How we #BuildHealthyCommunities in every District Neighborhood
When I launched my campaign earlier this year, my vision for District 10 was already shaped by my conversations with voters, my background growing up in Baltimore City, and my knowledge of public health.
Today, and over the course of the campaign, I’ll continue to discuss the policy priorities I’ll pursue as a legislator.
My policy vision, Building Healthy Communities, is about understanding how good outcomes for people, communities, and our city are based on the connections between people. As Councilwoman, I’ll focus on improving the connections between communities and the resources, services, and programs that city government and its partners deliver to make a difference.
SAFE AND HEALTHY NEIGHBORHOODS
Whether I’m in Curtis Bay, Morrell Park, Cherry Hill, or Violetville, safety is something that is always top of mind in District 10. Especially when it comes to our children and our seniors, it’s important that public safety is a top priority for all public servants.
One of the most important things is to get more officers out walking the neighborhood beat in our communities. When officers get out of the cars on foot patrols of the neighborhood, they not only deter crime in the short term, but they begin to build relationships with the community that work over time to reduce crime more systematically.
Of course, better public safety outcomes require that our police are true partners with the community. In many communities, this requires that some trust be restored between police and the community. Meeting the requirements of the Department of Justice Consent decree is a good start, including the investments in technology, but also procedures for monitoring officer behavior and taking action when an officer breaks the law or department policy.
My approach to public safety doesn’t stop with police. As a public health professional I understand that public safety outcomes are a public health issue. At the root of my vision of building healthy communities is the idea that when people have stable housing, a good job, adequate schools, and thriving green spaces -- in short, when our communities are healthy -- public safety outcomes naturally follow.
EFFICIENT AND RESPONSIVE CITY SERVICES
Next, our city services should be efficient and responsive, and as your Councilwoman, I’ll work with agencies like DPW and also foster communication between the agencies to ensure that this is the case. When the streets aren’t getting paved, or the trash isn’t properly being picked up, or water leaks aren’t being repaired, the effect on quality of life is immediate. It’s important that agencies respond to community requests and take care of these issues quickly.
Efficient city services ensure that all communities are healthy. This includes not only services that the City provides directly, but also services like transportation. The City should be working with to make sure our transportation connections make sense, so people can get to work, school, the docdtor, and other important destinations. As your Councilwoman, I’ll make sure the Department of Transportation improves transportation connections in District 10.
Good schools are the cornerstone of healthy communities, especially community schools that are truly the heart of the community.
Baltimore City also has a number of community schools where programming is offered throughout the day and on the weekends so that the school becomes a true anchor of each community. By fostering partnerships, and connecting community members to a wide range of resources, the community schools model reflects exactly the kind of approach that builds healthy communities.
We must also fully fund our schools. Since funding and policy matters for our Baltimore City Public Schools are decided by the Governor and the General Assembly, my job as a City Councilwoman will be to be an active partner with the schools and District 10 and the state delegation to advocate for full funding. I’ll also advocate that Baltimore City increase its funding share for schools as well.
It’s critical that students get the support they need, from new classrooms that are heated in the winter and cooled in the summer, to adequate supplies, to support outside the classroom that enable students to focus on learning for the 8 hours they are at school.
Small businesses and living wage jobs make our neighborhoods strong. I will partner with small businesses and anchors like St. Agnes Hospital, Medstar Hospital, and Port Covington to increase investment in the community.
I’ll also focus on our neighborhood main streets in places like Morrell Park, Brooklyn/Curtis Bay, Cherry Hill, and Pigtown, where investments in streetscaping, transportation hubs, and programs like facade grants help to create thriving commercial communities just a short walk from where people live.
I’ll also be sure to work as an advocate with city and state agencies like housing, BDC, the Maryland Department of Commerce to make sure that government, entrepreneurs, and banks understand the opportunities available for economic growth in the 10th District.
ACCOUNTABILITY & TRANSPARENCY
Government must be accountable to the people, with decisions made in a fully transparent way, so that residents know how public funds are being spent, who is benefiting, and who is being left out. I will advocate for more audits, and more funding for Baltimore’s Office of the Inspector General and the Board of Ethics, and I’ll work with my colleagues on the Council to ensure that the Council is holding oversight hearings and asking the right questions.
I’ll also advocate that Baltimore renew its commitment to open data and programs like CitiStat that give the public more information on how government is performing. Similarly, I’ll work with community leaders to make sure that city agencies are responding to 311 and public information act (PIA) requests on time.
PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER
My policy vision for healthy communities is about understanding the connections between people and the impacts that programs, services, and resources have on them. From City Hall to the communities of District 10, to the businesses and anchor institutions of District 10, we all have a role to play. As your next District 10 Councilwoman, my goal will be to be a true partner in the work of #BuildingHealthyCommunities for all.