As a Navy veteran, I understand how difficult it is to transition into civilian life. The daunting task for those sailors, soldiers, marines, and airmen leaving the military can unfortunately lead to stress on themselves and their families. I am running to strengthen our current programs and resources to better help our veterans adjust into their new lives and find careers.
Our aging infrastructure requires immediate attention. We have allowed our right-of-ways, our sidewalks and our streets throughout the city to deteriorate and crumble. To correct this, we will take a hard look at our city’s Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) and prioritize the needs of the city that will help reduce pedestrian injuries and vehicle damage, and improve congestion and movement. We must also ensure that all legislation that appropriates taxpayer funds for a CIP project shall contain a 10 year projection on maintenance costs, so we can better plan for the years ahead.
I stand with our men and women in uniform because it is no easy task to keep our city safe. I personally believe our first responders in both the Jacksonville Sheriff's’ Office and in the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department deserve our respect for keeping our streets and our families protected each day. We must build a strong relationship and maintain effective communication between our law enforcement and neighborhoods, if we desire to reduce crime and ensure each neighborhood is a “walkable” neighborhood. We should also support our Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department, which is faced with the difficult and trying task of dealing with our city’s opioid epidemic. As your City Councilmember, I vow to provide our first responders with the resources and tools to best serve and protect our city and our families.
I believe in smart growth. We need to promote and incentivize development in areas that meet infrastructure, water, and quality of life needs. Continuing to sprawl without adequate infrastructure not only increases costs to residents and businesses, but will ultimately hurt the city’s ability to respond to growth needs. Lastly, this poor growth model increases costs, decreases positive growth, and doesn’t meet the future needs of our city. We have so much potential in Jacksonville, but we need to ensure we are planning properly.
District 14: Our district is one of the most diverse in Jacksonville. Whether you live in Argyle Forest, our historic neighborhoods of Murray Hill, Riverside, Avondale and Ortega, or the vibrant 5-Points area, this district has some of the most devoted residents a city can hope for. Our District’s residents have come together to infuse new life into some of our oldest buildings, and create new businesses that rejuvenate the area. To continue this trend, I believe the city must provide incentives to stimulate small business growth, while being more mindful of the traffic and congestion that affects our communities, families, and their safety.
Downtown: There are far too many dilapidated and crumbling buildings lining the beautiful St. Johns River and inhabiting our urban core. We need leadership that will infuse energy and direction, and will utilize public and private partnerships to rebuild our downtown into a major economic engine and entertainment destination. A strong downtown will enhance the surrounding neighborhoods, and boost economic drivers right here in our district.
Parking: As the city and our neighborhoods continue to grow, we cannot afford to ignore the parking problems that exist. As your representative on City Council, I will work hand-in-hand with local residents, business owners, and community leaders to make sure that there are plans to address parking problems and enforcement before new projects are completed.
Our teachers deserve the utmost support from our political leaders. There are few careers more rewarding and challenging than educating our youth, and we need to make sure our schools, teachers, and staff have the necessary tools to ensure students are safe and well prepared for each school year. Better partnership and engagement with our Duval County School District is one of the keys to long-term improvement of our schools.
The St. Johns River is not only beautiful, but it’s a natural resource that defines our city. District 14 is fortunate to be located along the river, and we need to ensure it is protected. Just as city leaders developed the River Accord in 2003, we need new leaders who will step up and properly implement the policies we agreed to 15 years ago, so we can keep our river healthy for future generations. Reviewing the effectiveness of our policies and working with local organizations to implement new cleanup measures will strengthen the economic value our river brings for tourists and our citizens.