You know the challenges. Does our current government understand the solutions?

I pledge to be a fresh, trustworthy voice for the issues that matter most to District 18 and all of Kent County. Learn more about my priorities below – which are the key concerns you have expressed to me as I’ve spoken to friends and neighbors throughout our community.

Housing

An overburdened community. A future in jeopardy.

Too many people in our communities are struggling to make ends meet, and Housing is an enormous pressure on the finances of households of all kinds, in all age groups and life stages. Greater Grand Rapids is growing fast, and there aren’t enough affordable options to choose from. This burden is threatening the stability and prosperity of our county. We can do better. We must do better. I will support legislation and programs that address the concerns of all citizens and aspiring citizens, to meet the needs of real people – not just the big out-of-town speculators and investors who have helped to fuel this crisis.

Environment

Clean air, drinking water, lakes, and rivers.

I believe that breathing clean air, drinking pure water, and keeping our lakes and rivers free from contaminants are essential to our way of life. I’m currently advocating for the new landfill location (that is in the process of being deliberated) to be put on land controlled by a public entity. When it comes to our climate, cleanliness (not cost) should be the first consideration, and recycling should be incentivized. I will also consider the implications of any new projects within the county and ensure that they do not place a negative impact on our waterways, many of which that are routed between neighboring Townships and the City of Grand Rapids.

Transportation

Safer streets, sidewalks, busing.

Transportation within the County is a major concern as costs are rising and we have had several recent incidents where pedestrians have been hit by cars. Also, the number of people with disabilities and mental health needs is growing, and the number of people without drivers licenses (including Immigrants) shows that we need more access to busing services. Let’s make the decisions and investments necessary to move common-sense and fact-based solutions forward which balance the equation of getting around with safety, responsibility, and an eye on the future.

 

Public Safety

Breaking cycles and breaking down barriers.

The vast success and expansion of Kent County comes with great challenges in Public Safety for those doing the protecting and those being served. I will support open-minded law enforcement agencies who will collaborate on new ideas from the community while responding to data, facts, and proven outcomes. This includes the promotion of programs outside and within the Kent County Jail to help disrupt the revolving door of recidivism. The time has come to break the pipelines to incarceration and the destructive policy cycles that burden both our citizens and our justice system.

Health and Education

Expand funding for programs

Providing sufficient funding for our County’s Health Department, expanding the “Ready By Five” Early Childhood Development millage, library millage, and senior millage are priorities for me. With the rising costs of healthcare and childcare, I want to ensure that all residents including single mothers, seniors, and children get the services that they want and need. I also am in favor of expanding mental health and disability services.

Community Engagement

Transparent, accessible, government. Open to all.

From small tasks in the daily grind to the big and ambitious projects we undertake, we must ensure that residents are “in the loop” about their government. Timely and transparent information should flow freely from government to the people. Citizens should be enabled and empowered to get involved in their local government as much as possible. By sharing more with the people, we will discover collaboration with each other, as well as organizations and neighborhood groups who are doing great things, and in many cases are more in touch with the needs and concerns of our neighbors than the government can be alone. We have seen unfortunate things happen in our neighboring Ottawa County and it will take us all being engaged to protect essential services such as our Health Department.

 

These and other issues are top-of-mind today. New priorities will be discovered as we work together to guide the hand of our government. The most important element I pledge to bring to the job will be a citizen perspective – which is often lacking among political insiders.

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