It’s important to know where your candidate stands on important issues. Below is a list of a some of the important issues that impact our community. These issues are all connected and the solutions we design together must acknowledge that interconnection.
Our government is one of the people, by the people and for the people, but it cannot be so if our elected officials feel beholden only to wealthy donors. I pledge to never accept money from large corporations or financial entities, but rather to source my contributions from the individual citizens of Rochester who have a fundamental right to be represented fairly by their elected officials without interference from big money donors.
With only 12 years left to solve this crisis, individuals, businesses, and all levels of government need to mobilize to address the climate crisis. We should approach this problem as a community opportunity. I will work to embrace a renewable energy economy and reduce energy use to increase family savings, create jobs and decrease our carbon footprint.
The Rochester City School District graduates less than 50% of students - the lowest rate of New York’s five As a bilingual city school district teacher, I have seen the many obstacles to success our children face. From childhood poverty to inadequate support systems, our children struggle with challenges that set them up to fail. I will work with the city school district to remove those barriers to success and improve the quality of education. I recognize the importance of culturally relevant content and culturally responsive instruction as key to sparking student buy-in in our urban district.
It is my honor to be fully supportive of endeavors central to the protection and advancement of LGBTQIA rights. Every person has the right to live with dignity and to the fullest expression of their identity. I am committed to be a leader in fighting to protect and expand those rights. I will fight for the rights and advancement of the community and welcome the ideas and visions of all who support equality.
I support the initiative for a living wage. We live in the most successful nation in the history of the world and there is no reason for anyone who puts in an honest week’s work to live in poverty.When people trade their time and effort, they should get back enough to support themselves and their families. We must find ways to make a living wage a reality. I will also encourage and develop programs that help our residents do more with their money.
Food is abundant in and around the City of Rochester. There is no excuse for hunger and malnutrition yet Rochester stands at number one in childhood poverty for cities of our size. Local food and agriculture policy can put the power of food security and health in the hands of the people, empowering them with knowledge and resources. Moreover, as a city school teacher, I can attest to studies that show that a well-fed student is a more successful student. I support initiatives aimed at improving the way we source, consume, and dispose of our food including support for urban farms and the rezoning of vacant land to create community gardens. I also support the creation of a local food policy council.
I believe that drug addiction is a disease and not a crime and we should treat it as such. We have lost too many of our community to this disease, and the time is overdue to take action. I support Safe Injection Sites (SIS) as well as other measures aimed at tackling the opioid epidemic such as increased access to Narcan and training for community members, increased access to methadone, and increased access to mental health counseling.
I support developing Parcel 5 into a well-programmed public space that available for the benefit of every citizen of Rochester - not simply to those who can afford it. I also support fully exploring alternative uses for Parcel 5 because whatever decision is made it will have a long-term impact on the quality of life and future of this city. It is very important that the city strongly consider all options with input from the community with ample time for debate. On similar parcels in other cities like Detroit and Cleveland who were facing this same dilemma, creative development has birthed public spaces that bring people together, serve as hubs for travel, and attract jobs as employers and entrepreneurs look to position themselves near consumers and services.
It is time we reevaluate how our police force interacts with the community as a whole. Community and police interactions must be proactive and respectful - I envision a city where officers park their cars and patrol neighborhoods on foot or bike so that citizens have an opportunity to develop mutually respectful relationships with the men and women who put their lives on the line to protect them and police feel themselves a part of our community. I believe that an independent police accountability board is essential to public trust, and public trust is essential to professional policing. The solution is not one of winners and losers but of good practices and of mutual respect and understanding.
Rochester has one of the highest poverty rates in the nation - this is unacceptable. Poverty does not exist because of one or two issues - systemic barriers trap the young, as well as the old in a cycle where lack of resources leads to an inability to strive for the life they want to be living. Understanding these barriers and the interconnectedness of issues is necessary if we are to make progress. Housing and Transportation are important foundational issues. Without accessible transportation and stable, affordable housing people spend the majority of their income on housing and cannot get to work, to their doctor, get healthy food, visit schools to meet teachers or be involved in their children’s education. This in turn keeps the cycle of poverty spinning. The ability to access jobs, health care, healthy food, educational participation and child care is one way to start down the road of success to make Rochester a shining example of what a city can do when everyone is able to participate in its life.
People with disabilities are an asset to the community and accessibility should be seen as an investment, not an expense. As your city council representative I will work to ensure that every modification is in place so that you receive the dignity and respect due every person. If this city is to thrive it will need the input from every person. I will also work to make sure that every aspect of city life takes into consideration the concerns and dignity of people with disabilities, whether it’s a meeting, festival, street construction or access to services.
My highest goal is to include the voices of those not at the table and join other tables in our community to make sure everyone is represented and to break down unjust and inequitable policies that make it harder for marginalized communities to survive and get ahead. These include our brothers and sisters of color as well as members of the elderly, disabled, refugee, and LGBTQIA communities. I will work tirelessly with policy makers to address systemic injustices and create citywide policies that uplift our entire community.
Our country’s commitment to veterans is unacceptable, leading to nearly a million veterans living on food stamps, and astronomically high rates for suicide in the veteran population. Veterans suffer from disproportionately high suicide and homelessness rates. We must make it easy for veterans to find the help they need. I support the creation of a Veterans’ Council to be sure our veterans' needs are met and to advise the city on the impact of practices and policies on Veterans. I support the waiving of city fees and public bus fair for veterans.