Every candidate is given the opportunity to answer our candidate questionnaire. Below are the answers to the questions this candidate chose to answer as submitted.
Political Party: Democrat
Education: MSEd from Cuny, College of Staten Island
Office Running For: State Representative
Current Employment: Homeschooler
Where are you from: Long Island, New York
Are you a Veteran? If so which branch and rank? No
Why are you running: A thriving community involves addressing the needs of all people. Brevard is lacking balanced representation in Tallahassee. Large numbers of people are feeling disenfranchised and ignored and many programs are underfunded based along party lines. I want to help achieve balance. For too long, Brevard has focused on the needs of business and growth with too little emphasis on the needs of people. I believe in collaboration and that opposing ideas can lead to positive compromise and achieve the best possible solutions.
What are your top three priorities if you are elected:
My priority is to build and support healthy and thriving communities.
- A healthy community requires healthcare access, including mental healthcare, and safe affordable housing.
- A well funded public education for every child and well paid teachers are crucial for future economic growth as well as an indicator of the quality of life in communities. I am convinced public schools should be our priority and monies diverted to for-profit and private charter schools are hurting the local communities.
- Our environment is everything. Without a healthy environment our communities will not flourish and the local economy will fail to grow. Industries will leave, the housing market will fall, and people will move away. We must restore and protect our land, water supply, and air. We must plan and make the adjustments necessary to prepare for the changes affected by rising seas and climate change.
What do you think is the number 1 problem in your district related to the office you are running for:
Our schools lack sufficient funding which has repercussions for the future of our local communities. I was a teacher in the largest school system in the U.S. and my personal concerns about our public schools is one of the driving factors that inspired me to run for office. Recently, the Governor announced a new plan to replace Common Core, but that is not enough to bolster our public schools. We need fully funded schools including the need to increase teachers’ salaries and to account for experience. There is a real need for change in the school culture. Teachers should have the autonomy to create lessons geared for students and not to teach to the test.
How will you involve your constituents in your decision making: The only way to know what the people in District 51 want I is to listen and have an open door policy. I will plan routine meetings that will be open to the public. I will be sure to provide regular opportunities for the constituents who have entrusted me to represent them. I also feel that inviting opposing views is not an inconvenience but an opportunity to end the divisiveness that strangles local communities.
Do you plan to run for a higher office: At this time, the answer is no.
How will you address infrastructure in your district: Infrastructure is a huge issue in Brevard. Between roadways, public transportation, public housing, public schools, aging sewers, bridges, inadequate drainage, the choices are considerable and money is limited. We need Washington to pass an infrastructure bill to offset costs. We then need the State to prioritize projects, allocate sufficient funds, create and maintain common sense regulations, and require developers to pay their fair share at the onset of projects awarded by cities, the county, and state.
How will you address crime in your district? Brevard has individual cities that have been ranked as some of the safest in the US; however, Brevard ranks higher than the national and state averages in both violent and property crime overall. As prevention is key, not enough is being done to reduce these numbers. A revolving jail and criminal justice system is doing little to alleviate the problem. Even if we avoid the gun safety debate, there is a six-step policy that is proving to be effective but is not addressed in Tallahassee. These include stricter alcohol policies; hot-spot policing with an emphasis upon deterrence: a focused deterrence policing program that is not about arresting and re-arresting individuals but a program that involves engaging with the communities; raising the age or grade for dropping out of school; behavioral intervention programs, and; eliminating blighted housing as well as providing adequate and affordable housing to reduce our growing homelessness problem. These six steps apply a common sense approach that has been previously discussed by groups with considerable experience and knowledge to help reduce localized crime in communities throughout the U.S.
How will you address affordable housing? I believe that removing the blight out of urban communities requires local and state support for programs and policies to help transition empty buildings into affordable living spaces. It is a great first step to reduce homelessness and curtail the growth of future homelessness as rents and home prices rise. I would like to work with local organizations that are not only improving neighborhoods but would consider expanding the permitting of tiny houses as a more affordable living option for people. Also, the state legislature needs to stop the annual raiding of the Sadowski Fund. Money that is intended for housing can no longer be redirected to non-housing projects.
How will you address environmental concerns in your district?: Oversight is critical for decision-making. Because of the Indian River Lagoon, the majority of Brevardians are already aware that human activity contributes to environmental degradation and that rehabilitation is costly and passed on to taxpayers who have already voted for a sale’s tax increase to fund restoration. Funding is available federally, at the state level, and locally. Carrying out the suggestions by those already engaging in oversight can help with a process to pinpoint projects to reduce further degradation now and improve water quality in the future. Reduction of housing developments in sensitive regions, moratoriums against the sales of fertilizers, provisional funding to help homeowners hook up to new and improved sewer and waste management systems are some short term goals with long term proven results. Promoting public awareness creates change in how people think and deal with potential threats such as disposal of waste, lawn care practices, and will encourage communities to make environmentally responsible choices. We need a multi-pronged approach to preserve and restore our waterways and ecosystems.
Why are you a better choice than your opponents:Partisan politics is not working. If we truly want balance and equity for everyone in the county, there needs to be honest dialogue with more than one group contributing to most of the decision-making. While my opponent is a nice individual, his voting record is based upon supporting party initiatives without always considering the impacts to our county. The influence of lobbyists and big money donors are limiting the scope of bills being passed in Tallahassee, often overlooking the wants and needs of local populations throughout Florida for a few select groups.
What is your past political experience:
I have been serving as a member of the Brevard Democratic Executive Committee, am a precinct organizer, and I have worked on various local political campaigns. I am an activist and have been involved in activities to initiate changes in our public education system , the environment, social justice issues, and other programs that will enhance the quality of life in Brevard.
Opponents and the media research public records, police reports, credit information and do other background checks in an effort to discover tax liens, lawsuits, arrest records and other unfortunate things. Are there any issues your opponent could use against you that you wish to disclose:
Are there any other comments you’d like to make? Brevard County needs a representative who is aware of the daily struggles of the hardworking people of the county. While our local economy has improved and local industries are growing, there is still a large population of people being left behind. We have growing homeless populations due to lack of affordable housing opportunities. We are losing the middle class. Wages are not keeping up with the rising cost of living and people are forced to take on multiple jobs just to get by. We need to provide hope and real opportunity to increase the quality of life for everyone living in Brevard. I will fight for the people who are currently without a voice in Tallahassee!
Please list any websites or social media links to your campaign if you have any: