The Importance of Public Schools
I have been an active member in our public schools from the time my oldest began attending Crocker Farm in 2010. I have supported various fundraisers at our schools, volunteered for the Multicultural night at Wildwood Elementary, and have served on various committees during the past 8 years. Like many in town, I have children and we all know how important childcare and early childhood education is to the development of our children. Because of this, I believe in providing universal preschool to all Amherst residents and will work to achieve this goal. I believe there’s a way we can make it happen thought collaboration and smart decision making.
One of the greatest gifts my family ever received while living in Amherst was the opportunity to attend Crocker Farm Preschool. It was through being a part of the community that I first began to understand the meaning of community and inclusiveness. After transitioning from the military, I felt at home for once in my life, a feeling that remains today.
I also believe that our children deserve quality environments for learning. I will support the building of new schools. Realistically, Amherst cannot afford to let another $30 million pass us by. We need to listen to what our citizens want and in the case of the school building project, they want new, modern schools that allow teachers to do their jobs and children to learn in the environment that they deserve. I will advocate to make sure that we do not loose out on millions in state funding and promise to consider any school plan on its merits.
Construction of a New Fire House
Another issue that requires the attention of the new town council is the construction of a new fire house in south Amherst. Yes, it may cost millions to complete this project, but the lives of our citizens have no price tag. Everyone across our town deserves to have the peace of mind that they can receive help within minutes. Whether it is a fire, medical emergency, or a break-in we need to make sure our citizens are protected. I will be an advocate for a new fire house. In 2013, I rented a house on Bay Road on the border of Amherst and Belchertown and faced a small brush fire right outside of my house that was rapidly spreading. It took the fire department over 25 minutes to get to my house. If the fire had been inside my house, I could have lost my life. 25 minutes is just too long to wait for public safety.
Broadening the Tax Base
I will support the expansion of Amherst’s economic development to broaden the tax base in a manner that supports the values of our citizens. First we need to review current policies pertaining to inspections, housing development, and commercial development in Amherst and make sure it aligns with the will of the people. Homeowners should not have to bear the entire tax burden of large scale projects that are a necessity, such as new schools and a new fire station, so the town council needs to support smart development in line with the values of Amherst.
Organization of the New Town Council
One of the first tasks that needs to be completed is to elect a president and vice president who put the interests of Amherst citizens first and share our values. The new council also needs to set up the rules that will govern the town council with a collaborative spirit. I believe that the rules of the town council will set the tone and be a blueprint for the new town council for years to come and I will not take this task lightly. The town council needs to establish checks and balances such as a system to oversee town manager appointments. One of the ongoing challenges will be open and honest conversations about any issues that arise in our new government, both within the town council and throughout the community. A collaborative spirit will be needed to set a positive tone on the town council while also enhancing the communication between a diverse mix of citizens from around the globe and their government officials. A vital step in establishing a transparent new form of government will be to educate our citizens on the various policies and regulations being considered by the council. This is vital to the culture and sustainability of our town.