Our lives are defined by how we react to challenges, and in those challenges, we come across a few where action can change the world around us. I’ve been fortunate enough to have taken advantage of that opportunity twice in my life so far, first as a member of the military and as a teacher. There is no greater honor than to wear the uniform in service to our country, and the pride I carry with me from that time in my life cannot be touched by any force. My experiences as a teacher and veteran is why I decided to run for mayor of South Bend. As any veteran will tell you, one's service doesn't end because the uniform is no longer worn. Rather, it is an oath that you are never relieved from fulfilling. I hear my community calling, and I’m willing to answer once again.
Addressing the safety of our streets is a priority, and one of the key reasons I am running for mayor. The statistics are plain to see; South Bend is a dangerous city according to many different measures. In 2018, South Bend trailed Indianapolis by only 300 violent crimes according to the FBI, yet Indy’s population is nearly 8 times larger. The opium epidemic coupled with other dangerous drugs and gang activity requires extraordinary steps. I want to be a conduit for cooperation across the board for law enforcement operating in our region. Building the trust required for various agencies to share information & coordinate action in the effort of keeping us safe is my goal. Regardless of the agency or any individual, we must look at this entire region as interconnected and after the same thing: ridding our home of violent crime and drugs. Additionally, I want to address this problem at clinical level. Building a partnership with local universities & businesses to create a full detox and mental health facility in pursuit of the goal of treatment can also increase the likelihood of success in decreasing crime overall and creating a safer city.
The economy is tied to infrastructure and its maintenance is critical to bringing jobs and property values up. It doesn't matter who you are or what side of town you live on, the roads are horrible. The simple truth is nobody wants to take a business worth a small fortune and relocate or expand to a city where the roads are filled with pots holes that cause thousands of dollars in damage every year to vehicles. Job creators will not move into a city where the roads are so bad that they decrease the property values of the homes in front of them. The importance of our roads cannot be understated and their condition has a trickle down effect on other aspects of the economy. Our residents too, will benefit from a focus on quality infrastructure improvements. The focus on fixing the sewers, roads and sidewalks will improve resident's property values over the long term and create revenue to maintain them. As mayor of South bend this will be my top priority.
Probably the most critical aspect that binds all of these needs of the city together is education. In service to this community as a teacher in South Bend’s alternative school for nearly 3 years, I was witness to the issues facing our students. Our young people are the future of this city and we need to do more for them to not only be successful after they graduate, but also help them see the importance of a high school education so they can pass that on to their children. A cultural shift is necessary to recognize that continued education leads to increased economic prosperity, less crime and a safer city. This must not however, get mistakenly linked with the idea that every student should go to college, I could not disagree with that statement more. I did not attend college after high school because I was not ready, one of the few self-aware moments of my youth. There are so many opportunities open to students with a high school diploma, and a focus on high skilled job preparation is one area I see room for improving the options of students who don’t see college as their initial path after high school. Community partnerships between the School Board, schools, the city, private business and unions can all contribute to the transformation of our city through a shared community goal of empowering our students.
Lifelong residents of this community still gather around and listen to our grandparents tell us the stories of what it was like when the city of South Bend was bursting with economic growth. Families flocked downtown to visit the department stores, and maybe check out the latest movie from Hollywood at the State Theater. The excitement they showed when telling us about the grand spotlights that Studebaker would use to flood the sky with light when revealing their latest models always created a great sense of pride in South Bend for me. The South side on Miami street once bustled with businesses & entertainment, claiming small city status simply through their prosperity. School Field & local gyms once commanded the attention of our community because of the pride people had in just being from South Bend. It was the shared belief of continued growth and development of the city that drove progress. Some act as if South Bend cannot return to its place as an economic hub of activity, but I believe that this city has the potential to be the leader of Indiana's economy. The same way we fueled the settling of our frontier nearly 200 years ago, we can chart a path for South Bend to be at the forefront of economic growth & prosperity for our state.
So how do we do this? We start by fixing the issues that cause companies to look and pass on south bend. There are three key issues we have to fix before we can attract more businesses to the city of South Bend: Infrastructure, violent crime, and our education system. Tackling these three issues will have the desired effect of making our city more attractive to growing businesses who bring good paying jobs. Raising our median income from $19,000/year to $34,000/year is attainable, but we need to reach for closer to $39K to truly address the wage gap across all fronts and be competitive for prospective businesses & residents
AS Mayor of south bend This is the legacy we can leave South Bend: A service first government focused on cooperation in what is best for the people regardless of political affiliation. With your support, we will begin the long overdue work of bringing South Bend back to the forefront of the national discussion on how a city should be managed to ensure prosperity for all its citizens.
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