Past and present affiliations, in part: Ford Motor Company GLOBE, Police and Fire Board, Ferndale Community Foundation, Steppin’ Out Board of Directors, Ferndale Elks Club, Sierra Club
What made you decide to run?
After the 2007 city elections, I began to notice a disconnect between some members on council and the residents. The first sign was when several members on council were pushing to implement a tax on downtown businesses without detailed plans for the use of those tax dollars. Residents and business owners repeatedly spoke out against the tax, but council continued to pursue implementation. It took the signing of a petition to force council to finally listen to the citizens. Had that tax been created, many of the downtown businesses that are struggling today would probably be closed.
What issues are most important to you?
I believe the top issue facing the city today is a financial one. The city has prospered over the past several years and is fortunate to have a small surplus of cash. Today we know that there will be a $3.5 million reduction in revenue to the city in 2010. We need to make sure we utilize our existing funds wisely and make strategic cuts in spending to ensure our current services are not impacted. If we make calculated choices in spending, we can reduce the need to raise taxes to cover any shortfalls in services.
Ferndale has lost a great number of industrial businesses (jobs) over the past decade, and we have an industrial zone that has been ignored. I will actively pursue new industry to come to Ferndale, invest in our community and create jobs for our residents.
Several members on council are out of touch with the citizens or Ferndale. I believe that our local elected officials should be accessible and available to talk with residents outside council chambers. Local government is the place where citizens can have a direct impact on how their tax dollars are spent and how their city operates. Residents should have the ability to interact with our council members in the community, and our council members should be more visible in our stores, restaurants and shops.
Why should LGBT people vote for you?
I believe in open transparent government. I am willing to listen and consider options other than my own or those of just my close friends. I will always vote based on the feedback of the community, even when it may go against my own personal opinion. An LGBT voter should support me with their vote because I have the leadership skills and experience to help our city through one of the worst economic downturns in over a generation. I believe that I can help the city get through the next several years by making the smart decisions that will position us to continue moving forward.
What do you love about your city?
I love the diversity of Ferndale. You never know whom you will run into when going into a restaurant or shop. I love that Ferndale has a small-town feel, like those towns you would drive through on a quiet highway hundreds of miles outside a major city, yet we are in the heart of metro Detroit. I love the fact that so many residents in Ferndale are actively involved in their city, whether it’s volunteering for a non-profit or coming to a city council meeting, Ferndalians really care about our city.
What are your thoughts on the idea that there should be no such thing as a non-political LGBT person?
Everyone should be involved in their government, regardless of their sexual orientation. The preamble to the U.S. Constitution begins with “We the people” not ‘We the elected people.’ It is the citizens of this country that determine how they want to be governed. If an LGBT individual chooses not to vote, they are giving up their right to express themselves and reduce the opportunity to achieve the equality that the LGBT community has been fighting to attain for 40 years.
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