1. What is the most important issue affecting District 1 in particular? How would you fix it?
The most important issue in District 1 varies depending on who I’m hearing from – whether it’s the completion of the park at the former Rodney dorm site, how best to address downtown parking concerns, or the impact of upcoming development projects, among others. So, I believe ongoing communication and actively seeking input and feedback from residents regarding the issues most important to them will be a critical component to successfully representing my neighbors and tackling the issues facing our community.
2. How should the city spend the $18 million it is receiving from the American Rescue Plan Act? Please be specific.
The City is doing the right thing in better understanding the restrictions associated with the ARPA funding. They have shared a number of potential projects that would have a positive, long-term impact on our community, including several infrastructure-related efforts. While I would wait for definitive direction and guidance on what is allowable, I would support using the ARPA funding to address the infrastructure-related projects as a way to fast-track efforts that otherwise may take years and impact local tax rates.
3. As council prepares to re-examine the zoning code for the downtown district, what changes, if any, do you believe are necessary? Would you support imposing a moratorium on new projects until that zoning review is complete?
With respect to downtown development, my neighbors tell me it’s important that we maintain the charm and feel of a small downtown community yet be responsive to economic development opportunities that make Newark an inviting place for residents and businesses. Our zoning code should clearly reflect that and, based on recent projects brought before Council, there are opportunities to improve that language. I think changes could be made to provide stricter guidelines on building height and improve the correlation between building density and parking requirements. I support Council’s recent directive to conduct a community-wide engagement process to determine what enhancements and edits should be made to zoning ordinances and look forward to being part of those conversations. Council voted unanimously to not impose a moratorium on new projects while they re-examine the zoning code for the downtown district and I support that decision.
4. What qualities or skills make you uniquely qualified to serve on council?
I have more than twenty years of progressive leadership growth through my career with M. Davis that has strengthened my ability to collaborate and communicate with people who have different ideologies, backgrounds and skill sets. Community engagement is also a passion of mine, and I’ve volunteered with several non-profit organizations I believe in. But at the core – as a mom of two young boys, I have a vested interest in the long-term success and vitality of Newark. I want them to continue to grow-up in a community that is safe, financially stable and vibrant and am willing to be actively involved in ensuring that is possible.
5. Do you believe Councilman Horning did a good job representing District 1? What about his tenure as a councilman would you seek to change and/or replicate?
I was actively involved in Councilman Horning’s initial campaign because I believed he was a strong candidate who would best represent our District and his actions in office confirmed those beliefs. One of his strongest traits as a council person was his open and ongoing communication with residents. I plan to continue that effort and welcome feedback on other ways residents would feel more informed and engaged.
6. Name one specific piece of legislation you would like to see council pass within the first three months of your term.
Discussions on the long-term economic vitality of Newark remind me of statewide efforts nearly a decade ago to understand what barriers existed to prevent companies from forming or growing their businesses in Delaware. I think similar efforts specific to Newark could help us learn how we can attract or retain businesses that would contribute to smart economic development. I wouldn’t expect legislation specific to this to pass within the first three months, but I’d be interested in starting a conversation and hearing the perspective of other council members.