I grew up in Des Moines. I went through the Des Moines Public Schools, and my own children will too. This community, its schools, and its neighborhoods shaped who I am and provided me with tremendous opportunities. I will be forever grateful for the opportunities that this community has provided me. I want to be part of providing those same kinds of opportunities to future generations and everyone who chooses to make their home here. To do this, we need to build a better and stronger Des Moines for everyone. My priorities to achieve that goal center on strong, safe neighborhoods that are accessible to all who want to call Des Moines their home.
Building Strong Neighborhoods Through Strong Neighborhood Schools
A fundamental responsibility of the City Council is to help build strong neighborhoods. I believe that we can’t have strong neighborhoods without strong neighborhood schools, and I understand that schools are an important part of providing services to our residents. I will improve services by improving planning and coordination between the Council and the school board. I will work to more effectively and efficiently use city resources such as libraries, parks, and public transportation to complement school resources through innovative and collaborative programming. I will prioritize connecting our schools to the rest of the community by making walkable and bike friendly routes to schools, as well as connecting them to public transit.
Protecting Public Safety
I believe that any conversation about public safety needs to start with the men and women who serve our community on the front lines. Our police officers and firefighters put their lives on the line every day to make our community safe. It is essential that the Council provide their departments with the resources to effectively do their jobs. I support an independent study to analyze the appropriate staffing level and organization for our police department now and as the city continues to grow. I support focusing police resources on the crimes that matter most – that means placing greater emphasis on violent crimes and gun crimes, less emphasis on low-level drug offenses like possession of marijuana, and leaving enforcement of federal immigration laws to the federal government.
Creating an Accessible Community that Works for Everyone
Creating a community that works for everyone means creating a community that is accessible for everyone. I am committed to making Des Moines a more walkable, bikeable, and transit accessible community. In the process, we will make our streets safer, facilitate the growth of small businesses, and enhance our quality of life. An accessible city works for the millennial who wants to live downtown without a car, a baby boomer that wants access to amenities while driving less, and a working family that needs public transit to get to work and child care. I will work to create a more accessible community by supporting the city’s active transportation planner, protected bike lanes, expansion of the bike share program, implementation of safe routes to schools, and a strong transit system.
Connecting Downtown to Strong, Vibrant, Diverse Neighborhoods
Our downtown has experienced significant growth and success in recent years. It is important to continue the momentum downtown, but we must also expand that success into our neighborhoods. I will take care of the basics and ensure our roads, parks and infrastructure are maintained. We also need to look beyond the basics to revitalize our neighborhoods. I will prioritize creating vibrancy on our corridors connecting downtown to our neighborhoods including Ingersoll Ave, Southwest 9th St., and 6th Ave and University. Greater street life with more shops, restaurants, walkability and bikeability along the corridors improves the quality of life and the strength of our neighborhoods. In addition, I will address the city’s backlog of nuisance and abandoned properties that need to be demolished and redeveloped and push for stricter enforcement of code against problem landlords with multiple substandard properties.
Implementing Local Solutions to Climate Change
Climate change is a defining challenge of the 21st century. Local leadership on climate change and sustainability is more important now than ever. While our national leaders are failing to take action, I will prioritize implementing local climate solutions. We can build a better Des Moines by leading on climate solutions and pursuing energy efficiency and renewable energy at city buildings. We can build a better Des Moines by innovating and supporting electric vehicle infrastructure, building efficiency and benchmarking, expanded low-income energy efficiency programs, density in our urban core, walkability, bikeability, and strong transit. I will work hard to implement these local climate solutions and to ensure that we don’t miss out on the opportunities the new clean energy economy will provide, that we don’t fail our children, and that we act on climate change and do our part to solve one of the great problems of our time.
Protecting Public Health and Standing Up for Water Quality
Our state has serious water pollution problems. These problems threaten our drinking water and shut down our beaches at lakes around the state. Des Moines and its residents are on the front lines of Iowa’s water pollution problems. Des Moines Water Works and its board have been fighting courageously to improve our water quality. The legislature’s recent attack on the Des Moines Water Works and clean water makes it that much more important that we have elected officials who recognize the seriousness of the problem and will work to find solutions. As an environmental attorney, I have been standing up for clean water for years. I will bring that experience with me to the City Council and continue to stand up for clean water by opposing the bill to dismantle the Des Moines Water Works and working towards solutions to our water quality problems.
Investing in People
We need a voice that values our workforce and recognizes our community is stronger when everyone has the opportunity that comes from a decent wage. I will stand up for the thousands of minimum wage workers in Des Moines who had their wages cut by the legislature’s preemption bill. I will support and prioritize local policies that provide apprenticeship opportunities and support local workers on city projects. As a city, we provide better service when we work together and value everyone’s contribution to making our government and our community work. I will work collaboratively with our hard working public employees in order to provide Des Moines residents with the quality service they deserve.