“Everyone who graduates from WHS should be able to afford living here…”
Affordability is a broad topic, one that either helps a community prosper or smothers its long-term sustainability. Right now, Westerly shares a common affordability dilemma with our nation as a whole: housing has become the least affordable part of people’s lives. In Westerly, we’ve been under developing for years, and as a result we are facing an all-time low on housing stock. Housing prices have caused a local affordability crisis, and residents who lived here most of their lives are being forced to move to surrounding communities instead of contributing to their hometown.
Let’s make Westerly affordable for its residents, its high school graduates, its retirees. Let’s use areas that are already developed appropriately and learn from them, focusing on mixed-use development to create aesthetically pleasing and affordable housing on the upper floors of retail shops, restaurants, and other commercial properties.
“I want to get families involved in the education system. In order to do that, we have to give them something back for their investment of time, attention, and effort.”
Our current capital investments in education are insufficient for the 21st century. Our teachers are underpaid, our schools need improvement, and we have significant disagreement on how to teach controversial subject matter in the classroom. I want to bring people into the educational political system, involving families and other community stakeholders so that we have the votes to pass a school bond and invest in our kids’ education.
We must have communication, understanding, and family involvement if we are going to provide a level of education to set our children up for success. We must pass a school bond that responsibly addresses our needs. And we must pay our teachers well enough that they can afford to live within the community they actively help to build.
“We need to be able to handle intense weather events like Sandy and the Flood of 2010.”
Recent history has shown us how intense weather events can directly affect Westerly and its surrounding communities. No matter your position on weather and climate, we need to be able to deal with it. We need to take steps to prepare for and mitigate the damage done by the next disaster, as our town is uniquely impacted by these events.
We have a responsibility to assure sustainability from both an infrastructure and an environmental point of view. We need to improve stormwater drainage, prevent beach erosion, and upgrade our sewage system and waste transfer facilities. I plan on working within the guidelines of the 20-40 Plan to make sustainability a priority and help Westerly weather the next storm, whatever it may be.
“I want to engage members of the community who have not been engaged to this point.”
Westerly is a more diverse community than a lot of people realize, though many feel they do not have a voice and choose not to engage. We need to change this and ensure that the playing field is fair for everyone in Westerly.
We need to give everyone the tools to succeed and the voice to be heard, even if they feel they have not traditionally had these means in the past. We do this by going above and beyond to engage these members of the community, and to empower them to participate like never before.