I was asked recently for a list of what I have accomplished in a year and a half on the Gastonia City Council. This list is not exhaustive, but is a good representation of my thoughtful and solid record for the people of Gastonia.
- Voted for two consecutive budgets that did not raise property taxes.
- Voted to increase pay for most City fire and police in order to make their salaries comparable with those of other municipalities.
- Held a small business forum to hear concerns and ideas from the business community.
- Worked with the local DGMA (Downtown Gastonia Merchants Association) to promote their businesses and avail myself to assisting them in having their concerns heard on the City level.
- Worked within the Center City Revitalization Committee to assist several businesses with Ideal Grants, including Cavendish Brewery.
- Advocated for the position of a downtown business liaison; it is now becoming a reality without using additional funds.
- Proposed a City-sponsored small business conference forum to be held in the fall. Details and plans are being worked on by City staff.
- Held a “Young Gastonians” roundtable to better understand the needs of our young people and discover why they live here.
- Introduced a change in HR policy, mandating that City workers in direct contact with children be trained in child abuse detection and prevention.
- Voted to sell property in the Highland Community for residential development, putting the property back on the tax roll and returning it to private ownership.
- Voted to purchase land on Franklin (FUSE) to be revitalized, with the understanding that if FUSE does not garner the private interest and support necessary to move forward, these properties needed demolition in order to raise surrounding property values and reduce crime in the vicinity.
- Became a member of the Gaston Food Policy Council, working in a collaborative effort on issues concerning food scarcity, food labeling, and fresh food choices in Gaston, specifically advocating for more choices in the west end of Gastonia. Still working with various groups to look at alternative means of getting healthy food to our food desert areas.
- Held a Town Hall concerning the opioid epidemic in Gaston, collaborating with law enforcement and nonprofits to engage and educate, resulting in a more unified and collective response to the crisis.
- Worked with the NC Attorney General’s office to coordinate a visit to Gaston to hear from the various stakeholders on the opioid crisis in our County. Also worked to organize a sit down discussion with individuals in recovery programs at Phoenix Counseling.
- Held an additional update Town Hall on the opiate crisis.
- Held an organizational meeting with over 50 local clergy members interested in becoming further informed and educated on the opioid crisis. This has led to their collaborating with the substance abuse coalition in order to better inform their congregations and meet growing demands for assistance from parishioners.
- Accepted an invitation from the offices of both the Governor and the Attorney General to attend the signing of the STOP Act in Raleigh as well as a private reception at the NC Attorney General’s office to recognize individuals who promoted and worked toward efforts to fight the opioid crisis and educate the public on its impact.
- Voted against a rezoning request for “Franklin Woods” on the basis of environmental and neighborhood concerns.
- Voted to extend water and sewer to a development in South Gastonia.
- Brought a major sewer issue in York Chester to the attention of public works, resulting in substantial repairs to the subsurface system.
- Voted for various upgrades and maintenance needs for our aging infrastructure; found creative ways to add more roads to our repair list.
- Organized a public memorial in response to the Orlando Pulse nightclub shooting, the nation’s worst massacre after 9/11.
Introduced a resolution for a year-long celebration of the City’s 140th Birthday.
- Brought forth a proposal to restructure how downtown events are communicated; introduced a review process after events.
Held numerous small “coffee talks” with neighborhood groups as an outreach to residents.
- Worked with various nonprofits and groups on many different issues; offered advice, guidance, services, and personal assistance.
- Went on a fact finding tour of Greenville, SC, and met with the Mayor in order to gather information on Greenville’s economic development and jobs creation story, with the intention of gaining an understanding of how Greenville transformed itself as a city and bringing some of those ideas back to Gastonia if applicable.
- Proposed the hosting of an Open House for our City Hall, which is in the works for a future date.
- Proposing the passage of Gastonia’s allowance of the Mimosa Bill, permitting alcohol sales before noon on Sundays, giving private local businesses the freedom to make their own decisions regarding the sale of alcohol to their customers.
- Currently working as part of an organizing committee with Gaston Together along with other stakeholders for a very special upcoming meeting on the opioid crisis with a very special guest.
Way too many committee meetings, constituent meetings, emails, and calls to list, but I think you get the general idea. I will list more at a later date, as this is not an exhaustive or fully comprehensive list.
If this is only a fraction of what I have been able to accomplish in a year and a half by working in a collaborative manner with others, just think of what can be done if I am re-elected and allowed to serve a 4-year term.