"These are the main issues I care about. These are the issues that are driving my desire to be a Lawrence City Commissioner."
Well managed economic growth is vital for the future of Lawrence. We need to build our tax base and develop additional sources of revenue. Business retention and expansion is the foundation of effective economic development. A large focus of our city should be towards utilizing the components of visitation, surveys, and networking to help the retention and expansion of current businesses. There is no better recruitment tool for new businesses than to show them a city that is thriving through economic vitality, social cohesion, and sustainability. And I strongly believe those three things are not mutually exclusive. The specific issues I have outlined below are all part of a process towards a better economy and a better community.
We need to start the process of building a center that could host conventions and conferences. Lawrence is losing far too many dollars to neighboring cities because we don’t have the facilities needed to host conferences or conventions.
I want to make sure we are doing enough to encourage entrepreneurs to start their businesses in Lawrence. Let’s make sure there are mentorship programs, adequate resources, revolving loan funds, philanthropic funds, and scholarships available. Young companies are critical to overall job creation. Companies less than one year old have created an average of 1.5 million jobs per year over the last 30 years. According to the National Bureau of Economic Research, these start-ups account for 20% of gross job creation. Let’s do some asset management at KU. Let’s make sure graduates are starting and growing their business here. Let’s recruit more start-ups to come to Lawrence. The best signs of an economically successful town are 1) a strong number of start-ups, and 2) the expansion of current businesses. Let’s work towards that.
The arts play a vital role in the identity of Lawrence. I would continue to support funding to the arts. I also look forward to finally seeing the redesign of 9th street finally come to fruition. Let us also not forget that supporting the arts not only strengthens the identity of Lawrence, but also helps the economy. The arts and entertainment sector is the third largest industry sector in the Lawrence economy. It is important that we continue to foster an environment that provides emerging artists with the business skills and entrepreneurship training they need to develop economic security and thrive as creative entrepreneurs.
According to a report by Neilsen and BoomAgers, Boomers represent 44% of the population and hold almost 70% of US disposable income. In fact, Boomers dominate purchases in 119 of 123 of total consumer-packaged goods, which means they have the money to spend. And if retiree’s want intergenerational living, walkability, and access to nature, Lawrence needs to put a more conscious effort on housing that attracts, retirees. Affordable and age friendly housing can go hand in hand.
The Peaslee Technical Training Center was one of the most important recent additions to the city of Lawrence. We need to continue to fund and encourage technical and vocational training for Lawrence. The per capita median income of Douglas County is ranked in the 90s out of 105 counties in Kansas. There is a strong correlation between proportion of technical and vocational education students and per capita income. Therefore, a stronger focus on technical and vocational education is vital for Lawrence.
Walkability & Bike Lanes
I’ve always been a believer in New Urbanism. Specifically we need to look at our infrastructure downtown. I’d like to see Lawrence put an emphasis on walkability and bike lanes.
Transparency and open communication should be a goal of any public servant. As someone who has their PhD in communication, I will make sure that every issue, every argument, and every decision is clearly communicated. My promise is this: I will listen to you. YOU’LL BE HEARD.