Why I Am Running
I am running because I feel Charleston is at a cross roads. I believe we need to have a city government that will proactively move to change the status quo, and we are coming to the end of 11 years of a very mixed-bagged city leadership. The city has some positive trends; a slowly reinvigorating downtown, growth and eclectic new businesses and restaurants in parts of the West Side, East End, and South Hills, a strong concentration of traditional professional jobs, and as always the majority of the State workforce. Charleston is also facing difficulties, a hot zone for the opioid epidemic, issues with some of our homeless population, a decline in population, and lack of affordable housing and housing in general, Downtown.
I believe that Cities are the central driver of economic prosperity. Charleston is the largest and most urban of West Virginia's cities, and should be at the forefront of developing the region. We need to actually make the changes to improve life in the city to make it more attractive to live in. This means reducing zoning burdens for developers. Looking at our municipal regulations and taxation and making sure that everything we do as a government is to further a stated goal, and review that the steps we take are moving us towards that goal.
2018 is shaping up to be a change election. In Charleston we need to elect a mayor and a council that stand up for their own independence, bring a diversity of ideas to the table, and can have civil arguments with various stakeholders and each other. I believe I can be a strong agent of that change.
I'm an (almost) lifelong resident of Charleston. I went to, the now demolished, Taft Elementary, moved to Sissonville with my family for Middle and High School. I have three degrees from WVU Tech in Business Technology, Business Management and Accounting. I also studied Law at the WVU College of Law. I put years in working retail as both a sales clerk and manager in the Town Center Mall, worked in Healthcare at CASCI, and have spent a lot of time in transportation as an agent with US Airways and American Airlines, as well as being a Regional Manager with a private parking management company in downtown Charleston. In addition to all of that I started as an accountant with one of our local CPA firms this past year.
What I Want to Do
I'm an avid reader on urban planning, economics, and transportation issues. I believe that in a city, all of those topics are interrelated. For Charleston, we need to abandon our outdated, over specific zoning regulations and adopt a more simplified and inclusive zoning system by using a mix of form based and inclusive zoning. We need to realign our streets to make them safer, calm traffic, and increase visibility to our business. We must understand that real economic development doesn't come from trying to grab an outside business by racing to the bottom, but by making it easier for start-ups to begin here. Finally, we need to make investments in our ability to communicate to the citizens, utilities and businesses of the city.