How we work together is as important as the local issues and public services we work on. My work style is pragmatic, inclusive, creative, and diligent.
In November 2022, I introduced an Accessory Dwelling Unit Ordinance amendment to our Zoning Ordinances. This proposal was built entirely on the great work coordinated over the course of 2021-2022 by Beverly’s Planning Department, the Metropolitan Area Planning Council, and an advisory group of stakeholders across the city. Read more about their work here and take a look at the draft ordinance introduced in November:
In June 2022, the City Council deliberated on the FY23 budget. Take a look at the budget book provided by the Mayor’s Office and the summary I created to help translate the budget book into graphics and analysis that would help us as Councilors, and residents and businesses across the city, understand how our tax dollars are spent:
Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging
One of my biggest priorities this year has been recruiting – and supporting to be successful – a more representative mix of residents in leadership roles through City Boards and Commissions. We’ve filled a large number of vacancies and are working to better publicize and streamline the process for appointment people to these roles.
I’ve also been supporting efforts to make Beverly’s diversity more visible, and our practices more welcoming. For example, after a proposal to include a Land Acknowledgement in the formal agenda of all regular City Council meetings failed in February 2022, I worked with Councilor Brendan Sweeney, Council President Julie Flowers, and Thomas Green of the Massachusett Tribe to introduce and unanimously pass a resolution acknowledging the past, present, and future of indigenous people in our community.
2021 Campaign Priorities
Equity & Sustainability
These are big buzzwords, but they are also big priorities. And they can be concrete projects, if we get past the rhetoric and focus on implementation. To me, these two issues cannot be separated. When we look at investing in what people need to thrive in Beverly and stay here for the long term, our plans must include both social and environmental sustainability.
As a Councilor, I will look at how city ordinances can prevent inequality and climate risks from growing in our city, and I will use the budget review process to ask city departments to describe the equity impacts of their proposals along with their plans to make our city more resilient (both physically resilient to the threats of climate change, and economically resilient to downturns).
Being a Business-friendly Community… for Community-friendly Businesses
Having studied and worked in economic development, I know that not all growth is good growth. We want to attract companies that want to be good neighbors. There are already great examples of community-friendly businesses in our city, and with so many of them hit hard by the pandemic, our city government needs to be doing all it can to keep them thriving here.
The City Council has an important role to play in ensuring that the incentives we as a city provide to entrepreneurs and established businesses encourage real partnerships. Our partnerships should provide benefits back to our whole community – through things like good jobs, local sourcing, environmentally-friendly business practices, training opportunities, and infrastructure upgrades.
I see the City Council as a forum for us as a city to set priorities. It’s a place to get clarity on the direction we want the city to move. Many of our biggest complaints and pain points around town seem to be about just not fully trusting that we’re being heard. We want to have a real say in things like when and how our roads get paved, what kinds of new housing and commercial development will go in, how we handle our trash/recycling/compost. There are some good recent examples of collecting public input and opening up a conversation more broadly, like the Master Plan community consultations, Resilient Together surveys, and community conversations on racism.
As a Councilor I will work to ensure that input is invited early enough to inform decisions, and that decisions are more clearly explained (including how public input was factored in). The City Council is not supposed to micromanage the work of city departments, but it does discuss priorities for those departments in open meetings so that residents can see what is happening, and I am committed to asking the right questions to help us set priorities together.
High-quality Public Services
The City Council is the front line of accountability for how well city departments provide the services that we need. We are lucky to have dedicated, skilled, caring staff across city departments whose work can and should be celebrated.
As a Councilor I will highlight their achievements and collaborate on getting them the funding and policy framework to do their best work. Like any city, we also have challenges, and areas where services fall short of residents’ expectations. For example, I’ve heard concerns about how our school and police departments are doing on inclusion; how responsive our public works department is to residents’ priorities; and whether the city could be doing more to secure competitive broadband internet options. In those areas, I will not be afraid of having tough conversations. I come to this role as a creative problem-solver, ready to work with anyone who wants make our community stronger.