Monarrez, Curtis secure top spots for Lexington’s District 4 council in KY primary race

Incumbent District 4 Urban County Council member Brenda Monarrez and Emma Curtis will face one another in the upcoming November election after securing the top votes on Tuesday night.

Monarrez, who narrowly won over Brack Marquette in November 2022, is the first person of Latin American descent to serve on the council. She said she’s earned the right to keep the job. Emma Curtis could become the first transgender member of the 15-seat council if she is elected to serve in the upcoming general election.

Voters agreed. Monarrez secured 48% of votes followed by Emma Curtis with 30%, according to unofficial election numbers. Brack Marquette received 22%.

Brenda Monarrez
Brenda Monarrez

District 4 includes neighborhoods south of New Circle Road between Nicholasville and Tates Creek roads. In initial election interviews with the Herald-Leader, Monarrez said her biggest concerns were with sewage odor from the Hickman Waste Water Treatment facility, crime and traffic problems.

Monarrez said she had facilitated traffic improvements, including adding flashing stop signs and additional signage, along with lowering speed limits. She said she’s added changes to make Nicholasville Road safer, such as extending the left turn lane on northbound Nicholasville Road at Reynolds Road.

Monarrez thanked friends, neighbors and constituents in the 4th District for helping deliver her victory.

“As much as tonight’s win is a victory for our campaign, it is a devastating loss for negative campaigning and unfounded attacks that have no place in this nonpartisan race,” Monarrez said in a emailed statement. “Voters want a candidate who is laser focused on delivering results for the residents of the 4th District, and that is what I will continue to do.”

Emma Curtis
Emma Curtis

Curtis told the Herald-Leader she didn’t know of an opportunity she had been more excited about in her life.

“The conversations I have had with people at their doors through this primary election have not only illuminated my understanding of the needs my neighbors have, and I genuinely believe they have made me a better person,” Curtis said.

Curtis said the biggest issues facing the 4th District are improving traffic flow and safety on Nicholasville Road, updating sewer and water quality infrastructure, and making local government accessible and transparent.

Curtis said she knows as a council member, she will need to work with people who have different opinions than she does and she will listen to everyone civilly and collaborate to find a solution that works for everyone. Curtis was a nominee to fill the 93rd District seat that opened when state Rep. Lamin Swann died in May 2023, but Adrienne Camuel was eventually selected for the office.

Curtis is an independent filmmaker and vice president for recruitment and expansion for the Kentucky Young Democrats. She said she worked as a volunteer and citizen lobbyist for organizations such as ACLU of Kentucky, Fairness Campaign and the Clean Slate Initiative, which deals with expungement of criminal records. She was a Voter Engagement Organizer with Kentuckians for the Commonwealth to register voters of all parties and improve turnout in Lexington ahead of the 2023 general election.

Sign up for our Bluegrass Politics Newsletter

A must-read newsletter for political junkies across the Bluegrass State with reporting and analysis from the Lexington Herald-Leader. Never miss a story! Sign up for our Bluegrass Politics newsletter to connect with our reporting team and get behind-the-scenes insights, plus previews of the biggest stories.