Every plank in our platform-- from transportation, to criminal justice, to education-- serves economic justice for District 2.
The people of District 2 deserve fair wages and an equal share in meaningful work of the twenty-first century. As Commissioner, I will fight to bring businesses to District 2 that are committed to paying at least $15/hour. I will ensure that all future land development in District 2 puts working families first. I will fight to invest city start-up capital in locally-owned and operated minority owned businesses within the District so that our families can thrive and grow.
As well, investing city funds in jobs skills training programs and youth development programs that help District 2 residents get good paying jobs is central to my economic justice platform.
I believe that giving economic power back to the East Athens Development Corporation is critical to achieving these goals and, as your commissioner, I will fight for the EADC and look forward to working closely with them.
The time is now to end discrimination in Athens once and for all.
As your commissioner, healing the relationship between law enforcement and communities of color will be one of my top priorities.
People of color are targeted for arrest at much higher rates than the general population. Often times, these arrests are drug-related. Once they are in the system, offenders are set down a path that is difficult to recover from—blocked to economic and educational opportunity, denied voting rights, and other injustices. For this reason, I believe we should deprioritize marijuana arrests and reduce sentencing for past offenders and use the funds we currently spend to keep people in jail to invest in youth development and job skills training programs.
As well, we must do away with our current system of cash bail, which unfairly punishes poor people.
As an activist, I have fought for a permanent, municipal Civil Rights Committee, rallied against discrimination in downtown Athens and at the University of Georgia, and as Commissioner, I will not rest until we have a dedicated civil rights committee and a comprehensive anti-discrimination ordinance to protect all Athenians--including people of color, immigrants, LGBTQ people, and people with disabilities-- from unfair treatment.
Continuing or finishing your education as an adult should be a right and not a privilege. As your commissioner, I will fight for fair access to lifelong education opportunities for every single person in Athens, regardless of economic background or past criminal history.
Countless skilled jobs in Athens remain unfilled because of a lack of trained workers. As your commissioner, I will make sure our government is investing in job skills training programs that will put good jobs in reach of the people who need them.
Supporting local education, from K-12 to adulthood, also includes protecting youth development programs & educational programs that will give our community members a larger pool of jobs to choose from.
As a literacy educator, I have worked with youth and families at the Nellie B. Community Library, the Athens Tutorial Program and at Coile Middle School to support literacy development outside of the classroom. As your Commissioner, I will work with Leisure Services to raise awareness about their programming, services, and facilities within our community, to diversify programming for youth at the East Athens Community Center, and to expand the East Athens Library.
To ensure that all families have access to a high quality of life for their children, I will fight to expand access to quality, affordable childcare throughout Athens-Clarke County. I will push for comprehensive needs assessment for Athens-Clarke County, review relevant case studies from other cities, and be a leader in designing comprehensive reform of our local childcare system. As part of that needs assessment, I will listen to working parents who have historically been ignored and kept out of this process as well as our hard working teachers and child care providers, who are often underpaid and undervalued.
Access to affordable transportation is a basic human need. As your future commissioner, making city buses free for everyone is a top priority. As well, I will fight for complete sidewalks and protected bike lanes in all parts of the city.
Fare free public transit will not only ensure our neighbors mobility and freedom. It will also decrease traffic, cut down on pollution, and increase the safety of our streets. This can all be accomplished by adding no more than $20 per year into existing city fees, doing away with bus fares and allowing us to expand local bus routes to serve all corners of Athens.
While focusing on public transit, it is also important that we protect our cyclists and pedestrians as well. This means investment in protected bike lanes, complete and accessible sidewalks and increasing access to information about alternative transit options.
In addition, I will fight for more streetlights and speed breakers in Martin Circle, Cone Drive and anywhere in our district that they are needed so that pedestrians can travel in comfort and safety.
This is our chance to pass policy which keeps our homes affordable-- and our communities together.
Rising property taxes and new land developments that prioritize the rich continue to push working families out of Athens. As your Commissioner, I will make prosperity for working families a priority by increasing access to affordable housing, ending the single-family ordinance, and promoting homeownership through strategic investment in long-term residents of District 2.
I will also advocate for inclusionary zoning which ensures that construction of new housing in District 2 contains a certain percentage of affordable units (“affordable” meaning accurately reflecting our local median income of 33,000/year) and for property tax freezes for long-term residents of the District.