PASSIONATE ABOUT SERVICE
In 2015, Mayor Jim Gray appointed James to fill the unexpired term of former 1st District Councilmember, Chris Ford. “James is passionate about neighborhoods, family, young people, schools and public service,” Gray said. “He will be a great addition to the Council.” James’ constituents quickly agreed, officially electing him to the seat later that year and re-electing him three times since!
James’ passion for public service began by volunteering in the Fayette County Public Schools as his three children were growing up. He served in their PTAs and eventually on the Bryan Station High School Site-Based Decision-Making Council. James also served as President of the 16th District PTA and Chair of its Urban Family Engagement Network. He also participated in the Superintendent Search and was a member of the Public Schools Rezoning committee.
James’ commitment to public service has grown well beyond service to our schools. He became President of the Radcliffe/Marlboro neighborhood association where he helped initiate a neighborhood watch program and managed multiple neighborhood grant projects. He served as Tourism Ambassador for the Lexington Visitors’ Center. He completed Commerce Lexington’s Leadership Central Kentucky Program and BCTC’s Citizen’s Leadership Academy. He served for a time on the Boards of Lex Arts and the Library Foundation. James presently serves on the Boards of the Lyric Theatre and the Kentucky League of Cities.
James’ experience in grassroots advocacy has proven to be a valuable asset on City Council, where he has earned a reputation as a trustworthy partner and effective coalition builder.
Among James’ many accomplishments on Council:
Elected Chair of the Planning and Public Safety Committee which shapes policy for police, fire, corrections, and planning and zoning. James has earned a reputation for effectively moving policy initiatives out of committee and on to the full Council for votes. He gets the city’s business done!
As a Budget Link Chair, James successfully advocated for a new police roll call center which will provide a state-of-the-art facility for police on city-owned property, saving the city thousands in rent. He also successfully advocated for the city’s acquisition of additional life-saving fire vehicles.
Established then Chaired the Neighborhoods in Transition Task Force to address the impact of infill and redevelopment on vulnerable communities.
Helped make Lexington a Veteran-friendly city by Establishing the city’s first Commission of Veterans Affairs which gives Veterans a voice in city government and hiring incentives for city jobs. James was instrumental in bringing the annual Veterans Day parade back to downtown Lexington, and bringing the Kentucky Veterans Hall of Fame to Lexington with its annual golf scramble, honoring Veterans and bringing tourism dollars to the city.
Successfully advocated for the Winburn Drive road extension which will open Russell Cave to Newtown Pike improving traffic flow and the quality of life for Northern Fayette County.
Led the Douglass Park Centennial Commission which revitalized the park after a tragic shooting. James built a coalition consisting of the Georgetown Street Area Neighborhood Association, Lexington Police, and various other community partners including the 2016 class of Leadership Lexington. Families and community activities have returned to the park including the famed “Dirt Bowl” basketball tournament!
Chairs the Corridors Commission – tasked with beautifying the major traffic corridors leading to downtown Lexington.
Strong supporter of the Community Paramedicine program, a practical initiative which reduces dependence on 911 services for non-emergency care, saving the city money while improving health outcomes for the city's most vulnerable residents.
James’ easy-going, but direct approach and tireless work ethic make him a very effective leader. He’s the right choice for Council-at-Large.
James is a native of Lexington and a graduate of Paul Laurence Dunbar High School. He and his Wife of 26 years, Charmayne, have three adult children; James Jr., Maya, and Tre. In addition to his work on City Council, James is a full-time real estate professional.