When I was in elementary school, I would record the CBS evening news with Dan Rather and take the tape into my Teacher where she would play it for my classmates. Yes, I was a bit of a
geek and even then I was drawn towards current events and public service. That desire to inform, collaborate, educate, listen and work towards a better future has not changed…In fact it
has grown in intensity. Gastonia is a wonderful place to live, work and play and with your help we will continue to move forward and build on our current successes, while meeting the
challenges we face as a growing City.
Economic Development & Job creation: There has been no time in recent history where economic development has been as explosive as it is right now. We did that. Our Council and
staff did that! I did that! My voice was instrumental in the creation of FUSE, the repurposing of Trenton Mill into living space, Adding Durty Bull Brewery and welcoming additional restaurants,
office space and retail establishments to our community. We also saw the addition of the Loving Group moving their corporate HQ to downtown Gastonia as well as partnering with other
entities on projects like the Apple Creek expansion and Gateway 85. Hundreds of good paying jobs have been and will be created, with companies such as Newell announcing they will have a
significant presence in the Gateway 85 logistics park. We cannot forget our small businesses, who are the backbone of our local economy. I have and will continue to work with them to make
sure they are not forgotten in the midst of the economic expansion we are in. In the midst of a global pandemic they continued to find ways to reinvent themselves. They are heroes and
continue to model courage and creativity.
Public Safety: From day one I have been a supporter and an advocate for our First Responders. I have voted for every proposed department budget and advocated for more when
concerns and challenges arise. No doubt our police officers deserve a fair wage and should not just be meeting the market standard, but surpassing it. This includes our officers in leadership
roles as well as our patrol members. Many saw a market adjustment this past year, but this is still not enough. We must work harder to make sure our recruits and seasoned officers are not
leaving for other municipalities. This will be a continued pledge of mine to consistently monitor our pay and seek adjustments as needed so we stop the exodus of good officers and create an
environment of tenured officers who are happy and healthy in our department. Kudos to our new Chief who is doing some amazing work within the GCPD.
Parks & Recreation: I am proud to have advocated for a Tree Commission that will work to find ways to save our tree canopy. As a growing city we cannot wait to do this, it must be done
now. I am also proud of our pollinator city and tree city USA status. It demonstrates our commitment to being more environmentally aware as well as celebrating the world around us.
As a Council member who supports more greenspace, walking trails, bicycle lanes and recreation; It is wonderful to see a Council that is looking to add more parks including the former
Linwood Golf Course (which recently came into our care from the State).
Diversity and Inclusion: I know this term has a lot of different meanings to various people, however the ideals behind these words are solid. Gastonia has so much to offer and in its
growth we must continue to find ways to make all people feel welcome to live here, be a part of the local community, open businesses and feel as though their voices are being heard. I will
continue to be the outgoing individual I have been in meeting with diverse groups and hearing their stories. It is only through sharing our journey’s with one another that we can build trust and
work on becoming a more unified and welcoming community.
Connectivity: As your Councilmember I have sought ways to improve our transportation system as well as connectivity within our City and the greater Charlotte region. It is a struggle at
times as we are dealing with County, State and Federal level entities and competing interests. I support the concept of high speed rail and/or a commuter rail between Gastonia and Charlotte
as well as between Atlanta and DC. I support more roads and bridges that cross the Catawba. I support investing more in repairing our local (city) roads. We have greatly increased our
funding in this area, but need to continue to work on doing even more. And I support connecting our municipality with others in the region by using thread trails and other avenues.
Those who are struggling: My moral compass and my religious upbringing compels me to not look away when I see individuals who are hurting and struggling in our community. I am proud of my work in advocating for greater resources and collaborative efforts in fighting the opioid crisis in Gaston County. Gastonia was/is specifically hard hit. These efforts were recognized by the State Attorney General and Governor. Those early talks turned into action with a robust and engaged coalition working to educate, advocate and assist those in the midst of addiction. I am also proud of my work advocating for actionable items that our greater community can utilize in working to reduce homelessness. We may never see the end of this challenge, but we can
certainly work together to help people from falling into homelessness. I am currently a member of the Gaston County intergovernmental Task Force on Homelessness and am proud to be
working with many others on ways to reduce homelessness and assist those in our community who are currently experiencing homelessness.
These are only a few of the areas that I am focused on as your current City Council Member from Ward 1. The job of a Council Member is much more in-depth and also includes
constituency services, advocacy, collaboration and community service. It has been my pleasure to serve this City and to represent the people who live, work and play in Gastonia, North
Carolina. Please consider supporting our campaign as I continue to fight for you and push this City forward as a regional economic powerhouse and a welcoming community for all!
Gastonia City Council (Ward 1)