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 would be your short-term goals in office? Long-term?
Short term, I intend to reconstitute the department of Parks and Recreation; more attention and better maintenance need to be given to our green spaces. I’ll create the position of sustainability coordinator within that department to begin addressing environmental issues in Bethlehem.
I also plan to move the day-to-day operation of the Bethlehem Parking Authority into a Department of Parking so that it is more responsive to residents.
I will establish a Small Business Concierge to directly assist existing and new businesses. My mayor’s office will be bilingual, and I will advance an ordinance that closes the window of opportunity for the use of consumer grade fireworks.
Long term, I’ll be vigilant about diversity within city hall and on authorities, boards and commissions that are under my aegis to populate. I’ll also be firm but fair with developers – which is why I am not taking any contributions from the major developers. Projects will stand on their own merits, and not be rewards for contributions.
The first priority for my administration would be to focus on our city’s recovery from the pandemic. The past year has upended our community in many ways and we need to emerge from the pandemic as a stronger and more vibrant city. Since the Steel closed, we have attracted new businesses and jobs and we must continue to do that. We must invest in our downtown commercial areas, our neighborhood and our community organizations that define who we are. Investments in affordable housing, expanding economic opportunities for all of our residents, and improving our already high quality of life are all vital as well if we want to build a city that works for everyone.