After he retired from Home Depot, Kenny Hill and his wife founded the Launchpad Foundation to provide housing, life skills and career training to the homeless. He spoke to Saporta Report via email.
Q: What’s your number one concern for your district specifically?
A: Great question but not a simple answer. If I had to choose one topic that describes my greatest concern it would be quality of life. Quality of life is impacted by several things including public safety as well as economic development and job creation opportunities. The property crimes that are occurring are in large part an effort to achieve financial sustenance. There is a policing component as well but we will never arrest our way out of this crime problem. We must divert young people from the gangs/crime lifestyle by providing meaningful career paths combined with an increased police presence that allows community policing to take place. This will improve our community and the quality of life for all residents.
Q: What could you do as a Council member about that?
I would focus on two issues to impact the quality of life in my district, the first would be to support the investment in our police force to allow them to be fully staffed and to provide wage increases to make our police and public safety careers more attractive in the region. This will allow us to slow the turnover rates and to recruit and retain top talent for our city. With these moves we can truly begin to engage in community policing on a citywide basis.
The second focus would be to partner to get workforce development to initiate job training programs in the careers of the future, including logistics, warehousing and supply chain. The UPS hub that is being constructed on Fulton Industrial Boulevard is a great opportunity to provide residents of my community with gainful employment. I want to see residents secure jobs beyond the annual peak season hiring that occurs. This will require that we develop a workforce that is trained and ready to work. My experience with developing people at The Home Depot reminds me that this is not a quick or easy process but it is attainable and it works.
I would also work with Invest Atlanta to bring meaningful support and investment for small businesses in my district. We need business development beyond fast food and discount retail establishments. Creating jobs that provide living wages strengthens our families. Stronger families make better, safer communities.
Q: What’s an uncomfortable truth the next Council needs to face?
A: The incoming Council will have to come to grips with the reality that some of the most pressing issues for our city — affordable housing, transportation and infrastructure improvements — are not quick fix scenarios. I’m hopeful that the council will truly work together to come up with innovative solutions and not opt for quick fixes just so that they can take credit for addressing the issue.
Q: What’s something council has gotten right in the last four to eight years?
A: The pension reform was significant and a much-needed accomplishment.
Q: What’s something council has gotten wrong or failed to do in the last four to eight years?
A: How affordable housing was allowed to be placed on the back burner during the BeltLine’s development during this time span is very concerning.
The on-going investigation and bribery scandal in the procurement department diminishes the public trust. The process is broken and must be fixed.
Q: Bottom line, overall, why should people vote for you? What’s your pitch to the voters?
We need leadership that is transparent, visible, collaborative, and based on integrity. We won’t solve the problems of tomorrow without this type of leadership. I have the experience and a track record of delivering results. From addressing blight and homelessness in the community, to improving childhood literacy and support for our schools and seniors, I have rolled up my sleeves to get the work done. I bring partnerships to the table that make efforts more impactful for our community. My experience in the business sector, 30 years with the Home Depot and a small business and non-profit leader provide me perspective of the untapped public-private partnerships that are available to improve the quality of life for all of our residents. My leadership and vision has been endorsed by the Atlanta police officers’ union (IBPO), I received the highest qualification rating by The Committee for a Better Atlanta. I’m not a politician, but I am a public servant. Together we can build a better community.