Running for Re-Election
October 28, 2018
I'm writing to thank you for your engagement in City of Columbia policy issues and to let you know that I have decided to run for re-election as the City Council's Fourth Ward representative. Please check out my 2019-2022 Policy Platform.
If you are a Fourth Ward resident, I ask for your vote on Tuesday, April 2nd. If you live elsewhere in Columbia or Boone County, I hope you will support my campaign for re-election in other ways. My philosophy of public service is to listen to the concerns and suggestions of all constituents, integrate those ideas with my own experience and research in community building, and then develop policy positions and push for change that improves the quality of life for all Columbia residents.
Over the last three years, I have:
- Helped establish the Columbia Community Land Trust, creating permanently affordable housing;
- Advanced the creation of a city-wide community-oriented policing program, leading to less crime and better police relations in our strategic neighborhoods;
- Spearheaded the adoption of Columbia's Vision Zero policy, setting a goal of zero traffic deaths and serious injuries by 2030; and
- Led a community conversation about poverty and racism.
As I look at the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead for the City of Columbia, I plan to emphasize three main areas in my 2019-2022 policy platform:
- Planning for Growth
- Equity in all Policies
- Constituent Engagement
Planning for Growth
Columbia is one of the most rapidly-growing cities in the U.S. Since 1980, we have almost doubled in size, and our annual population growth of 1.5 - 2.0% means we are adding about 2,000 new residents and between 500 and 1,000 new homes every year.
Such high-speed growth sustained over multiple decades has created problems in Columbia as annexation and new development (both sprawl and in-fill) have outstripped our ability to conduct proper community planning. As a result, we have inefficient land-use patterns, dangerously under-funded public infrastructure systems, and long-time residents who have not been given adequate opportunity to provide input on the process – or be heard.
The good news is that Columbia is the kind of community where people want to live, bringing economic investment and new, progressive ideas into the city. However, that desirable situation will not continue unless we address critical growth-related issues with some urgency.
In the first part of my policy platform, I discuss the following in more depth:
- Cost of Infrastructure
- Compact versus Sprawl Development
- New Comprehensive Plan
Equity in all Policies
In 2016, I voted with a unanimous City Council to adopt a new strategic initiative, focused on social equity.
Unlike “equality,” the concept of “equity” recognizes the differing needs of different people. Historical injustices and other factors have perpetuated severe disparities in economic opportunity, neighborhood safety, health status and student achievement. The goal of this initiative is to correct these disparities and make Columbia a place where “all families ... can thrive.”
Our initial efforts in three neighborhoods where residents face the greatest challenges have been successful. By adjusting the City's budget priorities, we have been able to engage residents, implement community-oriented policing, and fix infrastructure deficiencies. Crime is down and citizen satisfaction is up - these residents are better connected with the City, and better able to contribute to society and the local economy.
However, we have a long way to go, if we want to create real opportunity for everyone! Poverty and injustice are still deeply embedded in our community - in order to dismantle these disparities, we will need to center "equity" in all our policy and budgeting decisions.
I present several specific strategies for the City of Columbia to become more equity-focused in part 2 of my policy platform:
- Inclusionary Zoning
- Community-Oriented Policing
- Public Transportation Funding
- Full-Time Paid Council Members
The proper role of City Council members is to serve the residents they represent.
Therefore, I have always taken constituent engagement very seriously and invested a lot of time and energy in effective communications. As I plan for another term on the City Council, I shall continue to listen carefully to constituents and facilitate an open and honest dialogue on all issues.
Part 3 of my policy platform includes information about my web site, monthly newsletter, and Constituent Conversations at Dunn Bros. Coffee.
And you can join me for my next Constituent Conversations (Sunday November 18th, 2-4pm ), where we can discuss this policy platform and other City issues. Upcoming dates are always available at my web site.