Public Safety is my number one focus. I have worked with UNC Chapel Hill students on a capstone project collecting data regarding crime, researching how other national and statewide communities and police interact, discovering successful initiatives on how to differentiate violent offenders from those suffering mental health crises, the overall impact of mental health on our crime statistics and diving deep into analytics to predict crime areas. We are now implementing many on these initiatives now in Rocky Mount.
Our median household income is about $40,000 per year. This number is approximately $20,000 below the statewide median. We have to do better!
I have taken the initiative to talk to our largest employers, as well as companies looking to relocate to Rocky Mount, and these are the challenges they are facing (that are not necessarily unique to Rocky Mount):
- Low educational achievement, meaning we need to improve the high school graduation rate,
- Unreliable job attendance, most likely related to unstable transportation and childcare issues, and
- Our political environment.
Other input from existing area businesses is that they have the jobs, but they do not have the skilled labor force to fill them. I am working with other Rocky Mount leaders to train our unemployed in the skills needed to fill available jobs.
These are all things we can change together. Let’s invest in job training!
The heartbeat of any city is its downtown and it is the first place any new business looking to relocate visits. Ours must become an economic engine of entrepreneurs, artists, thriving businesses, downtown residents who support those businesses—all wrapped in the historic architecture of our buildings. Busy downtowns mean growth!
After much research and many conversations, I will launch an initiative this Fall in Rocky Mount that embraces the Obama Foundation’s My Brother and Sisters Keeper program that aims to increase the number of youths of color who have access to the tools and opportunities needed to reach their full potential.
Until every child in Rocky Mount graduates from high school, Rocky Mount will not reach its full potential.
It truly takes a village to raise our children. Please join me in strengthening education in Rocky Mount!
Blight leads to crime and the breakdown of our neighborhoods. The City must find a way to speed up the foreclosure process and take over or sell these homes or turn them into affordable housing. Everyone needs a safe, clean place to live!
Affordable housing has more to do with the median household income than the cost of the housing. But it also has to do with housing that is available. And I have heard you—we need good jobs that pay a good wage so people can afford housing. Higher median incomes help our citizens afford housing.
We also have a shortage of good housing to offer. Fortunately, residential real estate developers also see this need and are starting to focus on Rocky Mount for investment. We welcome their investment into our communities.
Redevelopment in blighted areas can be a place where home ownership is promoted and enabled. Gentrification can be harnessed in a way that keeps ownership within the community and allows current homeowners to participate in gains in housing values.
I support the City’s Affordable Housing efforts 100%!