As an advocate I try to help the people who need it most – giving a voice to those who aren’t being heard. How can I make a positive impact at the local level – where is there room for improvement? For me, an easy answer is our education system.
As of last fall, Henrico county’s per-pupil funding was 9% below pre-recession levels. We can do better, and as a board member I promise to do what I can to increase funding. Availability and access to resources matter. I’ve seen first-hand the lengths that teachers are willing to go, so that our children feel safe and cared for. When there aren’t enough supplies, teachers find a way. When there aren’t enough textbooks, teachers find a way. When there aren’t enough seats in the classroom, teachers find a way. Our teachers are the frontline and our children are the future, they deserve our support.
Districting and zoning policies also have an immediate impact on what schooling options are available – right now pre-k is not offered at every school, so some kids are starting from square one with a disadvantage. We need universal pre-k – this shouldn’t be a function of which neighborhood a kid’s parents live in.
The basic needs of a classroom are not always being met, and that’s not ok. It’s time to fix it.
Growth is inevitable. It’s happening here in Henrico County – and that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Development brings jobs and value – infrastructure and convenience. We just need to make sure that every decision is made with our community’s best interests in mind, not just profitability for developers.
Urban sprawl and unregulated growth can cause serious problems – and right now under Virginia law, there are limits on what local governments can do to control development activity and growth. That’s why when developers come to us with proposals, we have to be willing to work with them. If the Board of Supervisors tries to block growth, developers will just develop by right – not necessarily working with us to make sure that our neighbors are actually benefiting.
We need representatives at the local level that really understand the needs of our community. A proposed housing development may create a need for more roads, or a school, or a grocery store. When I’m on the board I will work tirelessly WITH developers to make sure those needs are met before I give my support.
Smart growth isn’t just about finance and infrastructure, there are also huge environmental impacts that need to be taken into consideration. Intentional, well thought out growth is paramount to leaving behind a better Henrico for our children.