what you’re able to accomplish as a council person,” he said, “You don’t get to remake government in your own image.”
He cited a “competition for resources” among all 26 districts that only complicates the job.
“I felt I was reaching the limit for the kind of things you could accomplish,” he said.
A Louisville native, practicing attorney, husband and father, Coan said leaving office does not mean he’s going away.
“I haven’t lost my interest in the community,” he said.
Nor would he rule out endorsing a candidate to succeed him next year.
He said there are issues the next District 8 councilmember must take up. Chief among them are the redesign of Bardstown Road as a safe, attractive corridor for motorists, cyclists, pedestrians and shopkeepers.
“That’s a big project,” Coan said, “a major thing that will define our traffic network and the heart of our commercial corridor for generations.”
He also cited the need for “strategic partnerships” to compensate for scarce revenue. Specifically, he said Louisville Metro and the Jefferson County Public Schools must work closer together.
He’s interested in seeing the city and school district develop the idea of “community schools” as centralizing structures for neighborhoods with their own libraries, computer labs and playgrounds, avoiding duplication of effort.
He also called for more regionalization, developing closer partnerships with communities in southern Indiana.
Coan is a trustee of the Norton Foundation and a past director on the boards of Louisville Public Media, Brightside and the Kentucky College of Art and Design at Spalding University. He also co-chaired the capital campaign at Louisville Public Media and has been recognized as a New Face of Philanthropy.
He lives in Tyler Park with his wife, Summer Auerbach, and their son, Simon.
He’s not the first Jewish member of Metro Council or the old Louisville City Council. Jerry Abramson also served. Prior to him were Alan Steinberg in the 1970s and Dan Byck in the 1940s.
Unlike in larger cities with larger Jewish voting blocs, there is no seat on Metro Council that can be described as safely Jewish.
The deadline to file for the District 8 council race is Jan. 10.

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