My personal story allows me to relate to people from very different backgrounds and not vilify someone who disagrees with me. I have been that kid in need of a safe school. My family has experienced poor city services. We needed that next unit of affordable housing to be available. And I have also been that first-time homebuyer waiting for the opportunity to buy a home for my family. We must get back to the basics. We need common sense and experience on the City Council. We need to get things done.
Residents deserve to see their property taxes reflected in strong city services, parks and rec centers, and infrastructure. We know any community that aspires for great dreams must be built on a foundation of the basics: filling potholes, plowing our roads, building city infrastructure, funding our rec centers, and responding to residents who want to speak to their council member. These basics of city government are the important foundation for a strong, equitable, and resilient Ward 3 and St. Paul.
I will prioritize fixing our roads, making sure streets are plowed, and building the parks residents rely on. My experience in the Minnesota Senate working on important policy challenges with limited resources prepares me for the short-and long-term budget priorities the city must decide.
I believe safety is a fundamental right for all. I have lived in places where my life was threatened by gang members, and I have seen how school fights can escalate out of control. That is why public safety is so important to me. Investing in public safety allows children to learn in safe schools, families to enjoy parks, vehicle owners feeling safe parking their cars on streets, and people to be safe as they frequent their favorite businesses. People in our Ward continue to deal with catalytic converter theft, car jackings, property crimes, and are concerned for their safety on transit and downtown.
My experience as the Chair of the Neighborhood Safety Community Council shows that we need smart investments to keep the public safe while addressing the root causes of crime. We must accomplish both of these without defunding or redistributing the police budget. We must be proactive.
When I was living in that homeless shelter, I felt embarrassed to stand at the street-level door waiting to be buzzed in. That 13-year-old me needed that next unit of affordable housing to be available.
That home I needed is not being built because of rent control, and that is why rent control isn’t a solution for our housing crisis. Permits for multi-family housing (affordable housing) are down 48% compared to last year while Minneapolis’ permits are up. This lack of new construction and lower property values because of rent control puts increasing pressure on property tax payers (which renters also pay), and this especially hurts families with low or fixed incomes. This threatens the fiscal health of our city. Also, housing shortages lead to higher rents for rent-burdened families. Essentially, many of the neediest people aren’t helped, and that is not the housing policy we need. Rent control is failing St. Paul because we need to build more homes for people.
We need pragmatic solutions to build affordable housing and homes for first-time home buyers instead of ideological battles over policy. This includes private capital, public funds, and smart policy. The need for housing in our Ward and across the city is immense, and the city has limited resources. We can’t do this alone.
Protect existing rent control exemptions.
Pass a 30-year new construction exemption.
No city can live up to its aspirations without vibrant economic and business development, even a city like St. Paul that is rooted in a rich history. We face many challenges. Our downtown needs revitalization, we must expand our tax base, and we need to answer the question “what will be the next economic chapter of our city.” Robust economic development is equitable and benefits all.
I envision a city with a vibrant downtown, thriving neighborhood businesses that are staples of our community, innovative new local-driven development, and opportunities for new fortune 500 companies. We must write that new chapter of St. Paul’s economic story, and I commit to doing just that.
We continue to see the effects of climate change. We are experiencing more extreme weather phenomenon as the planet continues to warm closer to the 1.5 degrees celsius. These effects are not just on TV, but they are affecting our Ward. The freeze-thaw cycle is contributing to potholes, heating our public buildings is becoming more expensive, and the increasing intensity of storms challenges our city infrastructure. We need to look at what the city can do to combat the climate crisis.
Ward 3 Internship Program
Our neighborhood is very fortunate to have many young people brimming with enthusiasm for public service. We need to invest in these young people. That is why I will create a program that offers internships through the Ward 3 council member’s office. This opportunity will teach young people how to do public policy, listen to the diverse concerns of constituents, and professional mentorship. To make this opportunity equitable for all, we will work to make sure these opportunities will be paid.
Ward 3 Scholarship
Investments don’t stop at an internship program. What better way can we invest in our youth than to provide students scholarships to go to school? As council member, I want to use this position to raise funds an provide scholarships to our high school students as they head to college. I believe together we can provide our young people the help they need in a value-based way that shows we as a community is invested in our shared future!