High Point is an amazing city with a rich history in furniture and textiles, bus manufacturing, music, arts, and theater. People travel from all over the world to buy furniture, attend the John Coltrane Festival, see performances at the High Point Theater, and visit our new ballpark. It is home to more than 112k people with very different perspectives about growth, opportunities, and the quality of life. We are making great strides in improving our downtown area and I was one of the original committee members who pushed for the new ballpark. While this is a great attraction to our city, we have more work to do in other areas of our city.
Poverty & Homelessness:
We must work to eradicate poverty by creating jobs, increasing minimum wage above the current $7.25 per hour, supporting pay equity, and improving employee benefits and incentives. There is no where you can afford to live earning wages below the market housing rates.
We should not have people unable to work due to lack of transportation. Our buses currently operate from around 6:00 am-6:00 pm and we need to expand hours to 12 midnight to accommodate second shift workers. Every bus stop should have seating, an awning, cameras, and a call box that's monitored during bus hours of operation to maintain safety and efficiency. No one should feel unsafe riding public transportation. We should also encourage our residents to consider public transportation realizing that its less expensive than car ownership and better for the environment.
Education & Skill Development:
I do not support separating High Point City Schools from the Guilford County School System. Our schools spill over into four counties (Guilford, Forsyth, Davidson, and Randolph). I would come to the table and sit down with School Leaders to learn how we can work together to best serve the needs of all students. It would be a heavy tax burden to the citizens of High Point to run our own school system. We should support the School Superintendent and Board of Education Members vision for our schools by working with our Board of County Commissioners to provide the funding requested for school improvement. Our teachers, administrators, bus drivers, cafeteria workers, office support team, maintenance and custodial staff, and volunteers work hard everyday to provide the best educational resources and character development to our students and it shouldn't take a study to tell us that. We also need to return vocational training to all of our schools to ensure students leave high school with a trade. There are employers seeking qualified employees with certifications in shop, automotive, computer technology, culinary arts, plumbing, electricians, etc.
Reducing Crime & Violence:
The key to reducing crime and violence is to reduce poverty. When people feel they have been shut out and left out of equitable access to earning livable wages, lack access to public transportation that takes riders to rural areas for jobs with hours of operation to accommodate work schedules, are not recipients of neighborhood revitalization projects, minimal community policing occurs where the officers have a relationship with residents and vehicle patrol inside high crime areas is around the clock, among many other concerns, then other options become the norm-drug/opioid addictions and dealing, gun violence, gang initiations and memberships, etc. We have a responsibility to change that for the sake of everyone's safety.
Economic & Community Development:
We must improve the living standards for all our residents in all zip codes. We have a great economic divide in the city of High Point that can be seen by driving from one side of town to the other. Each ward tells its own story and the experience you're having can be far different than others depending on where you live. There are pockets of High Point that's thriving with economic growth and opportunity and there are other parts of town that is deeply impoverished. We need to revitalize under served communities, provide educational programs on home ownership and home improvement, enhance city services, and develop housing and residential plans to keep our communities clean, etc.
We can achieve improvements in all these areas but it will take a Mayor who sees this as a priority. I believe everyone is equally important and deserves the best for their families. When one citizen is in need, we have to treat that the same as our own needs. Together we can make High Point a wonderful place to live for all of its citizens.