Buckner wants to focus on youth as commissioner

Rafe Buckner became involved in city issues when he found the Northwest Neighborhood Alliance was no longer active.

So Buckner, who lives in the Northwest Alliance area, went to work reviving the organization.

“I went door to door to ministers and small businesses,” Buckner said in recent interview. “We started a series of events in Kendall-Perkins Park, where we were doing food and family-friendly music.”

The idea was “just to get people out and getting to know their neighbors,” Buckner said.

Buckner, who also served on the city’s parks advisory board and other organizations, is running for Owensboro city commissioner.

“This is something new for me,” Buckner said. “I’ve never done anything like this in my life. With Owensboro, I feel it’s a dam about to burst, in a good way. There’s a lot of potential here.”

Buckner said he would address youth violence by helping create positive activities for teens.

“There are organizations we (the city) have to look at partnering with more, and finding money” for youth programs, he said, and that, “we have to come up with some things for our teens.

“We are working on getting back our youth council, to get younger people involved in city government.”

Buckner said he would also advocate for a city campaign on firearms safety.

Buckner said, as commissioner, he would want to create solutions for homelessness, while also making sure people are appropriately using the services local agencies are providing to the homeless population.

“We’ve become the place that offers rehabilitation, and churches are involved” along with nonprofit groups, Buckner said. “But, I’ve not heard anyone come up with a plan for housing the homeless.”

Buckner said he would support more housing for the homeless, but that he would support having “checks and balances on the services provided, so there wouldn’t be an abuse of services.”

Buckner said a focus would be providing housing for homeless veterans, and that there are facilities that could be used for housing, such as the Elizabeth Munday Center when it is vacated by the Senior Community Center.

Buckner said he would work with economic development officials.

“I assured (Economic Development Corp. Director Claude Bacon), if I’m elected, he will have a friend in City Hall,” Buckner said. “Whatever they needed, I would do what I could.”

Buckner said he would also make connections in Frankfort to promote the city for economic development.

Buckner said he would also work for growth in the neighborhood alliances.

“There are so many things were you can use (the alliances) for good,” he said.

Buckner said he supports being inclusive, and that he would work to have good relations with county officials.

Buckner said he would weigh issues carefully when deciding how to vote.

“I think what you do is lay the facts out, and show the positives,” Buckner said. “If the positives outweigh the negatives, that’s how you vote.”

Bucker, 47, said, “I have a younger perspective than we’ve had lately” on the commission, and that, “I feel I represent the working class people.”