Latest in a series of posts on candidates for election
selections from Nate Jastrzemski, “Mayor primary candidates Q&A.” Bethlehem Press, May 12, 2021.
What challenges do you most want to tackle and why?
Growing and supporting a fair, firm and responsive police force and ensuring excellent fire and EMS services are a very high priority for me.
Improving public infrastructure and facilities such as streets, parks and trails is also important, and preventive maintenance saves costs in the long run.
Finally, my middle-class background has primed me to find solutions to the affordable housing issue, and to limit gentrification.
The pandemic made clear that there are systemic problems in our city involving affordable housing, homelessness and economic insecurity. We need to solve these problems as a community. We must bring together our school district, nonprofit sector, affected residents, and social service providers to build better systems.
I am also looking forward to mobilizing our residents to help city hall prioritize investments in our neighborhoods. Our Northside 2027 initiative gives us a blueprint for how to bring together families, small businesses, institutions and service providers to improve our neighborhoods and our quality of life. I plan a similar initiative for the west side of Bethlehem to go along with our current Northside 2027 and Southside Vision 2024 plans.
We also have to continue our economic redevelopment and revitalization. The former Bethlehem Steel site has seen incredible progress but hundreds of acres remain unused or underutilized. We need to work to attract family-sustaining jobs to the rest of the site. Our economic revitalization has allowed us to avoid the economic peril and difficult choices that other cities have had to face.