Gill Holland | Photo provided by Venture Connectors
Gill Holland | Photo provided by Venture Connectors

Local businessman and developer Gill Holland filed paperwork Thursday to run for Metro Council in District 16, hoping to fill the seat of longtime Republican Councilman Kelly Downard, who is retiring at the end of this year.

Holland told Insider Louisville he is running as a Democrat in the mostly Republican East End district, though he described himself as a “nonpartisan businessman” and said he was “cautiously optimistic” that he would appeal to those voters.

“Kelly Downard has done a great job representing the area for a long time,” said Holland. “He won 77 percent of the vote in the last election, but there’s not 77 percent Republicans (in the district). So people seem to vote for the person, not the party. And I certainly think I am a nonpartisan businessman that can appeal to both parties. I don’t plan on it being a partisan race at all.”

Holland — a successful local developer in the NuLu area and film producer — says this is the first time he’s run for office “since the second grade,” but he feels like the city needs some new leadership in the public sector.

“I’m excited at this inflection point as we move into the 21st century for our great city,” said Holland. “Jim King died, Tom Owen and Kelly Downard and David Tandy are stepping aside, so it seems like a good spot for some strong new leadership. And I’ve got a lot of private-sector experience and nonprofit experience, and I’m bringing it to the public sector.”

Holland says he is holding off for now on laying out a policy platform, instead doing a “listening tour” to hear the concerns of voters.

“I feel like Metro Council is more about collaborating with your other neighborhoods for the greater good of all of the community, while at the same time looking out for the interests of your neighbors,” said Holland.

Holland’s campaign website says he “will work hard to be a force for a more transparent government, where challenges are solved openly and cordially.”

The only other candidate to file in the District 16 race so far is Republican Scott Reed, a founding member of the Louisville Tea Party.

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Joe Sonka
Joe Sonka is a staff writer at Insider Louisville focusing on government, politics, education and public safety. He is a former news editor and staff writer at LEO Weekly and has also freelanced for The Nation and ThinkProgress. He has won first place awards from the Louisville Metro chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists in the categories of Health Reporting, Enterprise Reporting, Government/Politics, Minority/Women’s Affairs Reporting, Continuing Coverage and Best Blog. Email him at [email protected]