Below are some common questions I've been asked while campaigning and during forums, and I want to make sure you know where I stand. As always, reach out to me if you have thoughts or other questions!
What are your top priorities for the City of Oshkosh?
We need to do a better job of listening to residents' experiences and being proactive in involving them in city decisions.
We need to increase our supply of affordable housing and help property owners be able to maintain their properties.
Oshkosh demographics are changing and we have to be building Oshkosh for the future that is welcoming. We need to do a better job as a city of being a role model for diversity and equity. Our diversity makes us stronger.
Do you support the city’s use of Tax Incremental Financing (TIF)?
For the most part, yes. We have to look at TIFs case by case and make sure that all other funding options are exhausted. We need to make sure that we’re using TIF for development that would not happen otherwise. I am supportive of using TIF incentives for affordable housing, again making sure that we’re being accountable to taxpayer dollars and using an incentive that is truly necessary.
What is your position on special assessments?
We need a strong built infrastructure if we want to have an Oshkosh that people want to live in. Keeping up with our sidewalks and roads should not place an undue burden on our residents or business owners. I agree that something needs to be done to find a more equitable solution to have a well-maintained transportation system for everyone.
What do you think about the state of our transportation system?
There are major transportation needs in Oshkosh and more needs to be done to have a well-maintained transportation system for everyone. People need to be able to get to where they need to go, whether it’s biking, walking, taking GO Transit, or driving. We have a great public service through GO Transit, but funding limitations have not allowed them to run past 6pm or on Sundays. I'm glad that the city and school district finally reached an agreement to provide all K-12 students in Oshkosh free rides on GO Transit. Once elected, I would work to continue creating partnerships between the city and school district, business community, and residents to ensure that everyone is able to get to where they need to go. We also need to continue to look at public-private partnerships, like Winnebago Catch-A-Ride, to make sure we have adequate transportation to help people access good jobs.
How can the city respond to COVID-19?
I work in public health and people need to take COVID-19 seriously and practice social distancing and proper hand washing to protect everyone in the community. I am concerned about residents who may not have the ability to avoid crowds or don't have access food and other essentials. I think we can be creative in adding space for the warming shelters to avoid crowding and ensure people experiencing homelessness have places to stay. There will also need to be a major focus on supporting local businesses during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. We can look at extending repayment on loans and expanding our support for local businesses. We can also look at redirecting federal funding into a small business emergency fund. The recovery from this unprecedented event will take time, community, and collaboration.
Do you support the city working on "diversity and inclusion"?
To me, diversity and inclusion means us doing the work necessary to make sure we’re a welcoming and inviting community for everyone. There are people in our city who do not feel welcome here even though they call Oshkosh home. We need to step up as a city and recognize our role in supporting diversity and weave equity throughout all of our policies and practices. Although I’m supportive of creating a diversity and equity position, that’s not enough. We need to look internally and make sure that the city as an employer and role model is being equitable in hiring practices, strategies, and decision-making. Throughout all of this, we need to be listening to families and businesses in our community because this is important for us to get right.
The City of Oshkosh recently rolled-out the Sawdust District Master Plan. What are your thoughts about the plan?
After attending the public open house and workshops for Plan Commission, I'm excited by the possibilities this plan has to offer. I like the flexibility and forward-thinking nature of the plan that will allow that area of the city to cater to a variety of businesses and residents. I also appreciate the prioritization of different types of housing, bike, pedestrian, and transit-friendly streets, and community gathering spaces. Moving forward, I plan to continue listening to business owners and residents in the Sawdust District to ensure that we stay accountable to them and keep them involved and part of the process. I look forward to putting in the work to see this area of the city receive the reinvestment and development it deserves.
Do you support paying all employees of the municipality a living wage?
Yes. If we are to make the city’s vision of being “a thriving and sustainable community offering abundant opportunities for work and life”, then I think the city itself should be accountable in making that happen internally for its own employees and contracts. The real work of supporting our community has to start from within.