This is one of a series of guest columns from candidates in contested races in the May 12 West Virginia Primary Election.
Serving on Huntington City Council since 2012, I have seen many challenges. Budget issues, police and firefighters pension projections, rising insurance premiums, dilapidated buildings, homelessness, property crime and of course the opioid crisis present many challenges for this administration. Effective leaders not only acknowledge challenges, but work in collaboration with others on the leadership team to bring innovative solutions to the issues.
While serving as chair of the Administration and Finance Committee, I worked with Mayor Williams, City Council, the administration and finance department, our labor leaders and attorneys to implement policies and procedures which save the city millions of dollars a year. Audits, by law, are performed every year. As chair of the Administration and Finance Committee I have participated in the last four audit exit reviews and I am proud to say there were no findings in the current audit. As a result of our diligence, the city is now on sound fiscal footing going forward.
As chair for three years and a current member of the Economic Development Committee, I and other committee members review Federal Community Development Block Grant funding, which allocates millions of dollars to be distributed among various community development programs. Each year the committee reviews applications and prepares a distribution budget to be submitted to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. During my two terms on council, these funds have been allocated to programs such as Lily’s Place, Huntington City Mission, Recovery Point, A.D. Lewis Community Center, Harmony House and many more. While federal funds have been reduced over the last several years, we have worked diligently to make sure that these funds are allocated to serve residents of our low- and moderate-income neighborhoods and the agencies that serve them.
My experience on City Council, committees and other community development boards and commissions in Huntington and Wayne County proves a history of community engagement and public service.
Serving the community of Westmoreland, Wayne County and the City of Huntington, I have gained valuable leadership experience in public relations, budgets and finance, federal regulations as well as personnel policies and procedures. I have developed partnerships and relationships with both local, state and national representatives. These contacts and relationships are invaluable when legislative issues concerning Huntington, Westmoreland and Wayne County arise.
While serving the Westmoreland community, I have heard the concerns of residents and worked hard to facilitate solutions. Working with the Public Works director, I have requested paving of streets that have been long ignored. I have worked with the chief of police to address law enforcement concerns of our residents. Westmoreland continues to be one of the safest communities in Huntington. I have continued to work with Mayor Williams, Chief Rader and the Westmoreland Fire Committee to identify a site and securing funding to build a new state-of-the-art fire station.
I am asking residents of District 1 (Westmoreland) to re-elect me to a third and final term on Huntington City Council. I will work hard to continue to serve you and the city with experience, leadership and integrity.