Cheri Bryant Hamilton was elected to the first Louisville Metro Council in November 2002. She was re-elected to a fourth four year term in November of 2014. Previously, she served on the Louisville Board of Aldermen representing the city’s Twelfth Ward since February 2000. She has long been active in education, youth, civic and political organizations throughout the community.
A graduate of Loretto High School, she received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Fisk University and her juris doctor degree from North Carolina Central University School of Law.
Hamilton is the immediate past chair of the Metro Council's Labor and Economic Development Committee and vice-chair of the Democratic Caucus. She is a current member of the Budget and Public Safety committees, and as the Majority Leader, is the President Pro-tem and serves on the Council’s Committee on Committees.
Councilwoman Hamilton was formerly the Clerk of the Board of Aldermen, a position to which she was elected eight consecutive terms by members of the Board. She previously worked in city government as a legislative assistant, helped draft the city of Louisville’s Affirmative Action Plan and served as the city's Affirmative Action Monitor, Equal Employment Opportunity Coordinator and Legal Assistant to the Director of Law.
Prior to returning to local government, she worked as a Program Coordinator with the Adult Education division of the Jefferson County Public Schools; coordinated the Displaced Homemaker/Single Parent Program; wrote grants for the school district which provided education and job training for the homeless; and coordinated workplace education programs in local companies. She was a principal assistant with the Kentucky Commission on Women under former Gov. Martha Layne Collins’ administration.
Long active in democratic politics, Councilwoman Hamilton has served on local, state and national democratic leadership committees and in 2003 was the first Majority Leader of the Democratic Caucus of Louisville’s new Metro Council, a position she was re-elected to in 2018. She has been a delegate to three Democratic National Conventions (1980, 1984, 2000); served on the local Democratic Executive Committee; chaired the state Democratic Party's Executive Affirmative Action Committee; served as an at-large member of the Democratic National Committee; and the Executive Committee of the Kentucky Democratic Party. She is a charter member of the Kentucky Black Caucus of Local Elected Officials (KBC-LEO) and the Louisville Democratic Women’s Caucus.
Councilwoman Hamilton has been a member of the Jefferson County Adult Education and Advisory Council, Chickasaw Federation; West Louisville Economic Alliance Advisory Committee; Shawnee Neighborhood Association; Louisville Chapter Jack and Jill of America, Inc.; and Delta Sigma Sorority, Inc., the Metro Tree Advisory Commission, Louisville Arena Authority Board, Metro Revenue Commission, the Academy@Shawnee Parent Community Council, and the Counselor and Education Advisory Committee of the University of Louisville, the Beecher Terrace Section 106 Consulting Party Member, and the MSD Shawnee Park Basin Stakeholder committee.
She has received many honors including being recognized as a “Champion for Children” by the Jefferson County Public Schools, an “Unsung Heroine” by the Louisville Chapter of The Links, Inc.; received the Rev. Bob Burks Humanitarian Award, Louisville Defender Newspaper Professional Achievement Award, Louisville Branch NAACP Voter Empowerment Award, SGI-USA Humanitarian Award, Interdenominational Ministerial Coalition Rev. William E. Summers III Community Service Award, Kentucky Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression Certificate of Recognition, The Yearlings Club Inc. Community Service Award, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. Louisville Alumnae Chapter Award for Exemplary Public Service, University of Louisville College of Arts and Sciences 2017 Community Spirit Award, and the WESTEC 2017 Champion Maestro Award for Excellence in Community Service.
She organized a District 5 Youth Advisory Council for middle and high school students to discuss issues impacting them and how they can affect change and provide community service in their neighborhood; in conjunction with LMPD, sponsored an “Art, Essay, Poetry and Rap Contest” for students on “How I Think We Can Stop the Violence in the Community,” organized the West Louisville Crime Prevention Council with representatives from District 5 neighborhoods, publishes a weekly District 5 E-Newsletter, and meets monthly with residents with the District 5 Neighborhood Advisory Committee. Councilwoman Hamilton spearheaded the development of neighborhood plans for the Portland and Shawnee neighborhoods, the Portland and Shawnee Neighborhood Revitalization Strategy Area Plans, and the Northwestern Parkway/Shawnee Neighborhood/Portland Neighborhood Livability Plan.
As a Metro Council representative, Hamilton fought to toughen the animal control ordinance regarding dangerous dogs; mobilized her community to vote four precincts dry to prohibit alcohol sales and reduce crime in the Shawnee neighborhood; reduced the hours of package liquor sales in Metro Louisville, secured a $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Justice for a five -year “Weed and Seed” program in Shawnee to prevent crime and revitalize the neighborhood; began a Police/Youth Outreach program; co-sponsored the initiation of No More Red Dots in Shawnee, and has hosted Back to School events and Youth Summits.
Hamilton passed legislation to license and regulate boarding and lodging houses, updated the Nuisance Ordinance, tree canopy ordinance, and sponsored Planning and Zoning 101 Workshops to educate residents, and held forums to acquaint citizens with the Metro budgetary process. She provided initial funding for the master design for the expansion of Waterfront Park Phase IV, sponsors annual canoe rides on the river, opened a boat ramp in the Portland neighborhood with the Louisville Fire Department at Shippingport Island, and is working to open a West Louisville Outdoor Recreation Center and new boat ramp in Shawnee Park.
Councilwoman Hamilton formed a resident-based West Market Street Advisory Committee to develop recommendations to revitalize the streetscape and beautify its commercial corridor, and secured $1 million in the Metro Budget to begin implementation of Phase 1 of the plan. Hamilton sponsors an “Outdoor Free Family Film Festival” in area parks and hosts an annual District 5 Community Celebration in September which recognizes district volunteers as Molly Leonard Community Service award recipients. She is a longtime supporter of the Portland Little League, West Louisville Sports and spearheaded the successful return of “The Dirt Bowl Basketball Tournament” to Shawnee Park so that area young people would have constructive social, leisure and recreational activities during the summer. She has sponsored two BrightSites in Portland and Chickasaw and helped facilitate the development of the People’s Garden, numerous tree plantings, and other community gardens in the district.
In 2016, Hamilton co-authored a chapter, “The Cardinal Success Center@Shawnee: Building a Sustainable University, School and Community Collaboration” with Eugene H. Foster and Houston M. Barber which was included in the publication, Building and Maintaining Collaborative Communities: Schools, University and Community Organizations. The Cardinal Success Program is a result of working with the University of Louisville and Jefferson County Public Schools to establish on-site access to counseling and psychological services for middle and high school Academy@Shawnee students, their families and staff. This successful initiative led to the offering of free emotional, behavioral and psychological services for the West Louisville community at the NIA Center, as well as at the Youth Detention Center through a contract with the Office of Safe and Healthy Neighborhoods. Health services are also now offered to students at the Academy@Shawnee by the Shawnee Christian Health Care Center.
Because of her commitment in spearheading the re-connection of her residents and district parks to the Ohio River, and initiating Waterfront Park Phase IV, Hamilton will be featured in an upcoming issue of the Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum’s Urban Waterways newsletter devoted to celebrating women’s environmental and community leadership.
A lifelong resident of West Louisville, Councilwoman Hamilton lives in the Chickasaw Neighborhood of the West End and has two children, Victoria and William III.