Transparent and Inclusive Government
The proper role of government is to be limited, transparent and accountable to the people first. Free from conflict of interest or kickbacks, City Council is obligated to expose dishonesty, waste, and laziness in its government operations. Citizens, taxpayers and stakeholders expect to be prioritized in the decision making process and faithfully served with open information. They should not be used as rubber stamps for pre-determined, staged decision making. With only 2,000-3,000 individuals voting in a Twin Falls City Council election, this low voter turnout traditionally represents a limited demographic. Twin Falls has a growing diversity, a younger generation seeking to have an impact. We also have an invested small business community which is the backbone of our local economy. It is crucial that local government does its most to engage with them to insure we're making future proof investments for the advancement of our city. Our City Council should represent various backgrounds and should strive to foster greater citizen participation. This will promote a healthy, democratic exchange of ideas which hold local government accountable in servicing our entire community
Affordable Housing and Taxes
As our city grows rapidly, the rising cost of living, housing and doing business affects everyone. Tax payers have the burden of picking up the tab. City Council is obligated to be conservative by cutting waste, streamlining government spending and invest our tax dollars wisely. The most urgent issue, outside of the opioid epidemic facing Twin Falls today is the housing crisis, specifically the gap in affordable housing for lower income families. Access to decent housing is fundamental to the safety, stability and prosperity of every American family. Poverty and homelessness is on the rise in Twin Falls. Our most vulnerable living on fixed income, senior citizens, veterans and individuals with disabilities, face food insecurity, forced to choose between paying for heat, housing or healthcare. We can do better, and must do better to understand the reality our working poor families are struggling to survive in. Their voices need to be heard in the public policy decisions where housing development, tax rates and budgeting issues are concerned. Under City Council's directive an affordable housing task force should be created. This task force should focus on assessment of our rental market, type and access to affordable units, explore housing solutions in similar communities, inclusionary planning with private, public and non profit sector to advise City Council on public policy to guide affordable housing goals. Government role in developing private property should be limited. However, government has a responsibility to represent the housing needs of the people it represents and provide developers with tools, incentives and guidelines that support public policy goals. For every family, the American Dream is based in having access to a decent home to live in.
Healthy Community and Environment
Twin Falls' 2030 Strategic-Plan vision is to be a community with a broad‐based commitment to the long‐range health of its citizens and visitors. A healthy community begins with healthy families and individuals. We are ignoring the biggest threat to public health and safety in our community. The meth and opioid epidemic is spreading and destroying families in our community. Our children deserve to grow, to learn and to live in a safe, drug free community to realize their future dreams. The war on drugs has failed the American people, this failed policy is embedded in our institutions, law enforcement and has stigmatized addiction and families stuck in this destructive cycle. The status quo is to criminalize instead of addressing the underlying factors of addiction in our City. Building more jails, cracking down on arrests has not, and will not clean up our community. It will take a genuine commitment and proactive leadership by City Council.
We are also blessed with the most precious natural environment. A commitment to preserve this historic nature is vital to our long term sustainability and economic growth. There is a disconnect between the values our local government expresses and practice when it comes to protecting our waters, land and environment. Recycling and sustainability is not an option for a city built on top of a desert with a fragile topsoil, and limited access to water. Growing, living in balance with nature is our crucial future proof, long term investment. Our nature is our lifeline, for farming, living and tourism. Healthy community and environment is essential for quality of life, economic success and future prosperity.
Equality and Dignity in Representation
Every person deserves to be treated with dignity and respect. The heritage and history of Twin Falls includes settlers, migrants, and immigrants from all backgrounds. Historically, our City Council has represented a limited demographic. Twin Falls has a growing diversity and a younger generation seeking to have an impact. Our City Council should represent various backgrounds and should strive to foster citizen participation. I bring a diverse perspective and believe I can contribute towards representation of an under-served population. Latinos, immigrants, refugees, and LGBT families have contributed to the history, culture and economic growth of our community. They are proud productive members of our city. Equal opportunity begins with inclusion and representation in a government of the people, by the people and for the people. This will promote a healthy, democratic exchange of ideas which hold local government accountable in servicing our entire community.
Supporting Small Business
Small businesses are the backbone of our local economy and promoters of our unique community culture & traditions. As a small business owner and small scale manufacturer, I understand how government can support small businesses in succeeding or slow down progress with excessive and overreaching regulations. Larger companies that have received tax breaks and incentives to relocate to Twin Falls have contributed greatly to our economical growth. This growth is valuable. At the same time, it presents real challenges to small business. Local government must reduce red tape, corporate scale measures and other bureaucratic obstacles which limit small businesses from thriving.