Latest in a series of posts on candidates for election
Tip o’ the hat to Lehigh Valley for All for convening the mayoral candidates April 6 for a bit of the back and forth. Gadfly will spin out the various pieces of their interchange over the next week or so, beginning here with their introductory remarks. Best to listen to the audio; the text is not an exact transcription.
The only question that really matters in America right now is are you supportive of the changing identity of America. Our campaign is building momentum every day because of our commitment to building a more inclusive, vibrant, and equitable city. We have a chance coming out of the pandemic to invest, fix, and build better systems. During the pandemic so many of our systems failed, whether or not it was healthcare, or economics, or our educational systems. We have a sense of optimism right now, an opportunity to see what is possible throughout the Lehigh Valley. In Bethlehem we’ve been building those systems for several years, our Climate Action Plan, our Northside 2027 initiative, which has just recently gotten the addition of the Bethlehem Food Co-Op, and our commitment to expanding high-speed internet are just a few. Our campaign last week announced the endorsements of my great friends Grace Crampsie Smith and Dr. Van Wirt. They both commented to me that the reason whey they were supporting our campaign was because of our ability to build multi-class and multi-racial coalitions in our community and how this moment demands that kind of coalition and leadership. This momentum is not just because of my candidacy. We have wonderful candidates running for City Council as well. For the first time in January we are going to have a majority City Council. I’m excited to work with them. I’m excited for their support for my campaign. Bethlehem has always been a great place to live, work, and raise a family, and we have a vision to make our city more inclusive, equitable, and sustainable.
My integrity is not for sale. I have not sought nor would I accept endorsements from sitting elective officials because of the inside political dynamics that come with them. I also have not sought nor am I accepting contributions from the major developers who regularly do business in Bethlehem. I want economic development projects to stand on their own merit not the size of campaign contributions. I feel Bethlehem needs a comprehensive ethics ordinance. If we learned anything from what happened in Allentown, we’ve got to move in that direction. Of course, I’ve had many years experience in city government in a variety of capacities. I’ve managed both large and small staffs. I’ve budgeted. I intend to re-establish the Department of Parks and Recreation to better maintain and enhance our parks and facilities. I’ve been a small business owner for 17 years. And I intend to support the small business community by creating a one-stop shop. My mayor’s office will be bilingual and will include a community outreach position. And I will continue open office hours for the mayor. Affordable housing is something very near and dear to me When I managed as grants administrator the federal Community Development Block and Home grant program, we created a number of ideas and programs to address that, and to this day I work for a non-profit affordable housing group. I’m a strong component of community policing and providing the most up-to-date training. I will implement a zero-tolerance policy for bullying and intimidation, and discriminatory words and actions for city employees. I’ll look for the best and most diverse applicants for city positions as well as appointments to city authorities, boards, and commissions. I’m an environmental activist, member of the Sierra Club and Hawk Mountain Sanctuary, and I hike, I bike. I think there are a number of things we can do to address the environmental impact of vehicles and development where it impacts traffic, air quality, carbon footprint, diesel idling, etc. I will remain an independent political influence, seek to serve residents first, and bring a lifetime of government and small business experience to the mayor’s office and hit the ground running.