LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The race for Louisville mayor is quickly ramping up as two major organizations announced their endorsements Thursday, with the November election less than three months away.
Thursday morning, Planned Parenthood Action KY officially backed Democratic mayoral candidate Craig Greenberg, and later that afternoon, the Jefferson County FOP President's Council -- which includes the union representing Louisville Metro Police (LMPD) officers -- put their support behind Republican candidate and current Jeffersontown Mayor Bill Dieruf.
Abortion rights and public safety are two of the more contentious issues in the November election to fill the Metro's highest ranking seat.
On Thursday, Greenberg said if he was elected, he'd "fight for reproductive freedom" locally and ensure police wouldn't use their powers to enforce an existing abortion ban.
"This is not just a Washington D.C. issue, this is now an issue for states and local governments for how they're going to choose to given women the right to control their own reproductive and healthcare freedom," he said.
Greenberg also talked about the importance of the vote on Kentucky Constitutional Amendment 2 in November, which will give voters a chance to weigh in on whether they believe there's a state right to an abortion.
"I will be a big supporter of the buffer zones that women can come and go freely from clinics to get the healthcare that they need, and I will be an advocate in Louisville and across the state to vote 'No' on Amendment 2," Greenberg said.
To this point, Dieruf has not taken a public stance on abortion rights -- although he said his stance "will come in the future."
"The Mayor's office has to do with a lot of things, but abortion is not in the Mayor's office. It's something that's personal to each one of you standing here," Dieruf said.
Meanwhile, the Louisville community has seen spikes in violence in recent years, and LMPD remains hundreds of officers short.
At the FOP President's Council's endorsement announcement Thursday, Dieruf voiced his intentions to bring over Jeffersontown Chief of Police Rick Sanders to serve on his team in some capacity, if elected. He detailed his goal to attract more officers using their track record in the Louisville suburb.
Dieruf referenced a situation their department saw recently.
"Jeffersontown needed two officers. We had 100 LMPD officers apply. That means they wanted to leave. If they realize the leadership downtown is the leadership they [could have had] in J-Town, those same 100 would either stay or re-apply to LMPD," Dieruf said.
Dieruf also said retired officers have told him they'd return to the force under his leadership.
'We want to have a police department where people want to come back to work," Dieruf said. "We are imploding in this community, and safety needs to be number one."
Meanwhile, Greenberg maintains his support for having a fully-funded and staffed police department.
"I plan to work with members of LMPD, neighborhood leaders, members of the clergy and business owners. Anyone in our city who wants to be a part of the solution to make Louisville safer has a place in my administration," Greenberg said.
Outgoing Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer (D) will leave Metro Hall after completing his 3rd term in office. The mayoral election is set for November 8.
Make it easy to keep up-to-date with more stories like this. Download the WHAS11 News app now. For Apple or Android users.
Have a news tip? Email firstname.lastname@example.org, visit our Facebook page or Twitter feed.