The most important thing a government can do is be accountable to its citizens and respect their trust through absolute transparency. For most of us, this starts at the municipal level. If constituents can’t trust our local city council, how are we expected to trust our state and federal government.
It is no secret that the Springfield city government, and more specifically Ward 3, has suffered from a lack of transparency. Combine this with historically low voter participation in our ward, and it is strikingly apparent that Ward 3 needs a new kind of aspirational leadership dedicated to making sure constituents are well informed and fully engaged in the civic process.
I commit to:
- Working to ensure the local government process is as transparent as possible.
- Sending out mail & digital updates to the residents of Ward 3 to update them on City Council work.
- Having monthly town hall meetings with residents to hear their concerns and give live updates.
- Setting up a community stakeholders advisory team composed of community organizations, leaders, and organizers.
- Advocating for the Participatory Budgeting process to allow Springfield residents to have a say over projects of their choice.
Economic development and the opportunities it creates are the lifeblood of any city.
As a native of Springfield, I see the potential for economic opportunity etched into the bedrock of our community. The entrepreneurial spirit of Springfield has never been stronger or more vital in the years to come following the end of this pandemic.
As your City Councilor, I will work to amplify and embolden this spirit by:
- Helping small businesses to succeed by working with state and federal officials to secure funding and access to capital.
- Ensuring that new development revitalizes and does not cause gentrification to the current community.
- Working to empower initiatives for entrepreneurs.
- Being a strong advocate to ensure community-driven projects occur by utilizing the information and suggestions gathered from monthly forums with constituents and stakeholders.
The past decade has once again raised our country’s awareness of the racial injustices and inequities that hold back so many Black, Latino, and Asian communities.
We must confront our flawed past before we can move to higher ground. The quickest place for us to begin to heal these problems isn’t at the federal level, but in our local government. As City Councilor, I will:
- Be a champion on racial justice issues and ensuring that Springfield works for all residents, especially people of color.
- Ensure that city jobs go to Springfield residents, not people from the suburbs.
- Expand language access for city services, permitting, and communications.
- Hire diverse city staff who reflect the community and speak different languages.
- Help Black, Latino, and Asian immigrant-owned businesses recover from COVID-19.
COVID-19 has devastated our neighborhoods, from our families to our businesses. We need to strengthen our public health system to get us through this pandemic and prevent future ones. According to a 2019 report, Springfield has the worst air quality, among the worst heart disease rates, and the highest asthma rates in the country.
Too many families have felt the cruel sting of police brutality and misconduct at the hands of the Springfield Police Department. Public safety is a crucial component of a healthy and functioning society, but one thing we have learned is that over-policing and poor public safety policy is not an option. We must work together as one community to find the solutions that fit Springfield and create a safe environment for all. I’ve championed police accountability through my advocacy work and am troubled by the Department of Justice’s report on the Springfield Police Departments use of excessive force. We can and must do better.
I commit to:
- Working to increase funding for mental health, social service programs, and emergency services, so that police aren’t the first line of response.
- Re-establishing the Police Commission to ensure accountability.
- Working with the police department to have policing practices that serve our community and fit our needs.
- Partnering with local hospitals and community health centers, and privately-owned businesses to make Springfield a healthier community to call home.
- Fighting to stop the biomass plant and improve air quality in Springfield.
- Ensuring that COVID-19 vaccine distribution in Springfield is timely, equitable, and available to all residents.
Massachusetts’ inability to provide proper affordable housing options to its citizens is a collective failure that has impacted our Springfield community long before COVID-19 began devastating the nation. We also need better transportation so that families can get around our community and city.
The solutions we create as a community must not only keep us afloat in the short term, but prepare us to thrive once this pandemic is over. Toward this effort, I will commit to:
- Supporting community land trusts in Springfield to establish more affordable housing.
- Ensuring that as properties are built or renovated, they are affordable to renters in Springfield.
- Supporting initiatives to curb/reduce the rate of homelessness in Springfield.
- Supporting programs for first-time homeowners and home improvement.
- Advocate for East-West Rail to stimulate our economy.
- Expand the senior property tax workoff program.
- Make the PVTA free.
As an educator and youth advocate, I’m aware of how important it is to engage our youth in the civic process and create spaces to foster their growth. As I teach my students every day, I worry about what type of world they are being sent into and want to make sure they have the tools they need to succeed. While the school committee has more purview over youth and academics, we still have to work as an entire city to lift them and their voices up. Youth deserve a government that works and advocates for them. I commit to listening to our youth, engaging them in the civic process, and establishing a channel for them to voice their concerns.
- Invest in our community centers and after school programs and summer camps
- Support families with immediate remote learning resources and improve school building safety so that our kids can return safely.
- Expand our curriculum to include the arts, civics, financial literacy, and STEM
- Invest in youth jobs and community-based programs and anti-youth violence initiatives