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Below are the answer we supplied to questions from the Ferguson Times:
FT: Give a short bio.
I’ve lived in our wonderful hometown for forty years and for the past five years I have had the pleasure of serving on the Ferguson City Council. I am a widow and mother of a wonderful daughter. I am a graduate of the University of Missouri-St. Louis with a degree in Chemistry, own my own business and I’ve served twenty-two years as a Pastor for the African Methodist Episcopal Church.
I am the only candidate for Mayor who underwent training sponsored by the Missouri Municipal League and received my Certified Municipal Official designation from the Municipal Governance Institute in September of 2017. In addition, I am and have been the City Council representative for various commissions, including Human Rights, Landmarks, Traffic, Parks, Senior Citizens, West Florissant Business Association, and Mayor pro tem 2016.
FT: Why do you want to be mayor? It seems like a thankless job.
I love Ferguson and its people and believe that I am the person to lead our City. My focus is to make sure that our City remains stable and will deliver services at the expected levels for the foreseeable future. Specifically, I want to improve the overall quality of life for all of the people of Ferguson, including our business community and patrons, ensure a safe City, and to create a financially stable government that is transparent and accessible to all. I will continue engaging citizens to respond to the 2020 Census to assure that Ferguson gets its fair share. We are in the fourth year of the Consent Decree and I will support the staff as we move forward toward compliance by year five. To accomplish these goals, Ferguson needs a strong, visionary leader who can unite the City’s diverse interests, through strategic planning, transparency, inspiration, and communication, I am that person.
FT: After the coronavirus crisis is over, what do you see as the most monumental challenge facing Ferguson?
The coronavirus crisis is the most difficult challenge to our City in our lifetime. Life as we know has changed forever. My administration’s first priority is to make sure that all of our citizens are safe and will be safe. We must help our small businesses re-ignite as they are crucial members of our community. These businesses provide the services our citizens need, they are a major source of the city’s revenue through sales tax and they employ many of our residents. I will use all of the resources at our disposal to avoid interruption of basic services. We must access every available government grant in order to continue to provide critical services for our citizens.
FT: What change/s would you like to see in the Ferguson administration?
Innovative thinking must become our new normal. There are resources like the Missouri Municipal League and the National League of Cities, which can provide a wealth of information on best practices and have been proven successful elsewhere.
Designated staff members must engage with citizens who have the experience in grant writing and other resources to help bring us more tools to implement innovative programs.
FT: The last few years there have been major disruptions in the city council meetings. What changes would you like to see to curtail this?
As Mayor it would be my responsibility to see that the formal business of the city proceeds in an orderly and dignified manner. We will need to be proactive in our listening to the concerns of residents. Holding regular town hall meetings will provide a healthy outlet for questions and allow public input on city matters. We have important work that must be done by the Council. As Mayor I will be offering appointment times for citizens to discuss their concerns.
FT: You have both been heavily involved in volunteer work. How do we get more people to step forward?
The City must actively invite citizens to participate on our many boards and commissions by engaging the community on a more personal level, provide the necessary training to help people understand the value of serving as a volunteer and seek persons who can share their leadership expertise for various projects.
FT: Do you still see people voting along racial lines?
Our region has a history of racial problems. Unfortunately, it touches every aspect of our society: economics, housing, education, crime, healthcare, and politics. As a pre-coronavirus candidate, I made every effort to meet voters to introduce myself as an individual and then as a candidate. I wanted them to know me and I would get a chance to know them. They will find out that we share a similar vision and will vote for me not because of our differences but because of what we have in common and our shared vision for Ferguson.
FT: Keeping in mind that the FT only prints ‘good’ news, how do you address these problems in a positive manner.
Trash – no one wants to live in a trashy neighborhood
Residents must take ownership of their communities/neighborhoods. A strong community that communicates with each other will have City Hall as a partner to address problems. The City has the resources to deal with problem properties and bad landlords, but residents have to partner with the City to collectively address these issues. By pulling together we can make a difference.
Thefts – Thieves are breaking into cars, sheds, garages, businesses
We can educate property owners on choosing the right kind of locks, security systems (cameras and alarms), lighting, and encourage them to report suspicious activity. As much of this type of property crime is committed by youth, we also need to do more to see that our young people have career paths, job opportunities, and positive outlets. We must work closely with the schools to fight truancy and gang recruitment. Neighbors working together by looking out, communicating to other neighbors’ things that don’t look right and informing City Hall are the best deterrent to bad actors.
Run Down Houses
We must promote the First Time Homeowner Program to encourage homeownership and I want to expand the Home Repair Program so people can get forgettable loans.
The City needs help from the State and County to deal with absentee landlords or abandoned properties who often hide their ownership. Landlords must work with the city to bring their properties into compliance with local ordinances.
Homelessness – they leave trash, are disruptive and rude at the market and concerts
The City should partner with community-based organizations to provide a place where the police or appropriate personnel could deal with this issue. The municipalities of St. Louis County must work together to develop a collective approach to homelessness. The next Mayor must enlist the aid of the Missouri Municipal League and the County Executive.
Speeding – Streetlights are being knocked down all the time on Florissant Rd.
Speeding is a persistent problem, not just in Ferguson, but across the country. The police department has, in the past and will again, have a fully staffed traffic unit to address speeders. Their increase visibility will have an immediate impact on the issue. We need to change behaviors of drivers in our city which will help slow traffic down.
FT: Additional comments:
When the history of this pandemic is written, the true heroes will be those who pulled together to help each other. Nurses, Doctors, Emergency Medical Technicians, Pharmacists, Firefighters, Police, Grocery Store Workers, Delivery Drivers, Postal Workers, Sanitation Workers, Volunteers, and everyone doing their part at home…thank you.
As your next Mayor I will work for a better Ferguson. I would appreciate your vote on Tuesday, June 2nd. Thank you!