Cheri Bryant Hamilton was elected an inaugural member the first Louisville Metro Council representing District 5 in November 2002, having served on the Louisville Board of Aldermen representing the city’s Twelfth Ward since February 2000. Hamilton has long been active in education, youth, women’s, civic and political organizations throughout the community.
A graduate of Loretto High School, she received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Fisk University and Juris Doctor degree from North Carolina Central University School of Law. She has served on local, state and national Democratic executive committees, and elected a delegate to three Democratic National Conventions.
Hamilton is the 2018 Democratic Caucus Majority Leader and the President Pro-tem of the Council and currently serves on the Council’s Budget and Public Safety committees. She is the immediate past chair of the Metro Council's Labor and Economic Development Committee, vice-chair of the Democratic Caucus; and has chaired the Appropriations and Government Administrations committees.
Councilwoman Hamilton served as the Clerk of the Board of Aldermen for eight consecutive terms. She previously worked in city government as a legislative assistant, helped draft the City of Louisville’s first Affirmative Action Plan, 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 was a program coordinator and grant writer for the Adult Education division of the Jefferson County Public Schools, and a principal assistant with the Kentucky Commission of Women.
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” initiative in Shawnee to prevent and reduce crime and revitalize the neighborhood; began a Police/Youth Outreach program; co-sponsored the initiation of “No More Red Dots” and hosted Back to School events and Youth Summits. 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 and 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.” Hamilton also organized the West Louisville Crime Prevention Council with representatives from each District 5 neighborhood.
Hamilton passed legislation to license and regulate boarding and lodging houses, updated the Nuisance Ordinance, tree canopy ordinance, held Planning and Zoning 101 workshops to educate residents, and forums to acquaint citizens with the Metro budgetary process. She has also sponsored legislation to increase the minimum wage and provided initial funding for the master plan and design for the expansion of Waterfront Park Phase IV. She 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 the West Louisville Outdoor Recreation Center and a new boat ramp in Shawnee Park in 2019.
Councilwoman Hamilton formed a resident-based West Market Street Advisory Committee to develop recommendations to revitalize the streetscape and beautify its commercial corridor for further neighborhood economic development, and secured millions in the Metro Budget for implementation of the West Market Street Corridor Streetscape & Infrastructure Improvement plan. Hamilton sponsored family movies in area parks and hosts an annual District 5 Community Celebration which recognizes district volunteers as Molly Leonard Community Service Award recipients. She has been an active supporter of the arts for young people including Shakespeare in the Parks, Stage One performances at district schools, AMPED, WESTEC, the Louisville Leopard Percussionists, River City Drum Corps, improvements to the dance studio at the Shawnee Arts & Cultural Center, and providing arts and drama classes in the summer, to name just a few. A longtime advocate of the Portland Little League, West Louisville Sports and spearheaded the successful return of “The Dirt Bowl Basketball Tournament” to Shawnee Park and improvements to district parks so that area young people would have constructive social, leisure and recreational activities during the summer. She has sponsored BrightSite beautification projects in Portland and Chickasaw, and helped facilitate the development of many community gardens, including the The People’s Garden in Shawnee, and numerous tree plantings.
Hamilton publishes a weekly District 5 E-Newsletter, and meets monthly with residents of the District 5 Neighborhood Advisory Committee. She spearheaded the development of new neighborhood plans for the Portland and Shawnee neighborhoods which led to economic investment in those neighborhoods, and millions of dollars targeted to Portland, Shawnee and now the Russell community by designating these areas with Neighborhood Revitalization Strategy Area Plans and funding. She also involved area residents in developing the Northwestern Parkway/Shawnee Neighborhood/Portland Neighborhood Livability Plan.
In 2016, Hamilton co-authored a chapter, “The Cardinal Success Center @ Shawnee: Building a Sustainable University, School and Community Collaboration” with Dr. Eugene H. Foster and Dr. 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 to the Ohio River, the many district parks, and initiating the promotion of funding and planning for Waterfront Park Phase IV, Hamilton will be featured in an upcoming issue of the Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum’s Urban Waterways, a 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.