It is critically important that this community has a strong and viable local economy. I am a strong supporter of Business Investment Grants. Research shows that we get an $85.00 return for every dollar we invest in bringing jobs to our community. We must continue this trend so that we can ensure that every citizen in our community is provided with opportunities – through gainful employment – to support their families and to grow their communities. By encouraging and supporting the relocation of new businesses to the area, we can help families achieve their goals, and we can potentially grow strong, vibrant, economically stable communities. We must continue to seize these economic opportunities when they present themselves. Because we provided incentive grants, our community now enjoys thousands of jobs – and increased economic growth – that could have been directed elsewhere.
After having spent 13.5 years on the Board of Education, one might reasonably expect that I strongly support our public education system. While I support the ongoing efforts of CMS to improve “how” it delivers education to students, I believe that there is much more for us to do. I truly believe that one of the ways that we provide an equal playing field for all children is to provide a high-quality education for all of our children. In order for us to realize an educated citizenry who will change, maintain, and grow our communities, we will need to learn how to “think differently” about what we want the end product to be, to better define and articulate what “high quality” means to us as we grow communities. I believe we should set high expectations of each child and his/her family, provide highly qualified effective teachers in every classroom, and provide strong leadership in every school. One of the things that I hear consistently when companies are asked why they came to Charlotte is they came because our community provides them with a strong public education system along with a well-educated workforce.
One of the most challenging issues in our community is finding and sustain affordable housing. Affordable housing is and continues to be a leading issue in our community. It has been reported that there is currently a shortage of more than 22,000 units for residents who are at or below 30% of the Area Median Income. I support and will continue to support the county’s investment in funding homelessness, housing instability, and wrap-around services to support this vulnerable population, as well as supporting a rental subsidy program, housing assistance and property tax relief clinics, all of which impact affordable housing.
Crime or the fear of crime is an issue that stays on the minds of most citizens. I believe that the residents of our community have the right to expect to live, work, and play in a crime-free environment. As a Commissioner, I will continue to work to ensure that our court system, operates efficiently and effectively to receive, implement and finalize cases that are brought before it. I support providing additional resources to help employ and train additional District Attorneys who will prosecute cases and move cases through the court system. I support the establishment of the Drug Court, which will help to expedite drug cases. This parallel court system I believe, will, on the one hand, alleviate the traffic in our current system, and on the other hand, expedite the prosecution of drug-related cases. We must provide adequate jail space for those who are incarcerated and at the same time remove those with mental illness to an appropriate facility that will adequately address their concerns. We must continue to provide adequate monitoring devices for known criminal offenders, which provides us with the ability to track their whereabouts in the event that a crime occurs in close proximity to them. I believe that this will enhance the safety of our community.