King elected council president

After listening to Mayor Greg Fischer talk about his goals and the importance of both branches working together, the Louisville Metro Council unanimously elected former mayoral candidate Jim King, D-10, as council president for 2011.

“As the chief executive officer of the council I promise each of you that I will do all I can to serve you and our city in a manner that enhances the respect our community holds for our body,” King told his colleagues. “I think 2011 will be an exciting and challenging year, maybe more so than in any previous year of our new city.  It will be a year of firsts.”

King cited redistricting of the 26 districts as one of his top priorities for the coming year and also cited moving forward on regional libraries, expanding some services outside the Urban Services District and a renewed focus on fighting crime in neighborhoods across the city.

Since merger, the council president’s role has expanded as the chief negotiator for the legislative branch with the mayor, but King appears to have an ambitious citywide agenda. And it’s a role that he is familiar with having served as council president in 2008, making King the first council member to serve multiple terms and the second elected with full support.

There are concerns about possible tension between Fischer and King, who will have to transition from being political rivals to political partners. During last year’s Democratic primary, the two Democrats traded barbs in the final days of the hotly contested election with King attacking Fischer in several campaign mailers and television advertisements, questioning the Louisville businessman’s ability and readiness to lead.

But the newly elected council president assured LEO Weekly that those disagreements are in the past, and he is ready to work with the Fischer administration.

From Sixth & Jefferson:

“Greg and I will work well together,” King says. “We both have a business career in our background, and he respects my abilities. There will be a good balance there.”

However, political observers and council members who are unsure about Fischer — a political novice — are getting behind King, who many believe has a better command of public policy, budgetary issues and can lobby veto-proof votes that will give the council a critical upper hand in dealing with a relatively inexperienced mayor.