What do you think are a few of the greatest challenges facing West Melbourne that you’d like to address?
West Melbourne is an amazing place to live, work, and play and I want to make sure it continues to have that feeling of ‘home’ while also planning for the future. I believe we need to work with nearby cities and the county to address the traffic issues, continue to prioritize the maintenance of our roads, keep taxes low, ensure our city and schools are safe with proactive community policing, and work to attract desirable businesses that will be assets to our city. Each of these areas directly impacts our residents’ quality of life and can be achieved with purposeful planning and action.
As a former educator, I believe our children are one of our greatest treasurers and they also are the next generation of citizens and leaders in our community. As a member of the city council, I would work to ensure a strong relationship with our West Melbourne schools to give our children the best possible education and safety available.
In addition, I believe in supporting our law enforcement, which have a vital role in our community. The West Melbourne Police Department is able to work effectively to serve and protect our city because they have our support. I appreciate how they have found ways to engage with our citizens in the past and I want to continue seeking ways to build relationships between our law enforcement, city leadership, and residents.
Our lagoon is a precious natural resource and when I was a teacher, my 4th graders would take a fieldtrip to study the flora and fauna in and around the lagoon to understand how everything is connected and how our actions can either improve or harm the environment. West Melbourne is going to be building its own water plant as a way to address the water quality issues that have occurred in the past, which I think we should prioritize in the budget.
Additionally, I want to continue supporting the reuse water program and new scrubbers that will be used to address the high levels of nitrates being washed into our sewers and canals, which eventually enter the lagoon and harm the environment. Some of our houses are older and using and have septic systems that are causing runoff so I am encouraging people to participate in the septic-to-sewer conversions. By drilling wells and utilizing new equipment in the water plant, the runoff that goes into the lagoon should be decreased, as well as being a solid investment for the city’s future.
As I regularly attend City Council meetings already to stay informed, I know that our city is one of the most well-funded cities in Brevard County. I want to ensure we have responsible uses for taxpayer funds through being fiscally conservative and executing projects after extensive research and planning. If our city takes that approach and we continue to have a strong economy, I do not think we will need to raise taxes.
Our local businesses bring a variety of quality goods and services for our families and those around the county, and many of them look for ways to give back, too. As a fellow business owner, I know the importance of having a strong relationship between city leadership and businesses, which happens through open and honest communication and ensuring local policies support economic development and small businesses. I want to ensure our city council and local businesses actively seek opportunities to partner together for the betterment of the city and our residents.
I actually come from a family line of proud American patriots and spent a portion of my childhood learning about the members of my family who stood for freedom and democracy, including Philip Livingston and Robert Livingston who signed the Declaration of Independence and Constitution, respectively. As a member of the organization Descendants of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence, my sister and I were invited to be Bell Tappers of the Liberty Bell on July 4th. On every Fourth of July, at 2pm Eastern time, children who are descendants of Declaration signers symbolically tap the Liberty Bell 13 times while bells across the nation also ring 13 times in honor of the patriots from the original 13 states. Being a part of an organization dedicated to our American freedom and participating in related activities made an impact on me at a young age and I knew the right thing to do was to continue that legacy and serve my community.
The short answer is no. Cerebral palsy affects my mobility and not my brain and critical thinking skills, for which I am grateful. I am regularly out in our community because of my work, city advisory board commitments, and other responsibilities, as well as getting out to meet as many people as I can in the city. I sincerely hope I get the opportunity to meet and speak with you, as I try to support activities and businesses in our area so you’ll see me out and about – sometimes even with my service dog, Opus.
Opus is a service dog from Canine Companions, a national nonprofit dedicated to providing service dogs to people with disabilities to enhance their independence and quality of life. Since I try to be as independent as possible, Opus doesn’t go everywhere with me but I’m sure you’ll see him around!