Making Government Work for You

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.

Policy at a Glance

Strong and Responsive City Services

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.

  • Prioritize fast road repair and pothole filling.
  • Advocate for investments in belly plows and route software that helps remove snow effectively and efficiently.
  • Provide safe working conditions for city staff in parks, recreational centers, libraries, and city departments.
  • Continue to remove lead pipes from our city.
  • Represent residents’ interests when contracting city services such as trash.

Comprehensive Public Safety

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.

  • Invest in programs that reduce gun violence.
  • DO NOT defund law enforcement.
  • Recruit and train law enforcement officers that form strong relationships with the community and are accountable in ways other departments are not.
  • Make sure our schools, law enforcement, and families are sharing information to help prevent crime before it happens.
  • Continue to invest in strategies that eliminate catalytic converter and vehicle theft.
  • Invest in safety by design such as increased lighting, better lines of sight vegetation, and cleaning and maintenance of public spaces.
  • Deploy mental health, social workers, and housing specialists to calls when appropriate.

Building Housing We Need

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.

  • Connect residents with state resources to assist in paying their rents.
  • Find innovative ways to incentivize affordable housing development.
  • Work to keep construction and development moving forward at the Highland Bridge site.
  • Review ways to construct new types of housing.
  • Convene a working group to propose recommendations on how to increase construction and renovating by simplifying our permitting and construction code.

Supporting Businesses and Development

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.

  • Build a new economic strategy to meet the realities of a post-COVID Ward 3 and St. Paul.
  • Regularly meet with business, union, and community leaders to draft recommendations on how to expand our tax base.
  • Revitalize downtown by attracting investment in housing and retail, keeping mid-sized companies in place, and finding innovative attractions that bring businesses downtown.
  • Work with our district councils to connect local businesses with STAR Grants.
  • Strengthen housing options by neighborhood nodes that increase foot traffic to local businesses.

Climate Change and Resiliency

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.

  • Connect residents with resources in the Carbon Free by 2040 and the Inflation Reduction Act to help weatherize homes, install solar, and invest in energy efficient appliances.
  • Leverage state and federal resources to help begin electrification of heating for public buildings and expand electric vehicle infrastructure.
  • Install solar on appropriate public buildings.
  • Continue to bolster St. Paul’s natural tree canopy.
  • Continue implementation of St. Paul’s Climate Action and Resilience Plan.

Community Initiatives

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!