Lexington mayor names Jake Gibbs’ replacement on city council

Mark Swanson
Mark Swanson

LEXINGTON, Ky. — Lexington Mayor Linda Gorton Monday appointed Mark Swanson, a University of Kentucky professor in the College of Public Health who has worked with downtown neighborhoods to improve accessibility to healthy foods, as Third District council member.

“Mark is well prepared to be the council member for the Third District,” Gorton said. “He has worked to improve economic opportunity in our downtown neighborhoods. And he is a faculty member at the University of Kentucky, which is another important part of the district.”

Swanson will replace council member Jake Gibbs, who died suddenly on March 3. Gorton said Swanson will be sworn into office after a 15-day waiting period to allow council members time to meet him.

“I’m honored by the confidence Mayor Gorton has shown in me with this appointment, and I look forward to serving my neighbors in the Third District in these unprecedented and challenging times,” Swanson said.

Swanson’s academic work focuses on applied research on food environments such as restaurants and schools in addition to teaching. He has worked with stores in low income neighborhoods in Lexington and in Eastern Kentucky to increase healthy food options. He also worked on the “Better Bites” initiative to add healthy items to the menus at Lexington pools and to overhaul pool snack bar menus.

Swanson is a member of the Lexington Environmental Commission, the Lexington Tweens Nutrition and Fitness Coalition Board of Directors, and the Advocacy Committee of the American Heart Association, Kentucky Chapter.

Swanson holds a Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Florida .

Swanson and his wife, Nancy Schoenberg, a professor in the UK College of Medicine, have two adult children, Rachel and Ben Swanson.