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David Stevens '51, "Probably the Most Significant Lexington Figure," Steps Down from Council

December 15, 2008

david b stevens.jpgDecember 15, 2008, Greencastle, Ind. — "David Stevens isn't exactly a household name in Lexington, but the modest man's work has had a huge impact on the city," begins a story in today's Lexington Herald-Leader. The Kentucky newspaper reports that Dr. Stevens, a 1951 graduate of DePauw University, is stepping down from the Urban County Council this month after serving for 15 years. The retired orthopedic surgeon, who also was a professor of surgery at the University of Kentucky, chose not to seek re-election.

"He has been involved in many of the major initiatives in Lexington over the last 15 years," writes the newspaper's Michelle Ku. "Stevens pushed to extend the hours of Sunday alcohol sales and expanded who was eligible to sell. He helped develop the city's farmland preservation program, the Town & Gown Commission and ethics code. But what he will be most remembered for is the passage and implementation of Kentucky's first smoke-free law. Since Lexington's was passed in 2003, 20 other Kentucky communities have enacted some type of a smoke-free law or regulation. Stevens is probably the most significant Lexington figure, said former Vice Mayor Mike David Stevens Dec 2008 Council HL.jpgScanlon." (right: at his final council meeting last Tuesday, Stevens took photos of his colleagues; courtesy: Herald-Leader/Pablo Alcala)

"If you look at any councilman who has ever served, or any mayor who's ever served, I don't think that there's anybody who's going to leave a bigger footprint on Lexington than David Stevens," Scanlon says.

Lexington's smoking ban, which was recently extended to include all workplaces, was engineered by Stevens. "Americans for Nonsmokers' Rights calls Lexington's law the shot heard round the world," says Ellen Hahn, director of the Kentucky Center for Smoke-Free Policy. "It was so landmark because this region, including the other tobacco states, really lagged behind the rest of the country."

Ku notes, "Stevens plans to remain active in the community and city government despite his retirement from the council ... Outside of city government, Stevens East College Dusk Oct 2008.jpgwill continue on as the president of the Blue Grass Council of the Boy Scouts of America and board chairman of the Kentucky Blood Center. He also wants to finish fund-raising for a children's garden at the Arboretum on Alumni Drive."

David B. Stevens, who was a Rector Scholar at DePauw, has served on University's Alumni Board and Board of Visitors and was the 2002 recipient of the Old Gold Goblet.

Summing up his career as an elected official, Dr. Stevens says, "When you play a game of golf, you're only going to hit three or four perfect shots out of the 70 in every round. It's the same on the council, you know, you're not going to hit every one just right."

Read the complete story at the Herald-Leader's Web site.

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