Two years ago I ran for election because I wanted to be a different kind of elected official. I vowed, if elected, to be accessible and communicate with the people of Gastonia. In fact I stated that I wanted to bring City Hall to you! Two years later I can say that I kept that promise. With over a dozen town halls, forums and events, I did not shy away from those I pledged to serve.
I also pledged to look at police and fire pay and make sure those public servants got a raise that was comparable to our neighboring counterpart. The City Council voted unanimously to do so and I was proud to cast my vote in favor.
In addition I promised that if elected, I would make small business and economic development one of my main areas of focus. My first order of business was to hold a roundtable with small business owners and from there I began to advocate for a downtown liaison. This position eventually became a reality with the addition of a downtown development manager. And of course there is FUSE. From the beginning I saw this as an opportunity to bring new life to the west side as well as add jobs and development for the entire city. It is much more than a ballpark and the possibility of this project to help change our image and put us on the map, made it a no brainer for me. It is time we make our own destiny and realize the cavalry is not coming. We are the cavalry and before we can expect others to invest in us, we must believe ourselves that we are good enough and deserve something better than the crumbs off from Charlotte’s table.
And finally, I sought to be the type of leader that would tackle the tough issues. Every so often a challenge comes along that has no quick fixes or easy answers. The opioid addiction crisis in Gaston is such an issue. As a City Council member I quickly brought this subject to the light with numerous town halls and even a round table with the N.C. Attorney General. Our collaborative efforts had a direct impact on state legislation to curb the misuse of overprescribing and abuse of opioid prescriptions. I am proud of the numerous outreach groups I initiated including the faith community. Although far from over, there is glimmers of hope and the work being done by multiple groups and agencies is proof of what can happen when good people put their heads together.
I am seeking a second term, because two years is simply not enough time to finish what was started and honestly, the best is yet to come. There are still more town halls and educational opportunities to be had. There is still work to be done to bring our public safety departments to full staff. The economic development steps needs to become a full fledged sprint. FUSE needs to develop a viable and strong private public partnership and last but not least…Theopioid crisis needs continued advocacy.
I hope I have earned your trust and I hope you will give me the opportunity to continue to be your City Council member from Ward 1. I ran in 2015 to become a public servant. That is what I have been and with your support, that is what I will be.
(The above was also published as a MyTurn column in the Gaston Gazette on Oct. 25th, 2017 –