I want to make sure Charlotte's growth creates opportunity for all of our residents.
I am currently the District 1 representative on Charlotte City Council and a sales person for RNDC.
It's been nearly two years since I was first elected by the amazing constituents of District 1, and the challenges we've faced since then have been immense. I've fought for more affordable housing, pushed for adaptive reuse projects to preserve our history while continuing development, championed green programs throughout the city, fought to have the Cross Charlotte Trail funded through our district, and stood up to protect women's reproductive rights. But I've also worked to get stop signs installed to protect pedestrians near Uptown, had petty fines for small businesses advertising on sandwich boards waived, and halted development projects that would've created more problems in our district's flood plains. We're moving the needle on the biggest issues, but I'm also working tirelessly to make sure the small things that matter get attention too.
Affordable housing, upward mobility, and transportation. We have made great strides on all three fronts but must continue to prioritize people's ability to live in a safe, affordable place, have a good-paying job, and be able to move around our city via safe, reliable transit options.
We have made large strides in the last two years through increasing the affordable housing trust fund bond amount, enlisting a match from private sector corporations, engaging LISC in housing and community building efforts, creating a strategy around preserving existing affordable housing units, and piloting the Aging in Place program to prevent displacement of low-income elderly homeowners. We must continue and accelerate these efforts to attack the housing affordability crisis
While we must continue to improve the obvious part of our city's infrastructure like streets and sidewalks, some of the most urgent needs in our community are things that are often out of sight. Charlotte's water and storm water infrastructure are woefully underfunded and insufficient for a city our size and that is experiencing the growth we are. One thing I've already done to address these specific issues is work with staff to create a new system for prioritizing improvements and repairs based on urgency and need, not simply how long something has been on the list. While more funding is needed for these types of infrastructure projects, we must always find ways to more efficiently and effectively use the dollars that are already allocated. We must also continue to find opportunities to partner with developers to incorporate needed infrastructure improvements into already occurring private construction projects.
The current Council is, but must continue, prioritizing filling vacancies in CMPD, increasing Crisis Intervention/Mental Health Awareness training, and educating young people (young men in particular) on conflict resolution. While the long-term solution to crime will be creating opportunity for everyone in our community through education and good jobs, we must also address the critical safety needs we face in the present.
As the co-chair of the City's Intergovernmental Relations committee, it has been a high priority of mine to increase the interaction and collaboration between the city and other governmental bodies. We have increased engagement between both staff and elected officials in these respective organizations and have already seen better outcomes simply through better communication.
The city has had a great deal of recent success in attracting companies and good-paying jobs to our community, which we will continue to pursue. Of equal importance are the efforts we undertake to make sure our citizens are trained to fill those jobs. The City of Charlotte has engaged many community organizations as partners in workforce training programs and has prioritized using local, small businesses for city contract opportunities. We must continue to offer career paths for the many folks who might choose not to attend a traditional four year college, we must continue to partner with and strengthen our amazing community college, CPCC, so it can keep providing affordable job training opportunities to our residents, and we must continue to be ahead of the curve in identifying the jobs of the future so our young people can be head of the curve in preparing for them.
I believe the issues this tax seeks to fund are all critically important in our community, but I would like to find a way to ensure these funds are guaranteed to be set aside for the purposes voters deem most critical and would not be subject to the whims of ever-changing elected bodies. I believe voters still need more information about the decision-making structure of how the revenue stream from this tax will be spent before they should feel comfortable considering a vote in favor of it.
People over profit
User Experience Designer at Wells Fargo
Out of school, I interned with the US State Department, the Italian Consulate in Charlotte, the National Democratic Institute, and the Charlotte Chamber. Political accomplishment: running for office.
The most pressing issue in my district is our city's current approach to growth and development. I'd ensure that neighborhoods and residents would be included in genuine dialogue about potential changes to their communities and that we maintain infrastructure in parallel.
As a city, we need some kind of leverage to keep developers accountable for the units they promise. The NCGA makes that difficult for us today. Besides funding, I would work to ensure that the NCGA truly understands our needs and restores some degree of autonomy in this realm.
Street parking is a major issue. If you are not paying an exorbitant parking fee somewhere uptown, you are probably driving around a neighborhood in circles looking for a place to squeeze in. Others just give up and park in restricted lots and get a boot on their car. Cars take up a lot of space and we need to be prepared to accommodate a lot of cars when a new apartment goes up or else nix it.
Taking a proactive approach to public safety by 1) avoiding putting the city into potentially perilous situations, like hosting the RNC 2020 to re-elect Trump, and by 2) creating opportunity for people to open small businesses and make a living in their neighborhood.
When ownership and responsibilities are clearly defined, it makes collaboration much easier. A unified vision for the future of our area is also critical. Ultimately, the three offices should have shared goals and outcomes in mind concerning a better quality of life for everyone, a more just and equitable society, and a place where people from all backgrounds can learn and grow.
We should make it easier for people to start and sustain a small business in their own neighborhood, which will create new jobs and better economic outcomes for people. We should also promote trade schools and labor unions in order to train more people to fill the high demand for skilled labor jobs.
Art is woefully underfunded and typically not a public priority. I fully support more public funding for the arts.
However, this particular sales tax gives me pause. For one thing, it may be ambitious to think that this tax would be sufficient to make a lasting impact on such a broad and unfocused array of interests. For another thing, there is no guarantee in this case that the money will even go toward the outlined causes, which defeats the purpose.
I appreciate the initiative here, but I am not convinced that this tax, in its current state, is the best approach to solving our problems.