As your County Commissioner, I will prioritize three issues that are crucial to the well-being of our community. These are natural resources and the environment, social justice and equity, and growing a healthy local economy.
Our water, air, and land resources are the foundation of our well-being, and we must protect them. I will stand for programs that create jobs connected to environmental protection, advocate for policies that address climate change, and prioritize preserving the health of our environment as a matter of public good, economic development, and justice.
Social Justice & Equity
My years of work in our community, has shown me that disparities are our greatest weakness, and I am committed to helping us become a place where all our citizens can thrive and lead healthy, happy lives. I will fight for inclusion, equal rights, and economic opportunity for everyone.
Our economy is driven by locally-owned businesses. From agriculture to high tech, these businesses are investing in our community and helping define the culture of our home. I believe providing support for small businesses and start-ups is critical for a healthy economy. We must also enhance the assets that all businesses need, like an educated workforce and strong infrastructure that will remove barriers and foster prosperity.
Natural Resources & the Environment
My work has taught me that, along with soil, our water is our most precious resource, and it is in peril. Our springs and rivers have reduced flow, increases in pollution, and declining health. We are all a contributor these problems and a potential partner in solving them. I will work with our Environmental Protection Department to ensure strong education and incentive programs and policies that encourage better decision-making, and will collaborate with our regional and state agencies and organizations to find creative solutions that will protect our drinking water and the beautiful springs that we love.
One of the things that makes Alachua County such a beautiful place to live is the bounty of recreation, conservation, and rural working lands that we have protected. As population in Florida grows, and development pressures increase, I will fight to maintain this beauty and the environmentally and agriculturally significant lands that protect water resources, wildlife habitats, recreation, and healthy, local food.
Addressing climate change is a moral imperative for our children and the future of our community. My experience with institutional change at UF will be an asset as I work to reduce our county’s greenhouse gas emissions by supporting investments in advanced and renewable energy, focusing on expanding public transit and low emission vehicles, and improving sustainability in county operations. Further, I will stand for thoughtful and responsible planning and development policies that put people and our planet ahead of profit.
Social Justice & Equity
Affordable Housing and Neighborhood Integrity
All our citizens have the right to housing that is safe, sanitary, and efficient. Volunteering with We Are Neutral has given me a first-hand look at the challenges with our housing and to see that we have a long way to go to reach that goal. I will work to re-invest in a fair, robust, affordable housing stock and protect the history, culture, and diversity of our neighborhoods. I will also support programs that improve economic mobility and fight stagnating wages so more people can afford homes
Community Engagement and Opportunity
Collaborative work is what I am best at, and I have shown time and time again that we are stronger when we work together. All our citizens and communities must have a seat and voice at the decision-making table. This means building processes for comments, suggestions, and insights that are accessible, easy to understand, and free from bias. I will also support union rights, pay equity, and policies that reduce predatory lending practices in our community.
Mental Health and Criminal Justice Reform
I am committed to dismantling our national system of incarceration and ending the school-to-prison pipeline. I have witnessed the strides already made in our County, and want to work to enhance and expand these efforts. I will work collaboratively with law enforcement, community partners, and our criminal justice system to protect our communities, build trust, and improve pathways for diversion and re-entry.
Local Business Development & Support
With more than 20 businesses incubating at Working Food, I know firsthand that by supporting our locally-owned businesses we increase opportunity for well-paying jobs and business ownership to build a strong economy and keep dollars local! I will work to ensure reinvestment funds are reaching our locally-owned businesses, build collaboration with our City for better and assistance navigating the regulations and permitting processes. I am already working with several organizations to attract key tools, such a Community Development Finance Institution and a Community Development Corporation, to our County to ensure economic development benefits those that need it most.
Institutional Commitment to Community
My experience in state, regional and local government positions allowed me to learn that we must collaborate with our fellow institutions to truly respond to the needs of all people. I will build productive relationships with the City, UF, Santa Fe, and other organizations to foster cooperation and to encourage investment of our resources in our local community. Further, I will push to develop workforce training programs that address our community needs and create jobs!
Sustainable Agriculture, Food Access, & Local Food
Building local food systems is one of the most powerful ways to grow our economy and begin addressing critical challenges of our time—climate change, health, and community resilience. Food can nourish our bodies, and also cultural diversity and ecological health. Over 15 years of professional and volunteer service in food systems gives me the skills to help us become a leader in Florida addressing these issues.