My family’s roots run deep in Royal Oak. I was born and raised here. As a kid, I played in the Royal Oak Youth Soccer Association and what was then known as the Royal Oak Baseball Federation. I attended public schools in Royal Oak and graduated from Dondero High School before attending Oakland University.
Serving the community has been an important part of my life. For the last five years I have had the privilege to work for Congressman Sandy Levin. My primary function has been to help veterans and military service members get the benefits to which they are entitled for their service. Additionally, my role as Community Liaison has allowed me to work closely with Community Anti-Drug Coalitions and Youth Assistance committees in the area.
I am an active member of groups such as the Royal Oak Inter-Club Council and Royal Oak Progress, a monthly meeting of city leaders hosted by the Chamber of Commerce. I am also a member of the Chamber of Commerce and the Woodward Avenue Action Association. I currently serve as a Precinct Delegate for Royal Oak’s 24th Precinct. And recently I was appointed to serve on the Royal Oak Planning Commission by Mayor Jim Ellison.
I am sharing my experience in the community to give you a sense of where I am coming from and why I want to serve as City Commissioner.
Royal Oak’s central location on the Woodward corridor and its vibrant, thriving downtown make the city an asset not only to its residents, but to the entire metro Detroit region. The Farmers Market and Arts, Beats & Eats bring hundreds of thousands of people to our city every year. Great events like the Outdoor Art Fair, the Clay, Glass & Metal Show and Royal Oak In Bloom bring thousands more annually.
Last year a public safety millage was passed that will help fund adequate staffing levels in the Police and Fire Departments. The city has partnered with the School District to install a fiber optic network that will reduce operating costs for both. A non-motorized vehicle plan was passed that will allow Royal Oak to become a walkable, pedestrian-friendly destination for everyone – whether they’re driving cars, riding their bikes, or walking. A number of projects have been proposed that will help enhance the landscape of our downtown. And, after many years of decline, home values in the city are beginning to improve.
While our city has a lot going for it, this is a critical time for Royal Oak.
Basic city services beyond public safety are at risk because of cuts in revenue sharing from the State. The Personal Property Tax, another important source of revenue for municipalities, was eliminated by the state legislature without a firm plan to replace the lost funding. There is a non-discrimination ordinance on the ballot that, if it fails, will allow residents to be discriminated against on the basis of age, gender, height, weight, sexual orientation and pregnancy status.
We need to continue the work of moving the city forward and rededicate ourselves to the future of Royal Oak. We need to invest in our neighborhoods to keep them strong and safe. We need to responsibly grow our downtown in a way that will keep young people and families in the city and attract those who live elsewhere to move here. We need to continue to provide excellent city services so those moving here – and those already here – will stay and invest in their homes and the community. And while doing this, we need to keep the traits that have made Royal Oak such a great place to live.
Royal Oak’s challenges – and opportunities – lead me to want to continue to serve our community, but in a different way – representing you on the City Commission.
I can’t do this without your support.
[updated Friday, August 02, 2013]