I've centered my campaign around 4 core values: balance, accessibility and transparency, fiscal responsibility and focused people and environmentally
Our current City administration consists of a Republican Mayor and of our 9 councilors, 8 are Republican, a supermajority.
With one party control, the Council has often acted as a rubber stamp rather than a check and balance. Even when a few Republican councilors have challenged the majority, there have not been enough opponents to moderate decisions.
This election represents the first time ALL of Carmel has had a choice for Council between Republicans and Democrats at the November ballot - this is democracy in action.
I believe that a more balanced Council will promote debate and compromise, which will lead to more thoughtful decisions which are in the best interest of ALL Carmel.
TRANSPARENCY & ACCESSIBILITY
We elect representatives to speak for us, but they cannot speak UP for us unless they first LISTEN to us; to what we believe and what we need from our Council. In my opinion, the most basic responsibility of a City Councilor is to be accessible to their constituents. Once elected, I will hold regular ‘office hours’ across the City where residents can come to me with their concerns and I will listen to them. I pledge to respond to all emails or phone calls within 48 hours.
Transparency is important as it builds trust, and reassures citizens that their representatives are working in their best interest. As I research issues before the Council, and consult with experts, I will keep the best interest of our City in the forefront at all times and be clear about whose opinions and assistance I have sought.
The Council should be as transparent as possible with its constituents. Barring confidentiality and privacy concerns, all documentation should be available for residents to review and FOIA requests should be prioritized. As public servants, the interest of those we serve should always be paramount.
The core responsibility of a local council is to balance the budget. However, fiscal responsibility goes way beyond this basic premise.
A local council’s revenues are predominantly provided by taxpayers, both residential and commercial. The Council spends taxpayers’ - our - money. This adds an extra layer of responsibility, and a duty to spend wisely, for the benefit of as many City residents as possible.
The city needs to better differentiate between investment and spending . A new roundabout is infrastructure investment; funding a Palladium concert for the deputy mayor of a sister city is spending. Going forward, investment should be prioritized , and wasteful spending minimized, while adequately funding the essential services of a city, e.g. Police and Fire Departments.
Carmel has a much larger commercial tax base (60%) than neighboring communities, for example Westfield, whose tax base is only 10% commercial. This allows Carmel to pursue ambitious projects to improve the quality of life for our residents, for example the Center for the Performing Arts, or Midtown Plaza.
Fiscal responsibility does not mean hoarding money in case of a rainy day. Of course, cities should have a rainy day fund, as Carmel does, and the COVID-19 pandemic showed us exactly why this is vital. A City’s responsibility is to invest wisely in projects that truly improve quality of life.
Carmel has a thriving economy with 140+ corporate headquarters. These businesses are the economic engine that drives the City. If we are to continue to attract these employers, the City needs to be an attractive place to live, work and play for talented employees, especially those in the tech industries.
These employees are seeking a City with excellent schools, top notch parks and amenities, and a City where everyone is welcome, included and heard.
It is fiscally responsible for our City and Council to continue to invest in quality of life projects to lure businesses here, so that our economic engine continues to grow.
PEOPLE & ENVIRONMENTALLY FOCUSED
Carmel should be a City where ALL people can thrive. For residents to thrive there are some vital components. Citizens need an income to provide shelter and food. Incomes are created by a strong, varied local economy. Equally importantly, everyone needs clean air, water and an inhabitable planet to thrive, regardless of income level. Climate change threatens our very survival, and the ability for people to access clean water, breathe healthy air and live in tolerable temperatures is crucial if people are to thrive in Carmel.
Our Council has the power to make bold decisions which mitigate climate change and prioritize the best interests of Carmel’s residents. I will commit to making climate change a key consideration in ALL my decisions when elected, to allow Carmel to reach Net Zero by 2050.