District 9 – A Tale of Two Economies
District 9 represents extensive geography and a tale of two economies. The northern part of District 9 is a mix of affluent residential, commercial, and light industrial properties – including a very popular 9-hole golf course! The southern area includes underserved communities designated as Qualified Opportunity Zones (QOZ) through the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, an amazing program for underserved communities. Issues facing the economically diverse communities in District 9 may be different, but there are core problems facing all Atlantans that urgently need to be addressed.
Platform Issues – Public Safety
My number one priority is to make our neighborhoods and parks safer – crime is increasing in all areas of Atlanta, and it is time to get it under control. I will advocate and work to fully fund our police force and bring it back to the authorized strength of 2000 sworn officers – no more excuses are acceptable from the City of Atlanta. Sadly, Atlanta’s police force is almost 500 officers short of its goal. I also commit to holding monthly community engagement events with police officers, firefighters, and other community heroes to meet the people they serve. It’s time to bring our communities and heroes together!
My second number one priority is putting educational choices into the hands of the parents. Fulton County Schools spent almost $17,000 per student in 2020 – I had to take my son out of his school because it did not meet basic educational standards, so he is not getting any benefit from $17,000 of taxpayer money. School choice and allowing taxpayer funds to follow the child is imperative, and I will work tirelessly to make it happen.
Workforce development is critical to the health and revitalization of a community – it helps businesses thrive as well as empowers students who don’t follow the “college track”. I will partner with school administrators and local businesses to develop a workforce “pipeline” designed to meet the needs of community businesses. Local businesses will be tasked with identifying near-term and long-term workforce needs while school administrators will develop and provide vocational training opportunities to meet these needs.
The need for economic development and affordable housing along with housing blight are some of the most serious and critical issues for District 9. The southern area of District 9 is comprised of three federally designated Opportunity Zones; these are distressed communities that desperately need attention. The Opportunity Zone economic tool provides tax incentives to investors in order to spur development. As part of this initiative, I will work to protect and re-vitalize single-family homes in a manner that preserves neighborhood character and maintains current zoning. Food deserts are also a common problem in District 9 and will be the main focus in re-development.
Roads and Infrastructure
Like the rest of Atlanta, roads and infrastructure in District 9 have mostly been neglected. I will prioritize District 9 specific funds to address urgent needs like increasing numbers of street lights that are a great way to deter crime.
Atlanta is a beautiful, vibrant city that has experienced tremendous growth over the last few decades - many people have moved here, businesses have moved here, and the movie industry is thriving here. These are wonderful accomplishments, but there are serious issues that have been neglected.
I am strongly committed to developing a deep, grassroots understanding of the issues that are important to District 9 constituents and prioritizing District 9 specific funds to meet the needs of the people.
And these are just some of the issues, we have a great city, but we need someone at city hall to pay attention to details that have been overlooked for the last few decades. We have got to move this city forward together, I will be committed to you, and I also need you to be committed to me.