Louisville Magazine

OCT 2018

Louisville Magazine is Louisville's city magazine, covering Louisville people, lifestyles, politics, sports, restaurants, entertainment and homes. Includes a monthly calendar of events.

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116 LOUISVILLE MAGAZINE 10.18 Mayor Fischer Continued from page 51 What's something you've read recently? "Well, the most recent book is — and I won't read books all the way through — but right now I'm reading e Book of Joy, which is by the Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu, so I can kind of take my mind off the day-to-day stuff that I do." Who's a teacher who made a big impact on you, and what did you learn from them? "I had a couple teachers that said, 'You are gonna be a good writer, no matter if ya like it or not.' And fortunately, I always kind of liked to write, so Father Ted Sans and Billy Bradford (at Trinity High School) were just ferocious about their determination that their students were going to excel, and they had the ability to both motivate and then teach the skills and encourage you to be the best you can be. I've always appreciated that. I do write a lot, and we have a lot of written product that comes out of here, so I think good writing skills reflect an ability to think through issues and present a point of view. "One thing I wanted to talk about is kind of the effect of Bourbonism on the city. is was a concept — from a business standpoint, you always want to have some- thing that nobody else has as a competitor, either as a business or as a city. at can be a competitive advantage for you. So the creation and the concept of bourbon and local food tourism—" Do you think that's going to die down ever if the international interests shift somewhere else? "No, we're in baseball season now, so I think we're in the second or third inning on Bourbonism. Because it's still — to us in Louisville, we know about it, but when you go around the country, around the world, people haven't even heard about it yet. Now, they do know about wine tourism to Napa Valley. We're in the very early stages. at's what's led to a lot of our hotel development and the convention center. e Omni — you can see they de- signed the hotel around what's local here in Louisville: bourbon, food. at's one of the reasons we're one of the foodie-est cities in the country. We're always on top 10 lists, it seems like, so we punch above our weight with our food scene and our restaurant scene. at's attractive to people not just from a tourist standpoint but business development." Who's someone who has given you some feedback or input that you've taken and actually done something with? "We've been blessed to have a lot of good relationships since we started here. Michael Bloomberg, who was the mayor of New York, with his Bloomberg Philanthropies — we were one of their first five cities to work with them. ey have been a great partner of ours on innovation work and citizenship work and just continuing education. e work we're doing with the Harvard Graduate School of Education on the Cradle to Career has been really helpful in terms of looking at the whole child, and every child succeeding, by all means. And then our work with the Brookings Institution on kind of global strategy and placing our city in a position to win. We've developed a regional economic-devel- opment plan with Lexington that's been very helpful. And then, through the U.S. Conference of Mayors, I've had a lot of col- leagues that go through the same stuff that I go through, just in other cities, so they're good to bounce ideas back and forth on. "Being mayor is very interesting, and what I love about this job is that you get to meet people from all types of circumstanc- es, from very celebratory circumstances to circumstances where there's great despair involved. And what this job does to you is that it expands your views, both intellectu- ally and emotionally, and I hope what that does, and I feel what it does, is make you a bigger person in terms of your ability to understand what's going on in terms of our city and the world, and put you in a posi- tion to make better decisions and involve different people as you try to grow the city in all of its different ways. And that only comes by doing the job and being out in the city developing a good team. is is the first time I've had a job like this. I'm not a career politician, and so that's something that's been a really wonderful aspect of being the mayor." What was a low point when you really felt like this job was challenging and you were kind of internally struggling? "Well, there's been three things that have happened that are out of your control, but they make you very sad. When Ne'Riah Miller and Dequante Hobbs — those were young people that were just minding their own business and a bullet hit them, takes them away. When Nick Rodman was killed, our LMPD officer. ose were the three low- est points for me, when, despite all of your efforts that you try to create a great city, you know, bad things happen sometimes, and that's cold comfort for the people and the families that are involved with that. It's really painful to see those families go through that. And why them? And not somebody else? Or why not me? And so those are the low points where people have suffered. "I want to talk a little bit about our com- passion work, if you don't mind. I'm very serious about how people lead, and leading from a good, authentic place. And I think that's where this role of compassion is com- ing in to the city. When I was elected, I said three values are going to guide us as a city: city of lifelong learning, being a healthier city — physical, mental, environmental and spiritual health — and then an even more compassionate city. A city where people are lifting each other up. If you can dream to live in a city that's learning, that's healthy and people are helping each other, that's the kind of city that we want to be. "Some people want to criticize me for it as opposed to, well, why don't you help? And it's like a noble goal, and we're not perfect, but what I'm trying to do is for people to realize that we're in this together. We might have political differences, there might be faith differences, but at the end of the day, we gotta succeed together. Fortunately, I have a great mom and a great dad and grew up in a household that emphasized values of kind- ness and compassion and love and steward- ship, and that's what we're trying to spread through this city and around the country and world. I mean, we need it right now. I guess what we're trying to demonstrate here in Louisville is that you can be a city of inno- vation and entrepreneurship but you can also be a city of equity and compassion. I think the country is looking for places like that."

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