If elected, what will your top priority be for the city of Colorado Springs?
My top priority for Colorado Springs is to continue the momentum we have in making Colorado Springs a great place to live, work, and raise a family. Over the last four years, we’ve made tremendous strides in several areas: road repairs, stormwater infrastructure, public safety, City for Champions, downtown redevelopment, and luring businesses from across the world to improve our local economy. But there is much more work to do. In the next four years, if re-elected, I will continue to collaboratively lead or help lead efforts to: sustainably fund our parks, repurpose the Drake land, secure new water rights, clean up our waterways, replant our urban canopy, address the affordable housing, and homeless crisis’s, improve our wildfire prevention and response, grow responsibly, and help our small businesses recover from COVID-19.
What should city council implement to address the impacts of COVID-19?
Council’s role is less than the County's, but the sooner we can get everyone vaccinated, the better. Through our community centers, government buildings, and police and fire stations, the City will play any role necessary to make vaccines readily available to everyone in the City. As we get more federal funding to help our small businesses, restaurants, and the tourist industry recover in the form of grants and loans, we need to expedite getting to those monies to those affected. The same is true for federal help with housing insecurity and other economic hardships facing our population. Maybe less known is the City will receive a good amount of “drug settlement” money soon, which is very needed as our substance-use problems have skyrocketed during the pandemic. And we will receive some funding to help in the mental health arena as well. We can also be even more aggressive with waivers, reducing renewal fees and rebates from Utilities and the City, and being more flexible within the boundaries of public safety to ease our zoning regulations and building requirements to help small businesses better recover.
What needs to be done to address the growth the city has been experiencing?
My biggest concern is affordable and attainable housing. Colorado Springs has one of the fastest-growing housing and apartment markets in the country, but our housing prices and rents are skyrocketing much higher than our income levels can support. Our City government and Utilities should provide every incentive and opportunity possible to incent the private marketplace and the housing non-profits in our Region to build more affordable and attainable housing, particularly for our most vulnerable residents (seniors, vets, and single mothers with children). We also need to be much more proactive in Regional Planning, to not facilitate urban level development in the County and the City that financially burdens existing City residents. Vitally important as well will be to complete our Regional Transportation Masterplan, ReTool COS to modernize our building and zoning codes, implementing our Comprehensive Plan (PlanCOS), and providing high-speed internet infrastructure and alternative transportation options to all our residents and businesses. And finally, we need to better plan for our increasing “Heat Island” effect at Utilities, providing more distributed energy options and designing our new buildings and retrofitting our old, so that we can continue to provide reliable power as we significantly increase our demand because of our need for air conditioning.