Jerry AbramsonFormer Mayor, Lousiville Kentucky
Mayor Jerry Abramson was the longest serving mayor in the history of Louisville.
Abramson served 3 terms as Mayor of the City of Louisville, followed by two terms as Mayor of the new consolidated city of Louisville Metro.
In his first four-and-a-half years as Metro Mayor, Abramson fundamentally restructured local government, while strengthening public safety, enhancing quality of life and adding vitality to the city's downtown.
Abramson led efforts to:
- Create a "City of Parks”, a public-private partnership to add 3,000 acres of suburban parkland, establish a 100-mile loop trail around Louisville, and improve existing parks.
- Improve public safety, adding police officers and launching MetroSafe – a new communications network for local and regional emergency responders.
- Increase momentum of the 20-year renaissance downtown, with $1.6 billion in projects underway or planned including the new riverfront arena, the 62-story Museum Plaza tower and a tripling of downtown housing opportunities...adding to recent developments such as 4th Street Live, the Frazier International History Museum, the Muhammad Ali Center, new hotels and more.
- Keep Louisville’s economy strong by attracting and creating new jobs, with initiatives in the life-sciences area and a prize-winning program to support the community’s fastest-growing local companies.
- Begin a $230 million transformation of the former Clarksdale public housing project east of downtown into a mixed-income neighborhood called Liberty Green – another public-private partnership that will also add hundreds of additional new and rehabbed housing units in nearby neighborhoods.
- Improve public health by establishing a new community-wide Emergency Medical Service to shave life-saving seconds off response times, and launching a Healthy Hometown Movement with community partners to cut high rates of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and cancer.
- Reduce the size of government by 10 percent while improving the delivery of basic services.
Jerry Abramson’s tenure as the longest-serving Mayor in the City of Louisville’s history, from 1985-1998, was marked by historic growth and economic progress in his hometown.
Abramson's accomplishments include:
- Leading a $700 million expansion of Louisville International Airport, resulting in dramatically improved airline service and the creation of 23,000 jobs at the UPS WorldPort hub.
- Revitalizing the Louisville's waterfront with the creation of Waterfront Park - an award-winning ‘green front door’ for the city that attracts 1.5 million visitors annually.
- Expanding the local economy by recruiting the international headquarters for YUM! Brands, the UPS Air Hub and Presbyterian USA.
Abramson earned regional and national accolades for his urban leadership:
2005 - Named Kentucky’s best civic leader for the fifth time by Kentucky Monthly magazine.
2003 – Named a Public Official of the Year, Governing magazine.
1987 – One of the Top 20 Mayors in America, U.S. News & World Report.
1986 - One of the Top 25 most dynamic Mayors in America, Newsweek.
In 1993, Abramson was elected to serve as the President of the U.S. Conference of Mayors – the only Louisville Mayor to so serve. And he received the Conference’s Distinguished Public Service Award, which has been given to just 13 others in 50 years.
Born east of downtown Louisville where his father operated a neighborhood grocery, Abramson received a Bachelor of Science/Business Economics degree from Indiana University, and a law degree from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.
Abramson served two years in the U.S. Army from 1969-1971, then went on to serve two terms on Louisville’s Board of Aldermen and General Counsel to Kentucky Governor John Y. Brown, while practicing law as a Partner with the Louisville firm of Greenebaum Doll and McDonald LLC.
After he reached the three-term limit as Louisville’s Mayor in 1998, Abramson went back into the practice of law at Frost Brown Todd LLC in Louisville, one of the region’s largest law firms. He also formed The Abramson Group, specializing in urban and regional economic development and business strategies.
In 2000, he was one of the primary leaders of the successful campaign to merge the governments of Louisville and Jefferson County. He won office as the community’s first Metro Mayor in 2002 with nearly 74 percent of the vote.
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