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I believe that every community is unique and has varying needs, visions, and expectations of local government. Bringing awareness to those needs and visions will be my top priority. I believe there is a need to create more opportunities for citizen engagement and connection with local leaders and officials, and with other communities.
In a time of increased growth and development, the need for cooperation, collaboration, and communication between communities and local government is critically important. As Knox County moves forward with creating a Comprehensive Transportation, Land Use, and Park Plan, I will work to ensure that the needs and visions identified by citizens are included and that implementation of the plan findings are pursued. I will facilitate more communication among citizens and local government by hosting frequent community round table discussions, highlighting citizens in a video series called “Front Porch Forums,” and encouraging citizen representation on existing county boards, focus groups, and committees. I will also support and encourage the expansion of the Knox County Department of Constituent Services and work alongside the Director to enhance citizen engagement. I vow to be accessible and responsive to the issues and concerns that impact our citizens in their daily lives.
I believe that we must bring attention to the needs and visions of every community throughout Knox County inclusive of basic infrastructure needs & services and needs that improve the overall quality of life for every citizen. I have advocated for and supported the forthcoming Knox County Comprehensive Land Use, Transportation, and Park Plan. I believe that we can improve and simplify government processes and policies.
I believe that addressing the basic needs and visions of current residents builds a foundation for future residents and improves the quality of life for all. Infrastructure is inclusive of institutions, physical systems, and public and private services/resources that help enhance and maintain a healthy, sustainable, and modern economy. Adequate infrastructure and a strong economy go hand and hand, and both directly impact the lives of our families and shape the private sector’s investment decisions to make municipalities more competitive. Creating quality neighborhoods, schools, parks, and public spaces requires a strong, sustainable economy. I would work to align individual community infrastructure needs with County and State budget allocations.
I am a fierce advocate of intentional growth with coordinated infrastructure. This requires a comprehensive growth and transportation plan that outlines a long-range vision and policy framework for physical and economic development. It is a cooperative effort, created through a public participation process that involves community members, county departments and officials, planning and engineering staff, neighborhood groups, and private sector professionals all with varied viewpoints and interests. A County Comprehensive Land Use, Transportation, and Park Plan would provide a road map for growth and development, protection of existing neighborhoods, and conservation of land. It would recognize that economic development and quality of life are inseparable. I would continue my efforts to create, implement, and codify a county comprehensive plan identifying specific needs and visions for every community within Knox County. Having current, codified plans would enable our county to be more intentional with growth and development decisions, and more financially responsible when it comes to coordinating infrastructure.
I believe in comprehensive and cohesive emergency service provision that equips our service men and women, first responders, and emergency personnel with the resources and tools necessary to ensure the well-being and safety of all citizens.
I believe that every citizen deserves to live, work, play, learn, and worship with a feeling of well–being and safety. Public safety and provision of comprehensive emergency services should be a focus in our county. This requires supporting those who protect and serve our communities through adequate funding and compensation, accountability, collaboration and coordination, and oversight. This also requires engaging with communities and fostering positive public safety relationships and policies. I will work with all agencies and communities to ensure that Knox County is providing the highest and most comprehensive level of emergency response services and that interagency and community cooperation is effective and efficient.
I believe in creating and promoting an economic culture and local quality of life that supports existing businesses, welcomes new businesses, offers diverse career paths, and generates a variety of social offerings for our families.
I believe that continuing to develop infrastructure will further enhance our County’s productivity, consequently making Knox County more competitive and attractive to private investments and boosting our economy. I will encourage pursuit of public-private partnerships and small business access to capital to help finance small and large public-sector projects, spread risk and make the economy prosperous by considering investment opportunities, opening up employment opportunities, supporting local businesses, and increasing the standard of living for all citizens.
I believe in supporting our school system and our educators to ensure that every child’s needs are met.
I support making the highest level of public education available to all. I support empowering teachers both academically and financially and ensuring competitive compensation and benefits. I support financial investment equivalent to school systems in comparable municipalities. I support inclusion and expansion of resources to meet the academic, physical, mental, safety, and social needs of every student. I believe that every student should have access to educational programs that provide various, diverse career path options. I support holding schools accountable academically and financially. I will work to bridge the gap between local government and our school system. I will pursue a correlation between school capacities and enrollment with land use and planning processes and regulations.
I believe in the integration and availability of mental health services into communities.
I support local governments adoption of mental health policies into public health policies and general social policies. I believe that addressing the mental health of our citizens has never been more important than it is today. I believe that we must support existing services and resources to reach every community countywide, and then invest in expanding our reach either through publicly funded resources and / or partnerships with neighboring municipalities and the private sector. I also believe that being a part of a community can have a positive effect on mental health and emotional wellbeing. Community involvement provides a sense of belonging and social connectedness. It can also offer extra meaning and purpose to everyday life. One way that local government can promote positive mental health is by investing in healthy housing and fostering private sector relationships through development of healthy housing strategies. I would initiate discussions to include principles of healthy and inclusionary housing options in community planning.
I believe in responsible and intentional financial spending and budgeting that aligns with the needs and visions of every community, provides fair and equitable compensation to those who work and serve our county, and takes into consideration growth and development in our region.
I believe that Knox County can continue to be a fiscally responsible municipality by maintaining low taxes on citizen households and economic expansion to increase the revenue base. I support planned debt related to intentional growth and development through short and long-term strategic plans that better infrastructure and overall community enhancement. I believe that ongoing discussions among citizens, government officials and departments, and the private sector are necessary to balance budget strategies, community priorities, and county direction.