The primary reason I am running for Alderman At-Large Post 1 is because I want to help the city I grew up in and love, Savannah, Georgia.
Having once served and protected this country, I live every day with the perspective of being a U.S. veteran. As the national economy worsens, one of the groups affected most are the women and men that have served in the U.S. military. By highlighting the outreach programs established for veterans in Savannah, City Council could help connect more veterans with the resources they need. This goes beyond just health care services, but also any transportation needed to attend appointments or to provide support for those that qualify for benefits, but are not receiving any. We should be ensuring that these programs are receiving the necessary grants and funding, as this would also help combat homelessness and drug addiction, and help bolster mental health care services within our city.
As a former educator and parent with the Savannah Chatham County Public School Systems, I have had a unique insight into education in our city. There should be more collaboration with the City of Savannah and SCCPSS to create opportunities for students year-round. A key example is effectively utilizing vacant school buildings during the summer. With the help of the City Council, there could be an influx of accessible summer programs for all students, ranging from sports to academic tutoring that would ensure retention over the summer. This could also take advantage of technology, with online programs which could foster cultural immersion or encourage reading.
The Law Enforcement Agencies within Savannah are on the front lines, attempting to protect the lives of residents, parents, and students from illegal drugs, human trafficking, and gun violence. Through the insight I gained as both a Resource Officer for the Board of Education, as well as a Public Enforcement Officer for the Savannah Chatham Metropolitan Police Department, I have recognized some of the limitations as well as possible countermeasures for law enforcement in our city. First, officers should be trained on the evolving drug scene and habits within our community. Second, residents should be more informed about human trafficking and how to identify victims. Additionally, there needs to be a bigger push to combat gun violence. As a community, we need to be pressing our State Legislature to ban assault weapons and to raise the age to buy weapons as a start.
This city, one that I have been a resident of for over 50 years, has experienced a significant amount of growth. However, this development has been unbalanced throughout Savannah and Chatham County. A proposal to help this community is the establishment of a Neighborhood Bill of Rights. This would be an impactful and dynamic way to ensure equal access for all. The Bill of Rights would consist that each neighborhood would have access to grocery stores, banking, medical facilities, and well-maintained streets. A Neighborhood Bill of Rights would help eliminate deserts and inequality in Savannah.
To answer the question: Why run? My answer is simple: Why Not.