DEVELOPING A SUSTAINABLE ECONOMY
As Charlotte blazes a path ahead into the rest of the 21st Century, we must establish a city that provides a variety of economic opportunities for each of its residents, including affordable housing and workforce and job training.
I’m proud to have been on Council to help put a $50,000,000 housing bond on the ballot in November of 2018 that, when paired with the massive outpouring of private support from companies with a significant community footprint, will open up unprecedented new opportunities to support affordable housing across the city.
Working side-by-side with this effort is the City’s steps to better equip residents for new and varied employment opportunities. Among these are the Workforce Development Program, kick-started by $2,000,000 in seed funding shepherded by Council’s Economic Development Committee, to help adults and young people who face significant barriers to employment, as well as connect long-term residents to the tools they need to remain as anchors of their communities.
Charlotte must continue to support and develop new and existing programs that sustain productive and dynamic economic activity and function as a pillar of upward mobility.
ESTABLISHING AN EFFECTIVE TRANSIT NETWORK
The chief value of cities is their diversity, but too often we are segregated into neighborhoods that create silos of interaction and opportunity that are too hard to break out of.
To increase the connectivity of our communities, Charlotte needs a transportation network that grows and adapts to the patterns of life and movement in the city, and gets people to work, to school, to the doctor, or to the grocery store in a manner that is quick and efficient. As Chair of City Council’s Transportation and Planning Committee, I continue to advocate for expanded rail access to more parts of our city as an added link connecting our communities.
Beyond the Light Rail, more flexibility in our CATS network, including decentralization of bus routes to allow for more direct access around the county, promotes the kind of mobility we need for a thriving community. The average one-way trip on a CATS bus is 90 minutes long, and the City must take steps to give people those hours back in their day to spend at work or with their families. And any modern transit network must be equipped with safe and accessible pedestrian and bicycle transit options, as well as smart assimilation of new micro-transit technologies.
PROVIDING SAFER STREETS AND COMMUNITIES
Growing up, I was free to run and play in the woods behind our neighborhood with kids of all different ages. We should aspire to create a Charlotte where we don’t just feel, but are safe enough in our communities to allow our children the freedom that we had.
I am proud to have initiated the planning and implementation of the JumpStart Microgrant Program that provides grants from $500 to $5000 for community-driven safety and advocacy programs to help equip neighborhoods with the tools, resources, and connections they need to effectively address crime in the community, affect grassroots change, and to grow into the next leaders of Charlotte.
Together, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department and the residents they serve can come together to develop strategies for community policing, which protect not only the lives and property of residents, but also the trust and the relationships on which this thriving urban community depends.
ENSURING AN EQUITABLE AND INCLUSIVE CITY
Like every large urban area across the country, Charlotte is home to a diverse array of people and communities, each unique in the character that they bring to the city as a whole. I remain proud of my vote to expand the City’s non-discrimination ordinance to include protections for an even greater segment of local residents, and would do so again.
The recommendations of my Council colleagues on the Immigrant Community Committee to ensure access to City services and information in five different languages, as well as other diversity and inclusion initiatives, will go a long way to enhancing the level of support that the City can provide to all of our residents.
However, these solutions are not final. I am always moved by my conversations with people from all around Charlotte to find new ways to protect and empower the voices and experiences of members of the immigrant, LGBTQ, Black, and other communities that together weave a rich tapestry of what it means to be a Charlottean.