1) I want to help build a more just and equal Oberlin by creating inclusivity and education around the purpose of council, the powers it wields and the ways citizens can connect. We can’t have equality without a diversity of voices at the decision-making table. As a new councilperson I’d create educational materials clarifying the processes through which we operate and the mechanisms through which we make change. Then I would work to share those resources through public and off-site meetings, local organizations, the budding youth council, and outreach where we eat like community meals, the farmers’ market and food distributions.
2) I’d like to see a fruit and nut tree orchard alongside sustainable, affordable housing. I’d solicit designs for projects that produce food and sequester carbon while housing people. Philadelphia has implemented a community orchard project that has planted and maintains tens of thousands of trees. I’d support projects that promote community access to nutrient-dense foods and connection to our neighbors.
Additionally, a key piece of the proposed Green Acres development was more affordable housing in Oberlin. I believe we’re underutilizing an existing resource in foreclosed homes around town. I’d explore options to sustainably rehab and rent the existing properties.
3) Oberlin’s greatest strength is our citizens, a community of problem-solvers. The problem is some voices aren’t heard in these conversations about our needs. We can address both by finding novel ways to ask the people of Oberlin what problems they see and how we could solve them.
4) Residents are best served by empowered leaders in business, politics, community-building, and non-profits. To promote and retain these leaders we need to devote time and money to community and economic development. Some approaches are collaborative workspaces, stronger loan programs, incentives for new businesses and projects beautifying our community. Additionally, youth are an underrepresented force of development. Giving them discounted access to these programs will create engagement and opportunity for many. To facilitate this growth the city should devote resources to hosting conversations around local issues. Time and money must be allocated for community engagement as the results pay back for generations.
5) Whether managing organizational budgets at Lorain County Head Start, creating a from-scratch food program at the Oberlin Early Childhood Center, running a sustainable food truck business, or co-founding the Oberlin Winter Market, I always strive to create opportunities for transformation and growth in my work. It’s from the heart.